Kostova, Elizabeth "The Swan Thieves" - 2010
I read Elizabeth Kostava's first book "The Historian" a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, when I came upon this novel, I had to read it.
Even though this book was totally different from her first one, I was not disappointed. Same as in her old book, she brings history into her novel, and art. One of my favourite eras in the history of art, French Impressionism. Béatrice de Clerval who features in the story, was not a real person but many painters mentioned were. Just listing their names feels like going through one of the great museums of Paris: Manet, Morisot, Monet, Sisley, Pissarro.
I did enjoy this novel just as much as her first one and am looking forward to her next which is announced to be published next year, "The Shadow Land".
From the back cover:
"Dr Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life, full of devotion to his work and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery and becomes his patient.
As Oliver refuses to speak, Marlow's only clue is the beautiful, haunted woman Oliver paints obsessively, day after day. Who is she, and what strange hold does she have over this tormented genius? Desperate to help, Marlowe embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and to a dark story at the heart of French Impressionism - a tragedy that ripples out to touch present-day lives.
Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy; from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love. The Swan Thieves is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve hope."