My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Content warnings: abuse, domestic violence, theft, manipulation via money and threats
I got this book for free by signing up on the author’s mailing list (as told to me by the author themselves).
I would like to say I’m very grateful to the author for telling me that I could get the book by signing up on their mailing list. As the author doesn’t HAVE to do that. Nor do they have to tell people about it. And personally, I’m quite the fan of getting books for free (or very little money as I’m on a serious budget and can’t buy nearly enough of what I want to read).
Onto the review.
So the description of this made me go “ooooohhhhhhhh this looks interesting” and I first saw it in a giveaway post. Naturally I didn’t win the giveaway but that didn’t change my interest in the book it was more of a “let’s wait til I have some extra money and then I’ll eventually buy it if it never comes to my library in ebook form”.
I’ve been talking about book covers lately and this is going to be no different. I like the cover. I like that the girl on the cover isn’t overtly sexualised. Or in a sexualised position. She’s in a position to where it looks like she’s either getting ready to paint or has just finished painting and is starting to put things away. For the time period, it would definitely be sexualised with the dress she’s wearing because of how “low cut” it is (even though for this time period we’re currently in it’s a very modest cut dress). Also, there’s not a lot going on on the cover either. Which is nice.
I know I’m going to be calling and labelling this book as historical fluff. Because for me it is. It’s a “I can turn my brain off and just focus on enjoying what I’m reading” type of book. Which I classify as fluff (I also classify erotica and romance and everything in between as such as well). This isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes I NEED something fluffier to read.
I mean there was plenty to think about with this book. But it wasn’t more of a required type of thinking while reading book. It was more of an it’s optional to think about while reading but preferable to think about afterwards book for me. Because yeah, I could spend weeks reading this and analysing until the cows come home but that would take more energy than I typically have in a day (matter of fact it’d take about the energy that I have in a whole year) and I definitely wouldn’t find enjoyment in it (which is also why I tend not to do a lot of analysing in my reviews).
I really admired Lisette’s father. How, despite the times, he actively encouraged her to paint and practice and get better at painting. I felt really sad when he died but I also expected him to. I definitely did not like the abusive jerk face asshole (whose name I refuse to use and kept substituting that for while reading which made it easier and more fun to read the parts about him). He felt slimy to me the second he appeared. It was good to know my thoughts were correct. And I loved the ending about him (which I will not spoil).
I felt sorry for her mum. I’ve been in a similar situation. Only the physical abuse happened once and the rest was emotional/mental/manipulative behaviour. So I have a specific experience based contempt for characters who are like that. I also understand both historically and mentally why she just put up with it. It wasn’t a good time for women to be unmarried. Not a lot of jobs they could reputably hold down and they were considered possessions of their fathers/husbands/men of the house. And mentally, you justify everything to yourself to make it “not as bad”. Like her comment about “well he got me x piece of jewellery for this”. That’s the type of justification you make, especially in the beginning. But it definitely gets harder and harder to the point that you feel trapped like a rat in a cage with nowhere to go or turn to to hide and/or protect yourself. It’s a terrible mindset and situation but unless you’ve been there, you can’t really understand it. Unfortunately.
Anyway, I LOVE that she didn’t let things deter her. That she kept on trying to find ways to do what she wanted to do. That she was passionate about her work. And passion shows in art. You don’t have to be a critic or an art historian to see it either. So I have not a doubt in my mind that her art showed how passionate she was. I liked her meeting with Marie Antoinette. From what I’ve read about her history wise, a lot of what’s portrayed in this book about her is true. That she was pretty lonely. That her husband didn’t really want to touch her initially. That he was more interested in locks. And I’ve always kind of felt bad for her because of it. Not bad enough that I like anything about her. But bad that someone would be forced into a marriage and then been lonely and told what to do constantly.
I’m actually intrigued to read the rest of the trilogy. Eventually. So it was at least definitely good enough for me to consider reading more (and not spite reading either like some of the other things I’ve read).
Buy it here: