Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet - Stephanie Cowell Claude Monet glimpsed Camille Doncieux at a train station and was immediately inspired. Some time later he glimpsed her again behind the counter in a booksellers’s shop. So begins the most tempestuous relationship between the artist and his muse. They both swim against the tide of convention and live their lives according to their own whims and means. As the title suggests this is the story of the artist and his muse/lover. It is a good story, but what makes it even better is the back story. The author’s ability to bring Paris of the period to life. Ms. Cowell’s descriptions of the struggling artists (Manet, Bazille, Renoir, Pissaro, Sisley and Cezanne), their studios, their fights and their talents painted pictures in my imagination. For me, the two main characters waivered between being likable and being intolerable. While never taking away from Monet’s talent and his drive in being part of the group to establish “Impressionsim” I finished this book with a feeling that he might have been someone I would not like very much, but I admired his courage. I have mentioned before that I enjoy books with art as the subject or background and I have never read Ms. Cowell before. My only basis of comparison would be to Susan Vreeland and Ms. Cowell definitely holds her own.