Mira, Aug 26 2014, $14.99
In 1911, Eva Gouel rejects her family’s demand she marry Monsieur Fix. Instead she flees for Paris where her only friend is Polish speaking Louis Vollard who changed her name to Marcelle Humbert. To her elation, one of her goals is met when Madam Leutard hires her as a seamstress at the Moulin Rouge. There she sees a powerful man sitting at the front of the dance hall but surprisingly no woman with him.
Last night, after a fight with his beloved intoxicated mistress and primary model, Fernande Olivier the artist, Pablo Picasso went to the Moulin Rouge alone. The next day, Louis and Marcelle visit the Petit Palais to see an exhibition. Also there is the solitary man from the evening before, an up and coming Spaniard artist Pablo Picasso. Eva becomes his insecure muse; but his Montmartre crowd prefers feisty artsy Fernande who they consider as one of them to the upstart outsider. That same year Eva came to Paris, someone stole the Mona Lisa with Picasso considered a suspect. A few short years later, as war explodes across Europe, Eva suffers from tuberculosis.
This is an excellent biographical fiction that brings to life mostly Paris when the City of Lights was the world’s cultural center during the years leading up to and the beginning of WWI. Character driven by the triangular relationship between Picasso, Gouel and Olivier, subgenre fans will relish this vivid art historical.