Book Review: Claude and Camille – Stephanie Cowell

Title: Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
Author: Stephanie Cowell
ISBN: 9780307463210
Pages: 352
Release Date: April 6, 2010
Publisher: Crown
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Author
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Before he became the well-known and masterful painter that he’s regarded as today, Claude Monet was a young, poor man who struggled every day to sell his paintings.  Claude and Camille focuses on this young man, looking at the early years of his life and his relationship with his love and muse, Camille Doncieux.

Review:

I don’t know much about the birth of Impressionism, though I absolutely adore the paintings that came out of the era.  Pissaro, Manet, Monet – these men are considered giants in the art world.  I knew that Impressionism wasn’t well-regarded when it first evolved, but I was really curious to know more about one of my favorite styles of painting.  It’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Claude and Camille so much – not only was it a touching, if tragic, love story, but it also gave a lot of interesting historical information about a period I don’t know a lot about.

Claude was certainly an interesting character, but it was Camille that really drew my attention.  She was so changeable and difficult to predict.  She likely suffered from severe bouts of depression, and as a result, it was difficult to get to know her.  Cowell did an excellent job portraying this complicated woman.  Even now, after the book has ended, I’m thinking of her and the mystery she presented to the reader.

I appreciated how Cowell portrayed Claude Monet as arrogant, yet vulnerable to the deepest despair.  There’s no doubt that he is completely sincere in his love for Camille, yet his inability to provide for her eats away at him, wounding him to the core.  It’s interesting to see the depths of the passion in this man and how they fuel his work.

I really enjoyed Claude and Camille.  I’ve loved Monet’s paintings ever since I was a little girl and am glad that I now know more about him.  After reading the book, I’m eager to visit museums and see his paintings once again, especially the ones that were produced out of his love for Camille.

Comments

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  3. There are a few books that I keep seeing pop up all over the blogosphere that I’ve avoided so far. This is one of them, and I have to say that your review has me wanting to read it sooner rather than later. It sounds really great.

  4. There are a few books that I keep seeing pop up all over the blogosphere that I’ve avoided so far. This is one of them, and I have to say that your review has me wanting to read it sooner rather than later. It sounds really great.

  5. I love impressionism too, so this book sounds really appealing to me.

  6. I love impressionism too, so this book sounds really appealing to me.

  7. Your review on this was wonderful, and although I’ve read several great reviews on this book, your makes me want to go out and grab this book very soon. I also love the impressionists and think that finding out more about Monet would be really enlightening.

  8. Your review on this was wonderful, and although I’ve read several great reviews on this book, your makes me want to go out and grab this book very soon. I also love the impressionists and think that finding out more about Monet would be really enlightening.

  9. I think my favorite part of the book was the interplay between the men basically creating impressionism and their struggles.

  10. I think my favorite part of the book was the interplay between the men basically creating impressionism and their struggles.

  11. I’m really looking forward to reading this book! I had the privilege to visit his house at Giverny when I was in France, and it was fascinating to see the different types of art he was interested in and inspired by. I heard the author speak at the Empire State Book Festival on the historical fiction panel, and it was fascinating to hear how she researched. Thanks for your review!

  12. I’m really looking forward to reading this book! I had the privilege to visit his house at Giverny when I was in France, and it was fascinating to see the different types of art he was interested in and inspired by. I heard the author speak at the Empire State Book Festival on the historical fiction panel, and it was fascinating to hear how she researched. Thanks for your review!

  13. I am really looking forward to reading this book. I am a big fan of his paintings and I think this should be an interesting look into his life.

  14. I am really looking forward to reading this book. I am a big fan of his paintings and I think this should be an interesting look into his life.

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  17. Like you, I’ve been a fan of impressionism since I was quite young. I have this book here to read and I know I’m going to love it.

  18. Like you, I’ve been a fan of impressionism since I was quite young. I have this book here to read and I know I’m going to love it.

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