In the Belle Époque, the van Goethem sisters Antoinette and Marie struggle to support themselves, their grieving alcoholic mother, and little sister Charlotte in the wake of their father’s sudden death.
The abrasive Antoinette finds work as a laundress and stage extra in the theate, but is derailed by love from the seedier side of Paris.
Marie joins the rank of the Paris Opera, and supplements her meagre income by modelling for artists, including Edgar Degas who will immortalize her in his famous sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.
As both Antoinette and Marie struggle to put food on the table, they also encounter the darker impulses of “civil society”. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan is not only an intriguing story surrounding a real life masterpiece, but of the dark side of the Golden Age of France.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan is available from the Haliburton County Public Library, and marks our last featured Evergreen title. Thank-you to all who came out to vote for their favourite. The winner will be announced in early November!
*Originally published in the Minden Times on November 5th, 2014.