The Bones of Paradise by Jonis AgeeA decade after the Wounded Knee Massacre, when the U.S. 7th Cavalry regiment gunned down over 200 Lakota, white rancher J.B. Bennett and Sioux woman Star are found dead on Bennett's land. As Bennett's estranged wife, Dulcinea, returns to the ranch and gathers the remaining family members, Star's sister, Rose, vows to find Star's killer and avenge her death. Set in the Nebraska Sandhills at the dawn of the 20th century, The Bones of Paradise is a haunting multi-generational family saga that explores a tragedy with deep historical roots through the eyes of flawed and fully fleshed-out characters.
Bloodline by Conn IgguldenBy the winter of 1461, Richard Plantagent, Duke of York, and Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, are dead, their heads mounted on iron spikes at the entrance to the city of York. However, the victor -- Lancastrian King Henry VI -- remains imprisoned. As his wife, Margaret of Anjou, orders her army south to London to liberate him, a new rival emerges: Edward, Earl of March, who asserts his claim to the English throne. Bloodline is the conclusion of the gritty, action-packed trilogy that began with Stormbird and Margaret of Anjou. For another, more romantic perspective on the Wars of the Roses try Philippa Gregory's Cousins' War series.
To The Bright Edge of the World: A Novel by Eowyn IveyLeaving his wife, Sophie, behind in the Vancouver barracks, U.S. Army Colonel Allen Forrester embarks on an expedition to map the interior of the newly acquired Alaska Territory. As Forrester and his crew venture into the wilderness, encountering danger, hardship, and astounding natural beauty, free-spirited Sophie chafes against the restrictions placed upon military spouses, recording her experiences in her diary. With its sympathetic characters and lyrical depictions of the 19th-century American frontier, this historical epistolary novel may appeal to fans of Diane Smith's Letters from Yellowstone and Pictures from an Expedition.
I, Hogarth by Michael Dean"London is Sodom under good Queen Anne," explains William Hogarth as he narrates his life story in lively vignettes reminiscent of his celebrated sequential artworks (such as A Rake's Progress). After his father is sent to debtor's prison, young Billy becomes an engraver's apprentice before finding success as a painter and a calling as a political satirist. However, despite his respectable career and recognition by London's intelligentsia, Billy cannot forsake the more earthy pleasures of the city's brothels and bawdy houses. For other novels that explore human vice amid the sights, sounds, and smells of 18th-century London, try Emma Donoghue's Slammerkin or Katherine Grant's Sedition.
The God of Spring by Arabella EdgeIt's 1818 and Paris society is obsessed with the shipwreck of the French frigate Medusa, a catastrophe that left 150 survivors adrift on a crude raft -- until illness, starvation, murder, and cannibalism reduced their numbers to only 15. Celebrated young painter Théodore Géricault, seeking a subject for his next masterpiece, decides to recreate "The Raft of the Medusa" on canvas. Consumed by the project, Géricault commissions a life-sized replica of the raft, uses corpses as models, and finds muses in two survivors. Author Arabella Edge also penned The Company, a novel about the 1629 wreck of the merchant ship Batavia off the coast of Australia.
The Bridal Chair: A Novel by Gloria GoldreichDocumenting the difficult relationship between modernist painter Marc Chagall and his daughter, Ida, this moving novel by author Gloria Goldreich depicts the story behind a masterpiece. After capturing Ida in countless portraits throughout her childhood and adolescence, the elder Chagall angrily paints a canvas depicting an empty wedding chair -- symbolizing his displeasure at her hasty marriage to a shopkeeper's son. But family drama is the least of Ida's problems. As a Russian-Jewish émigré whose "degenerate art" makes him a target of the Nazis, Chagall risks his life by refusing to leave Vichy France. Will reconciliation enable Ida to save her father from possible deportation and death?
Georgia: A Novel of Georgia O'Keeffe by Dawn TrippAspiring artist Georgia O'Keeffe's life changes -- mostly for the better -- when she meets and falls in love with photographer Alfred Stieglitz. However, as the mistress and muse of the much-older, married Stieglitz, Georgia struggles to be recognized as an artist in her own right -- especially once Stieglitz revives his own flagging career by exhibiting nude portraits of her. Meanwhile, self-taught Georgia wrestles with mastering her chosen medium and suffers her own betrayals by Stieglitz, whose obsessive pursuit of younger women strains their relationship to the breaking point. With its emphasis on the inner life of Georgia O'Keeffe, this lyrical novel presents a nuanced portrait of one of America's most iconic artists.
Lisette's List: A Novel by Susan VreelandIn 1937, Parisienne Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move to the village of Roussillon in Provence to care for Andre's ailing grandfather, Pascal. While Lisette misses the cultural life of the big city -- not to mention the art gallery apprenticeship she had to turn down -- she comes to appreciate country life, especially once Pascal shares his memories of seven paintings and the two artists who created them, Paul Cézanne and Camille Pissarro. However, the outbreak of World War II shatters the Roux' cozy domesticity and scatters the artworks; can Lisette locate the paintings and put her family back together? Both art aficionados and fans of romantic war stories will be delighted by author Susan Vreeland's most recent novel.
Rodin's Lover: A Novel by Heather WebbDetermined to pursue a career as an artist despite her family's objections, sculptor Camille Claudel moves to Paris, where she becomes the apprentice, muse, and lover of Auguste Rodin. While fighting for acceptance within the art community, Claudel also struggles with mental illness. If you enjoy richly detailed, dramatic novels about the lives and loves of women artists in Belle Époque France, check out Robin Olivera's I Always Loved You, about Impressionist painters Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, or Elizabeth Robards' With Violets, about Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet.
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