The Muse – Jessie Burton

 I read The Miniaturist some years ago, definitely before I started this blog, hence no review. But I do remember liking it a lot. Now, when I bought The Muse I somehow missed the fact that it’s by the same author. I bought it because of the really pretty cover. The point that does not make sense is that I bought it on Kindle, where the cover really doesn’t matter much. As always with the Kindle books, I read it while on vacation.

As it was a few months ago my recollection of the plot is not overly complete, so allow me to rely on the Goodreads blurb here:

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come an artist and revolutionary, Isaac Robles, and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences

I’ll be very honest because it’s my blog and I can 😉 I did not like this book. As much as we sympathize with Odelle, the rest just never comes together. The story from 1936 is jarringly pretentious. The connection between then and now tenuous and forced. Burton tries to tackle so many topics it becomes distracting, starting with racism and sexism, through the civil war in Spain. All the way to an art mystery. It just doesn’t hold.

Really I don’t have much more to say about it. It was not one of the books I hated, I just didn’t like it. It left me cold and slightly annoyed.

In London, there were many different ways to live, but few to change the life you had.

Did you read it? Did you like it?

Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska @vkphotospace.com 

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