I have completed my first book in the read-athon!! Of course it helped that I started the book about three weeks ago and read about a third of it prior to this morning.... but I still read about 210 pages in about 2.5 hours.
The book I read was The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan. I selected the book because it is historical fiction that takes place in the same time period as my upcoming NaNoWriMo piece. I was hoping to glean additional insight into the time period as well as the characters to help me flesh out my own story.
|Original Wax Statue|
National Gallery in DC
Marie remains in the ballet corps for a longer period of time, finding a patron willing to supplement her meager earnings for modeling favors. Marie has talent and a future in the ballet, but in this fictional narrative she makes an emotional decision that causes her undo stress. Eventually she is also fired from the corps because she is absent from too many rehearsals.
The younger sister Charlotte is the one with the most promise and she does eventually go on to succeed as a prima ballerina and then instructor with the ballet.
I enjoyed the book from a historical perspective. The author gave me insight into the everyday life of the lower class. I enjoyed how she weaved two non-fiction stories into one that created romance, suspense, and conflict. She did a nice job of developing two different narrative voices: Antoinette is not as well-educated and a bit more bold and hardened by life; Marie is smarter, wiser and more compassionate.
The book is true to the time period, I believe, and because these ballerinas came from the seedy side of town, there are a few graphic scenes that would make this book geared to adults rather than teens, in my humble estimation.
All in all, I would rate the book 3 out of 5 stars and am quite appreciative of the writing talent and detailed research that the author provides her readers.