In the Spanish countryside in 1936, a young woman paints a masterpiece. Her Jewish, Viennese art dealer father, however, believes that all REAL artists are men.
In 1967 in London, Caribbean emigre Odelle works at the prestigious Skelton Institute of Art, and her boyfriend wants the Skelton to display a painting his mother left him that has been attributed to the brilliant Spanish painter Isaac Robles, whose life is believed to have been cut short by the Spanish Civil War.
With a deft touch, author Jessie Burton keeps us yearning for more of each storyline as the two inch their way toward each other in ways that slowly reveal the truth about a painting, young love, a war-torn country and the desperate conflict between wanting to keep and wanting to reveal secrets. Masterful!
“Love, war, desire, and art—it’s all here.” —Elle
A picture hides a thousand words . . .
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 harboring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .
Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from Jessie Burton, the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.
Jessie Burton was born in London in 1982. She studied at Oxford University and the Central School of Speech and Drama. The Miniaturist is her first novel.