Book Review: The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons
The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons
Set in sixties London, this is the story of a young woman breaking free from her strict Jewish upbringing and involving herself in the world of art. When Juliet Montague’s husband disappears she is forced to raise her two children on her own – unable to get a divorce, or to be considered a widow. She is stuck in a limited life of strict rules that she tries to confirm to. But on her thirtieth birthday everything changes. Instead of buying the fridge she has scrimped and saved for, she spends the money on a portrait of herself. Through the artist, Charlie, she meets other artists and she proves to be an astute spotter of artistic talent – eventually setting up her own gallery. Along the way different artists paint portraits of her that she hangs at home – a personal gallery that punctuates the highs and lows of her life.
Charlie is clearly in love with Juliet, but she is drawn instead to Max, a reclusive artist battling his demons from the war. But the question of her missing husband is something that must be solved, so she goes on a quest to California where she makes a surprising discovery.
This is a warm, absorbing and unexpected read – a tale of a woman’s life that will keep you turning the pages. Love, betrayal, sacrifice, drama, passion, art and a life lived outside convention – this novel has it all.