The Muse by Jessie Burton
A beautiful, lyrical novel of art and creation, love and legacies. This is a page-turning read that had me gripped to the final pages. It is the story of two young women and a great painting that ties the two stories together.
Olive is the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer, and in 1937 she arrives in Spain with her parents in a poor village on the southern coast. She grows close to her young housekeeper, and falls in love with her half-brother, Isaac Robles, an ambitious painter caught up in revolutionary fervor. Olive is herself a talented painter, but her father is unaware of her great potential.
In 1967, Odelle is a Carribean immigrant trying to make her way in London. She gets a job at the prestigious Skelton Art Gallery and discovers a painting to be the work of Isaac Robles. He is famous for his art, but more so for his mysterious death. Drawn into a complex world of secrets, Odelle doesn’t know who to believe, or who she can trust.
The Muse is beautifully written with overarching themes of art – the making of art, the importance of art, and what people sometimes sacrifice when creating them. This is an enthralling tale.