On Sale: January 10, 2013
Featuring: Marie van Goethem; Antoinette van Goethem
Hardcover / e-Book
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Fiction | Historical
A heartrending novel set in belle époque Paris,
inspired by the real-life model for Edgar Degas's
Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
and a notorious criminal trial of the
Paris. 1878. Following their father's sudden death, the van
Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages,
and with the small amount their laundress mother earns
disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their
lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work,
fourteen-year-old Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra,
where for the scant salary of seventy francs a month she
will be trained to enter the famous Ballet. Her older
sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage
adaptation of Émile Zola's Naturalist masterpiece
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modelling in the
studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be
immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.
Antoinette, meanwhile, descends lower and lower in society,
and must make the choice between a life of honest labor and
the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the
Parisian demimonde—that is, unless her love affair
derails her completely.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural and societal
change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two
remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the
darker impulses of "civilized society."
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