For Camille Claudel, there is nothing but
sculpture. Her mother insists that she marry and stop
being a drain on finances; her father supports her art
but knows that she won't get where she wants to go. Add
in a sister who doesn't care and a brother who cares too
much, and the Claudel family is the exact opposite of
what Camille needs. When the family moves to Paris to
educate the three siblings better, Camille takes it upon
herself to gain an atelier and eventually attracts the
attention of Auguste Rodin. Though they fight their
attraction to one another, it is inevitable that these
most passionate of artists combine. The turbulent romance
disrupts both their careers and Camille's teetering
mental health. To top it all off, Camille is not getting
the success she deserves because she is a woman and no
one believes that she can do the wonders she does. From
the tentative beginning of their relationship to the
disastrous and rocky ending, follow Camille and Rodin in
Heather Webb's RODIN'S LOVER.
RODIN'S LOVER is the most fantastic book I've
ever begun a new year with. If this book is a sign of
things to come, I'm very excited. The prose is absolutely
flawless, with enough personality that I never once
questioned from whose perspective I was seeing the world.
Between Camille's push and drive and Rodin's gentle
hesitance, the perspectives were subtle and refreshing.
There were almost none of the typical problems plaguing
historical fiction, especially historical fiction about
artists. I had no trouble believing that an artist of
Rodin's stature would sound exactly as he did in this
book. I believed the associations and personal relations
of all historical figures in relation to Camille and
Rodin. I detected no glaring anachronisms in technology,
fashion, or artistic techniques. Heather Webb has an
excellent grasp of the historical and I really appreciate
all the hard work that had to go into this.
The bad news is I'd never heard of Camille
Claudel before I read this book, so I assumed she was a
fictional person until I read the author's notes at the
end. I had to reframe my whole opinion of her character
before I started writing. Luckily, she was such a great
character whether real or not that I didn't have to
reframe much. Camille is written with such sympathy and
realism that I felt like I could reach out and touch her.
She highlights the plight of a female artist in her time,
becoming a symbol while keeping her own uniqueness. She
does suffer from a love which is unequal and bad for her,
but that only makes her better and more determined to
make it on her own. Whether or not she succeeds in the
end loses its importance when the reader wants to know
more whether she survives her sufferings.
By far my favorite part of RODIN'S LOVER is that it
ended with as much realism as one could ask for. I think
this book has ended well. I don't feel empty, wanting
more, or bored, which is the perfect ending for a novel
of this type and scope. RODIN'S LOVER is now one of my
top five favorite historical fiction stories in any and
all mediums. If you are an artist, if you are an art
historian, if you are a historian in general, and if
above all you love a beautiful homage to the true greats
of history, RODIN'S LOVER is the novel to find.
A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Ă‰poque
As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty
of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But
when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprenticeâ€”and his
museâ€”their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet,
Camilleâ€™s success is overshadowed by her loverâ€™s rising
star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.
Rodinâ€™s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair
between one of the eraâ€™s greatest artists and a woman
entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.