My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In this fictionalized biography of the sculptor, Camille Claudel , author Heather Webb has drawn a sensitive portrait of a woman drifting solely into madness as she tries to make her way as an artist in an art form considered to be totally the province of men, sculpture, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Claudel was a fine sculptor in her own right, first a student and then the mistress of Auguste Rodin. She fought the dual battles of being considered a mere shadow of the great master on one hand and being decidedly second in Rodin’s life to the woman with whom he had a son and a comfortable home life. One can only sympathize with her plight as she struggles against the mores of the world in which she lives and against her own encroaching paranoia.
The scene from this book that will stay in my mind forever is the one in which she is asked to clothe her two dancers in her great work, La Valse. It was considered unseemly for a woman to show the dancing figures nude. Had the artist been a male artist the nudity would have been not just accepted but expected. The hypocrisy of the times is vividly portrayed in this and numerous other scenes in the book.
Set against the Paris of Debussy and Monet, the construction of the Eiffel Tower, The Dreyfus affair and the political and social turmoil of the times, this book will be an interesting read even for those not as enamored as I of the art of sculpture. Strongly recommended.
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Escape Rating A - Marlene Harris, EscapeReality.net
"Like her other books, the story in this one operates on more than one level. The suspense is edge of the seat, while Lacy's inner journey makes her a sympathetic and fascinating character. If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat suspense with a heart-pounding romance wrapped around a story that also makes you think, read Romantic Road, or any of Blair McDowell's marvelous stories.".....More
5 out of 5 Stars - Jack Magnus, ReadersFavorite.com
"Blair McDowell's romantic suspense novel, Romantic Road, is exciting and fast-paced. Lacy is a strong and appealing character whose fairy-tale marriage has abruptly ended, leaving unanswered questions and danger. The quest Igor sets for her leads her and the reader on a marvelous trip through Canada, Austria and Hungary, and the author's familiarity with each of these venues makes Lacy's adventures truly come alive.".....More
"This is my kind of book: a fast-paced romantic suspense thriller with teeth! And the puzzles Igor left that Lacy must follow all over Europe... beautiful! The secrets will blow your socks off!"
"A challenging love story, a deadly dangerous secret, a mysterious quest from New York through Europe, the latest story from Blair McDowell has it all!... I love romantic suspense, and this story was very fascinating to me, not least because of the unusual locales, adding an exotic flavour. I'm already wanting to read the next story by Blair McDowell!"
4 out of 5 Stars - Deb Sanders, DebSanders.com
"Romantic Road has something to please everyone, beginning with top notch writing. Blair McDowell has penned another riveting tale chock full of danger, suspense, romance and mystery. I’m quite sure the book grew tentacles and wrapped around me because I found it impossible to look up until I’d turned the final page. I confess, I was a willing prisoner."....More