Published by Plume on January 27th 2015
Genres: Fiction, HIstorical, Romance
A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France
As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.
Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.
"Masterfully crafted...a larger-than-life love story full of passion and tragedy. Webb captures the era and characters to perfection."--RT Book Reviews, starred review
"You'll be drawn into this story of obsession and passion."--Cosmopolitan
"Dazzling!...Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book will capture your heart, then hold it tightly long after the final page."--Anne Girard, author of MADAME PICASSO
I received an advanced E-Copy of this book from Penguin’s First Read program. Having a large interest in historical fiction and art I thought that it would be something I would enjoy reading. This book did not disappointment me. The story is beautifully written, weaving the glory of Paris in the 19th century and walking us through the history, and exploring the relationship of the artists with their models, benefactors and of course their art.
I did not know anything about Camille Claudel (our heroine) before I read this book. She was passionately consumed and driven to create, and achieved more than any woman sculptor of her time. Camille was bold and ambitious and was not going to let anything get in her way, especially not gender barriers. This is a story about her life, her art, her struggles being a female artist in a world that was dominated by males. It is also a story about the love she had for her tutor Auguste Rodin whom she meets in Paris. Their relationship is passionate and intense as is their dedication to their art. Unfortunately this story does not have a happy ending, as Auguste Rodin rises in the art world; Camille’s work is overlooked leading her down a path of obsession and eventually into madness.
I do believe that the novel turns a bit more “romantic fiction” than “historical fiction” at some points, but at the same time I do not believe that the author set out to write a completely true to life biography. This book is filled with emotion, and I really enjoyed that the author didn’t just tell you the story, but made you truly feel it. As a woman in a time that pretty much all opportunities are available to me, I truly felt awful that the same opportunities were not there for Camille. She was very much ahead of her time, but due to being a woman was held back from shining like the bright star that she was. I would like to point out that at the end of the book you do receive an author’s note that explains what facts were real and which were fiction. I always find this very helpful and enlightening, especially when reading historical fiction.
I give Ms. Webb much credit for creating a fast-paced and very enthralling book that captured my attention from the start. This story may be only skimming the top layer of the truly complex life of Camille Claudel but I am glad that I got this chance to learn about her life and her art. It was a well written book that gave life to the era, the art and the people. I am now even more curious to dig deeper and find out more about this fascinating woman. I definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves history, art and reading about fascinating people.
**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**