Author: Heather Webb
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source:This book was given to me as part of a book tour in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: 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.
My review: Rodin’s Lover tells a story of art, love, and betrayal in 19th century Paris. Camille Claudel comes from a middle-class family who expects her to marry well and produce sons. However, Camille has dreams of becoming a famous sculptress, much to her mother’s dismay. Yet, Camille meets Rodin, who makes her his apprentice, and through their love of art, they form a passionate affair. Yet, when Camille is eclipsed by Rodin, she grows more obsessed with her art and soon she spirals down into madness.
The only thing I know about Rodin is that he sculpted The Thinker, and I definitely had never heard of Camille Claudel. Yet their story was very intriguing and also tragic. Their story is told through the eyes of Camille with some parts in the third person of Auguste. I kind of found the parts where it switched from first-person to third person a bit edgy, for it often abruptly shifts the storyline. I think that the author should have made Auguste’s story flow more by sticking to Camille’s first person perspective. Other than that, it was an interesting read, and the characters, setting, and emotions are very evocative.
I found Camille to be a tragic heroine. She is ambitious, smart, and independent. She loves her art, yet because she is a woman, it is hard for her to be successful and famous. She breaks her family’s tradition by trying to live her life the way she wants, and yet she succumbs to a mental illness. Camille is a protagonist we are rooting for and we feel for her fate.
Overall, the story is about tradition vs modernity, and finding one’s identity. The story is very fast-paced and an easy read. The characters are well-developed, and the setting is beautiful. I like how her family had an impact on Camille, and I love the romance between her and Auguste. I recommend this this to anyone interested in learning about Rodin’s personal life, art and 19th century Paris. The story will leave you breathless even after you have read the last word.
Rating: 5 out 5 stars
Advanced Praise for Rodin's Lover:
“Rodin’s Lover is a textured historical novel that captures the indomitable spirit of artist Camille Claudel, a woman whose mighty talent was nearly eclipsed by her potent love for fellow artist Auguste Rodin. Can two passionate, creative talents thrive together or will one flame inevitably consume the other? Webb gracefully explores this ignitable relationship while illuminating Claudel’s untold heartbreak and evocative artwork. A story of human emotion, once raw and malleable, now preserved to lasting stone.” ~ Sarah McCoy, New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
“Rodin’s Lover is the story of Camille Claudel–one of history’s boldest and most brilliant artists. Forced to choose between a torturous love affair and the art that consumed her, Claudel is an audacious and authentic character who deserves to be remembered. RODIN’S LOVER is epic and unflinching–a book you won’t soon forget.” –Deanna Raybourn, NYT bestselling author and Rita Winner of City of Jasmine
“Rodin’s Lover is an evocative portrait of the talented and explosive Camille Claudel who struggled between passion as the lover of Rodin and recognition as an innovative sculptor in her own right. From smoky cafés to clay-streaked ateliers, Heather Webb has created a vivid picture of Belle Époque Paris.” –Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye
“Dazzling!….. In Rodin’s Lover, author Heather Webb brings to life, with vivid detail, the story of brilliant and tormented sculptress Camille Claudel and the epic love affair with the legendary sculptor who worshiped her. 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
“A rich, sensuous novel…[was] written with great empathy for the very human Rodin and his lover, this novel of the visceral world of the 19th century Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, lithe models who vow to remain and then go, family love which stays through all difficulties and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.” --Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
“Rodin’s Lover is a taut and engrossing look at sexism in the arts through the eyes of a lesser known figure, Camille Claudel, inspiring the reader to examine what’s changed and what hasn’t.” –Julie Kibler, bestselling author of Calling Me Home
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