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Mrs, Van Goh by Caroline Cauchi: A Book Review

Mrs. Van Goh
Author: Caroline Cauchi
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: One More Chapter 
Release Date: January 30, 2023
Pages: 484

Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: She’s been painted out of history…until now

Who tells her story?

     In 1890, Vincent Van Gogh dies penniless, unknown, a man tortured by his own mind.

     Eleven years later his work is exhibited in Paris and his unparalleled talent finally recognised. The tireless efforts of one woman gave the world one of its greatest creative minds.

     But twenty-eight year old Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, Vincent’s sister-in-law and the keeper of his immense collection of paintings, sketches and letters, has, until now, been written out of history. This beautiful, moving novel finally gives this extraordinary woman a voice…


     My Review: Johanna Van Goh-Bonger was the sister-in-law of Vincent Van Goh. After her husband’s death, Johanna inherited her brother-in-law’s art collection. Johanna worked tirelessly to establish Vincent Van Goh’s legacy and preserve his fame by showcasing his paintings at exhibitions. This historical novel shows Johanna as a woman who loves her husband but admires her brother-in-law’s talent. Through her faith in Vincent Van Goh, Johanna worked hard to ensure the world would continue to remember his work.

    Johanna is a very admirable character. She is an intellectual. She loves reading novels and has a passion for art. She is a very strong-willed woman and is determined to live her life according to her own terms. I loved her romance with her husband, Theo. It was a very sweet relationship. I also admired her friendship with her brother-in-law, Vincent. She emphasizes with him as he makes his descent into madness. However, she sees his talent and potential for greatness. Thus, her relationship with the Van Goh brothers was the best aspect of this novel. 

    Overall, this novel is about art, love, and family. I found all of the characters to be very fascinating. As much as I liked the characters, the novel was not without flaws. I thought that this book was very slow and repetitive. I also thought that after the Van Goh brothers died, the rest of the story was rushed. Even though it was a long book, it needed to be to flesh out the latter parts of Johanna’s life. Still, I found this novel to be meticulously researched and was very well-written. I liked how the setting focused on the art world of Paris, and it made me feel as if I was walking with Johanna along the Parisian streets. Thus, this novel is a must-read for art lovers! I recommend this novel for fans of Rodin’s Lover, The Other Alcott, and Ophelia’s Muse!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars 


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