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About the Book

From the million-copy-selling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women—a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London and a bohemian in 1930s Spain—and the powerful mystery that links them together

July 1967, Mayfair, London—a painting left propped on the doorstep of the Skelton Gallery is discovered by Odelle Bastien, a Caribbean immigrant newly employed at the gallery and in thrall to her enigmatic colleague, Marjorie Quick. The painting is rumoured to be the work of Isaac Robles, whose mysterious death at the height of his artistic powers has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched only by the tension caused by the conflicting stories of its discovery. Odelle is unsure whom or what to believe as she finds herself drawn into a complex web of secrets and deception.

Thirty years earlier, with Spain on the brink of civil war, Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a village in the south rife with unrest. It is here that Olive meets Maria Teresita and Maria’s half-brother, Isaac Robles, newly returned from the Paris salons, his head full of revolution and dreams of being as famous as Picasso. Both siblings are the illegitimate offspring of a local landowner and have nothing to lose when it comes to taking advantage of the new residents of their poverty-stricken town. They insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, helping to hide Olive’s own artistic talents while Isaac plays at both painting and political subversion. The consequences are devastating and echo throughout the decades to come.

In vivid detail, acclaimed and bestselling author Jessie Burton spins a tale of desire, ambition and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Fantastic novel. . . . [Burton’s] descriptions of everything from clothing and subway stops to social norms seem so consistently accurate that the relevance of the time period fades into the background.” —<em>Maclean’s</em>

“A complex, vividly drawn tale . . . about creative freedom, finding one’s voice, and the quest for artistic redemption.” —Publishers Weekly

“Readers who enjoy mystery, psychological drama, historical fiction, art, and intrigue will find much to enjoy in The Muse. Burton’s double story itself is deliciously more than the sum of its parts.” —<em>Washington Independent Review of Books</em>

“Burton creatively infuses historical fiction with mystery in her exploration of the far-reaching consequences of deception, the relationship between art and artist, and the complex trajectory of women’s desires.” —Booklist

“A simmering historical love story.” —Glamour (UK)

“A tale with a refreshingly feminist slant, interested in the slipperiness of meaning.” —Daily Mail (UK)

“[A] rich palette of ideas and emotions. . . . The novel excellently explores the writing process itself.” —Independent (UK)

“Burton’s devotion to her female characters sustains the novel. . . . Fans will be happy to reunite with her committed storytelling.” —<em>Kirkus Reviews</em>

“Burton emerges as the architect of a well-structured and intricate plot with tremendous scope, and a stylist with a talent for recreating life’s ordinary and extraordinary moments alike in great splashes of colour. . . . Riveting and deeply intimate.” —<em>Financial Times</em>

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443444989
  • ISBN 10: 1443444987
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 08/01/2017
  • Pages: 416
  • List Price: 17.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Historical
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense

The Muse by Jessie Burton

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