‘I want to paint you,’ he whispers. In his studio filled with golden light she takes in the canvases propped against every wall, the paints like jewels. She thinks of the pictures she longs to paint, of her lost little girl playing in sunlit gardens. Will she ever see her daughter again?
Paris, 1860s. For Mimi Bisset, survival is everything on the cobbled streets of the Paris slums. She tries to forget the pain of losing her daughter Colette: born out of wedlock and forcibly given away to a rich family. But Mimi’s world turns upside down after a chance encounter with handsome artist Édouard Manet. Boldly posing for portraits on Manet’s chaise longue, Mimi feels a wild freedom – and as Manet teaches her how to layer the vivid paints on canvas herself, a passion grows between them that breaks all the rules…
At Manet’s side, Mimi is caught up in his world. They dance all night at Paris’s new can-can clubs and drink absinthe at masked balls. But one day, strolling by the Seine on her lover’s arm, Mimi catches a glimpse of familiar green eyes… it’s Colette, with a family who Manet knew all along.
Although she’s reeling that the man she loved kept such a secret from her, Mimi is filled with hope she’ll finally get her daughter back. But when a terrible rumour begins to circulate about Mimi, the only place she has to go is back to the slums. Destitute, hungry and alone, can Mimi clear her name? Or will her heart shatter all over again when she loses her daughter for a second, final time?
Fans of Marie Benedict, Chocolat and anyone who dreams of springtime in Paris will adore this utterly captivating read. Inspired by true stories of a group of radical painters who changed the art world forever – and the forgotten women who were their muses.
The French Impressionists, hidden secrets and simmering passion – what more could you ask for in the perfect springtime read? . I can’t stop reaching for historical fiction, and this is one of the most enjoyable reads that I’ve indulged myself in this spring. I was absolutely intrigued by the premise of this book featuring some of the real French Impressionists, I loved hearing more about their fascinating history across these pages. This book is a wonderfully compelling tapestry of fact and fiction, taking real characters and moments from history and bringing them to life before our eyes. I was delighted to be invited on the tour by Noelle Holton and Bookouture and found myself absolutely intrigued by this fascinating tale of art, passion and intrigue at a really interesting period in history.
Having studied the Impressionists at school, I was really intrigued by the idea behind this story, it definitely did not disappoint, grabbing me and pulled me right into Mimi’s story where we become wholly wrapped up in the twists and turns of the life of this determined and resilient character. Life is difficult enough for women now – you can only imagine how much more difficult things were then. We get to hear about this art from the perspective of the ‘subject’ as well as the painters and this really added to the story for me. It’s a book that you’ll find hard to believe it’s fiction as you’ll become so caught up in Mimi’s story and you’ll be fascinated by this inisight into the world of these intriguing and diverse artists
I absolutely loved the unique atmosphere of this novel and definitely found it quite addictive. It was intriguing to imagine a world in which your choices and next direction are far more constrained than women nowadays and knowing that your fortunes depend on your ability to turn your difficulties into opportunities and to use your wit and wisdom to ensure that you might be ‘only a woman’ but you are definitely far from insignificant…
This novel presents this period of history in a fresh original way which makes the story come alove and turns these ‘still lives’ into living, breathing people who we come to really care for. Mimi feels very much like a real person, despite the distance of time between us and you feel really caught up in the twists and turns of her story. This is a really unique novel that has to be experienced to truly realise how compelling it is. I think that most people imagine people from the past to be vastly different to us; here we see that this is no longer true as we see their troubles, worries and dilemmas in living colour as we’re plunged into their lives.
Helen Fripp is a talented and really original writer – and I really enjoyed getting an insight into this incredible period in history through her writing. You will be fascinated to uncover all that Mimi went through and shocked that you didn’t know more about this fascinating time in the history of art. Your relationship with the characters builds and builds as you experience the challenges and constraints of Mimi’s situation and everything that she has to go through as he battles to defy her circumstances and create a life for herself and her daughter that she’s dreamed of for so long…
This is a book that I know I’ll be recommending to lots of readers as I was totally immersed in its characters, its pace, and the way it really allowed me to connect with its characters. I can’t wait to see what Helen Fripp does next. The opportunity to immerse yourself in a wholly different moment in time is so compellingly created – this would make an excellent Book Group read as it would be sure to provoke lots and lots of discussion and comment about the women who feature in our art galleries and the stories behind their expressions and the pain behind many of their smiles
Treat yourself to a copy and discover Mimi’s history of art for yourself
Praise for The Painter’s Girl:
‘Completely gripping and heart-breaking… easily read in one sitting… an absolute triumph…truly an unstoppable read!…I loved every minute of it!’ NetGalley reviewer, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Totally gripping… I was captivated right from the start.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘This story was completely unexpected… A wonderful story… a wonderful escape to Paris… recommend it.’ Page Turners
‘Helen Fripp has done an excellent job… twists and turns that will surprise and keep you hooked… loved.’ Beachesbooksandcoffee
‘Nineteenth century Paris comes alive… vibrant… Fascinating… Beautifully written historical fiction.” Jaffa Reads Too
‘Thrilling… fascinating… Great to be swept away to Paris… Emotional, endearing and impactful.’ Bobs and Books
‘Fascinating… I was enthralled… I was glued from beginning to end.’ Eatherbookreview
Writer On The Shelf
I love delving into the past and uncovering new stories, and in my writing, the tiniest historical detail can spark an idea for a whole chapter. My female characters rail against the social constraints to which they are subject and often achieve great success, but they are of course flawed and human, like the rest of us. It’s the motivations, flaws, loves and every-day lives of my characters that I love to bring life, against sweeping historical backdrops – and I will find any excuse to take off and research a captivating location or person for my next story.
My first novel is set in the Champagne region in France, and I’m currently working on my next one, set in late eighteenth century Paris. I spent a lot of time in France as a child, have lived in Paris and spent a year with my family in a fishing village in South West France, so that’s where my books have ended up being set so far. Who knows where next!
Author social media
Out today! Buy: https://geni.us/B09S6WH9N1social