The Blurb (from Goodreads):
The mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time.
When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.
A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves into what will become the first great love of Picasso's life.
With sparkling insight and passion, Madame Picasso introduces us to a dazzling heroine, taking us from the salon of Gertrude Stein to the glamorous Moulin Rouge and inside the studio and heart of one of the most enigmatic and iconic artists of the twentieth century
I have always been fascinated by the lives and loves of famous painters, and Pablo Picasso is no exception. Well-known for his many destructive relationships with women, whom he loved and painted and left, Picasso’s romantic entanglements make for fascinating reading. Up until now, I’ve only read biographies and memoirs. Madame Picasso by Anne Girard is the first novel I have read that has sought to bring the mesmerising power of the great Spanish artists to life.
Most of the action takes place in Paris, on the streets, in the artists’ studios and backstage at the Moulin Rouge, all of them vividly brought to life. The character of Eva herself is bright and appealing, and her romance with Picasso is deftly and subtly wrought. I particularly loved the scenes in which Picasso talked about his aims and inspirations – it really brought him to life.
I did not know Eva Gouel’s tragic story before I read Madame Picasso. (I must have read about her in the biographies of Picasso I have read, but that was so long ago, I had forgotten her story). So the story was new and surprising to me, and very moving.
A really lovely, sensitive and rather sad story of a woman who helped inspire artistic genius.
You might also like to read my review of Josephine’s Garden by Stehpanie Parkyn: