When Victorine Laurent joins the chorus of the grand Paris Opera ballet, she expects to become the mistress of a wealthy man; this is how young women without family survive in the decadent City of Light. Yet when the artist Degas introduces her to Edouard Manet, her life changes dramatically. She agrees to pose for him, and the result is a painting that shocks Paris. Overnight, Victorine becomes the city’s most sought after courtesan.
When she becomes the favorite of the Duke de Lyon, the power behind the shaky government of Emperor Louis-Napoléon, her continued attraction to Manet becomes dangerous for them both. And when an astonishing secret from Victorine’s past comes to light, her carefully constructed world may come crashing down around her.
Mademoiselle Victorine transports readers back to nineteenth-century Paris, a time when art, love, and commerce blended seamlessly together.
You know, I really wanted to read this book and I really wanted to love it, but frankly, this book disappointed me. It has a very interesting premise, but I just found the book dragged! It is only short, so you would think the action would fly by, but really it did not. It was interesting to see touches of 19th-century Paris, and to see what it was like to be a courtesan in that society. Once your looks go, you have nothing left, but Victorine posed for paintings that will keep her in the memories eye for quite some time.
I stuck the book out because I kept hoping it would get better, but for me, it did not work. I have heard good things about it, so some people like it, but I have not heard a lot of people love it. I just found it boring, and Victorine was resourceful but I often find her whinny. I know that Finerman was trying to portray what it was like in society at that time, but it just ended up flat for me. So, not a book I would recommend, personally.
(Received from Random House in 2007.)