"Now she would examine reproductions of Degas’s ballerina paintings, try to copy his style, and introduce some nuanced white areas into her own paintings to create more striking luminosity, as he had."

In this book, readers enter a haunting world of jolting cross-generational secrets that span almost 100 years. Readers enter the narratives of Anne Gautier, a struggling art intern, and Estelle, the Creole cousin and sister-in-law of Edgar Degas. Anne discovers an intimate journal written by a relative who knew Degas, which unlocks shocking, uncanny parallels between the past and the present. As Anne ventures through mysteries, family dramas, and sagas—as well as never before seen explorations of the only French Impressionist painter to ever work in the United States—she must also confront the confusing parts of herself and her relationship, which add another dimension to the mysterious circumstances unfolding around her. Meanwhile, she also explores the complexities of The Big Easy's history and various cultures, a city as enthralling and haunting as Anne's past, which influence Anne's family history more than she can initially realize.

For avid readers of historical fiction, this book possesses an added, almost supernatural, narrative magic. The alternating historical and personal points of view balance well, fueling the sense that many of the female characters, despite nearly a century of separation, are practically one at certain points. The focus on Degas' history, life, and art is a delightful addition for art lovers. Another highlight of this book is its incorporation of journal entries that detail a young woman's blossoming, her longings and desire, and her struggles to find her place in a post-Reconstruction world. Engaging and swift-paced, nuanced and intricate, this book is sure to delight history and art lovers alike while serving as a strong introduction to readers new to the historical fiction genre. Readers and art history enthusiasts will forever afterward see Degas's time in the United States from a new, captivating perspective.

A 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Award Category Finalist

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