Summer of Canadian Reading 2019
A #1 National Bestseller and a New York Times Bestseller
Paperback Novel 2013.
A gripping novel inspired by the real-life model for Edgar Degas’s sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen
Paris, 1878. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters’ lives are upended. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opera, where for a scant wage she is trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work—and the love of a dangerous man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie is soon modelling in the studio of Edgar Degas, who will immortalize her image forever. Antoinette, meanwhile, must make the choice between a life of honest labour and the more profitable avenues open to a willing young woman—that is, unless her perilous love derails her completely.
The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of civilized society.