The Muse

I wandered aimlessly around the library for two hours looking for a book that will get me out of my reading slump. Finally I gave up and randomly picked one. After which, The Muse by Jessie Burton laid on my shelf for two weeks before I got around to reading it. I had half a mind to return the book without reading it. I’m glad I didn’t.

The story flows in two different timelines–1967 and 1936. It starts in 1967 and is a bit flowery (which may be an understatement) and holds this aspect throughout the timeline but I found that this floweriness suited the tone of the story.

To be honest, at times I passed over reading about the 1936 politics, it seemed secondary to the story. In this part of the story, I was fascinated by the relations between the characters.

We are first introduced to Odelle Bastien, the main character to the 1967 story. There are also Cynthia, the best friend, Pamela, the gossip-lover, Lawrie, the love interest, Marjorie Quick, the boss and Edmund Reed, the boss number two.

In the 1936 story, we are introduced to the Schloss family–Harold, Sarah and Olive–and the Robles family–Teresa and Isaac.

At this point I would like to say, I liked the story. I did like the story and the idea behind the characters, especially those from 1936. Unfortunately, I felt the characters were very flat. They did not have enough substance to bring them to life.

I had a lot of problems coming to term with the love interest in both timelines. I could not see the chemistry between Odelle and Lawrie. Even worse, I could not see what Olive saw in Isaac. Maybe that’s love?

The Muse can also be classified as a mystery but I wouldn’t because most of it is quite predictable.

Overall, it was a bit of a theatrical read but I did quite enjoy it.

P.S. It has such a beautiful cover, don’t you think?

 

Goodreads Insert: A picture hides a thousand words . . .

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.

The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .

The Muse
Jessie Burton
Published 26 July 2016

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