I never, ever thought this would happen, but The Painted Girls is People Magazine’s lead review for the week.
“Edgar Degas first exhibited this celebrated sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in 1881. Depicting one of the Paris Opera’s “petit-rats,” the very young working-class girls of the ballet, the work was hailed as groundbreaking by some and reviled as ugly by others. This deeply moving and inventive historical novel tells the story of the girl who modelled for Degas, Marie van Goethem, as she and her family struggle to survive crushing poverty and cruel prejudices. Buchanan’s evocative portrait of 19th-century Paris brings to life its sights, sounds and smells, along with the ballet hall where the dancers hunger for a place in the corps and the wages it would bring. But nothing is more gripping or real than the emotions of Marie and her older sister Antoinette, who have to grapple with sexual predation and punishing choices as they fight to endure both physically and psychologically. While their reality is often wrenching, their bond provides sustenance; their tale is ultimately a tribute to the beauty of sisterly love.” —People Magazine