the painted girls

The Painted Girls

A heartrending, gripping novel set in belle époque Paris and inspired by the real-life model for Degas’s Little Dancer Aged 14 and by the era's most famous criminal trials.

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Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet and meet Edgar Degas. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds employment—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s Naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.”

HONORS

#1 CANADIAN NATIONAL BESTSELLER

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

NPR BEST BOOK

GOODHOUSEKEEPING BEST BOOK

GOODREADS CHOICE AWARDS FINANLIST

PEOPLE MAGAZINE PICK

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY “MUST LIST” SELECTION

INDIENEXT PICK

CHATELAINE BOOK CLUB PICK

ONTARIO PUBLIC LIBRARY EVERGREEN AWARD WINNER

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PRAISE

“A captivating story of fate, tarnished ambition and the ultimate triumph of sister-love.”
The Washington Post
“A carefully researched, deeply imagined historical novel. The Belle Époque comes to vibrant, often aching life.”
Chicago Tribune

“A cinematic read that is hard to put down. Destined to be hotly debated book-club fodder across the country.”
The Globe and Mail

“A deeply moving and inventive historical novel.”
People

“Buchanan’s prose is as haunting as it is elegant.”
Harper’s Bazaar

“A dark valentine to Belle Époque Paris.”
Vogue

“In this compelling tale, we meet fictionalised Marie Van Goethem and her sister, whose journeys out of the Paris slums evoke the light and dark of the Belle Époque.”
Good Housekeeping

“There’s no doubting or denying that Buchanan is a writer, born and made.”
Costco Connection

“The ethereal ballerina from Degas’s famed sculpture Little Dancer Aged Fourteen comes to life in this richly imagined novel.”
Entertainment Weekly

“You’ll be swept up in this emotional tale of strength and survival.”
Chatelaine

“Cathy Marie Buchanan’s writing is so good.”
Toronto Star

“Belle epoque Paris springs to life under the sure hand of Cathy Marie Buchanan.”
NPR
10.01.2020
The Painted Girls is published in eight foreign languages. Slovenian (Zala), French (Marchand de feuilles), Lithuanian (Leidykla Sofoklis), Polish (Dom Wydawniczy PWN), Croatian (Lumen), Czech (Prah), Macedonian (Matica Makesdonsa), Russian (Arkadia)

12.04.2013
NPR Best Books of 2013 Includes The Painted Girls in its Best Books of 2013. Check out the list

 

12.04.2013
The Painted Girls is a 2013 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist. Check out the list

 

12.04.2013
Good Housekeeping Includes The Painted Girls in its Best Reads of 2013. Check out the list

 

04.09.2013
Cathy Marie Buchanan appears on CBC News. Watch the segment

 

01.06.2013
The Globe and Mail profiles Cathy in a piece that explores the coexistence of her more businesslike and creative sides. “Every publisher cherishes the dream of a perfect author, and if such a vision ever came to Earth they would name it Cathy Marie Buchanan.” Full article

 

01.18.2013
Entertainment Weekly includes The Painted Girls in its Must List: The Top 10 Things We Love This Week.

 

01.12.2013
Scott Simon interviews Cathy on NPR’s Weekend Edition. Have a listen to the six-minute interview.

01.09.2013
People selects The Painted Girls as its lead review for the week.