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Publisher's Summary

Even before John Singer Sargent painted her portrait, Virginie Gautreau's reputation for promiscuity and showy self-display made her the subject of vicious Paris gossip. In this remarkable novel, the author tells Virginie's story, drawing on the sketchy facts of the notorious beauty's life to recreate her tempestuous personality, the captivating milieu of Belle Epoch Paris, and the struggle between artist and model to control the painting that would change their lives and affect the course of art history.
©2003 Gioia Diliberto (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Lively and provocative." (Booklist)
"This fast scroll through history against a backdrop of parties, salons, operas, artists' studios, and sexual escapades is inviting for its wealth of well-researched period details." (Publishers Weekly)
"A compelling novel....Diliberto's writing brings Virginie to life in a way that Sargent's portrait does not." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great fun!

I really enjoyed this book. It moved along well and kept my interest better than most. The narrorator's voice is a little fussy at times but it doesn't interfere too much. It really made me see John Singer Sargent's portraits in a more intimate way. As an Art Historian, I always cringe just a little at fictional interpretations of artists and their subjects since people often just accept it as truth. Thankfully there is a short but straightforward bio of Madame X at the end to clear up any misconceptions though after such a convincing story it is hard to forget the imagined details.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Falls Short of Earring's Passion

I was delightfully surprised with this book. Very entertaining and engaging. It's wants to be like Girl with a Pearl Earring...it falls short of it's passion and release. The Epilogue is the most interesting part of the book. The reader does a very good job and has many voices she has to perform. A quick easy read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

JUST OK

Would you try another book from Gioia Diliberto and/or Lorna Raver?

I've listened to a kazillion books read by the outstanding Lorna Raver so nothing will stop me from being one of her big fans. As for the author, she did the best she could with the subject matter at hand.. Nothing in this book, which was just OK, has turned me off from Diliberto.

What was most disappointing about Gioia Diliberto’s story?

I don't understand why it was written. This is a bit of fluff that taught me nothing.

Have you listened to any of Lorna Raver’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

As I've said many, many times in my reviews, Ms Raver is one of the best. She has made really bad books so much better by her amazing performances.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

No reaction. It is neither so good for me to want more nor so bad for me to trash it outright.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great

I wish there was more about the artist and the painting of the painting but over all it was interesting listen to hear about that one in history