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Publisher's Summary

From the number-one internationally best-selling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women - a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain - and the powerful mystery that ties them together.

England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Institute of Art, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.

Spain, 1936. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and an English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and Teresa's half brother, Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman, Picasso.

Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting the wealthy Anglo-Austrians. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss family's lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.

Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.

©2016 Peebo & Pilgrim Limited (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    40
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Story

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Mixed narration

Bahni Turpin was excellent. Infantino was almost impossible to listen to--her cadence was not natural at all.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Infantino Ruined this for me!

Strong Story
Beautiful Performance by Bahni Turpin...
BUT Maria Elena Infantino's slow choppy reading is The Pits! I had to play her segments at 1.5 speed just to get through them... And even then, it was like ripping off a bandaid for eternity. The producers should've had Turpin read throughout - she is more than capable of handling the back and forth of time lapse that takes place in the story.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Cassandra
  • Bluffdale, UT, United States
  • 09-03-16

Good story. Shocking narrator

Very enjoyable story and Turpin's narration is wonderful. However, Infantino's narration is so unnatural sometimes I couldn't comprehend sentences and English is my mother tongue! It was like hearing someone who is learning English read a story with all the emphasis in the wrong places. I had to stop listening.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
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Hard to explain this rating

I'd read something like this review before, but I started listening and was pleased. I'd misunderstood the misgivings of others as objections to the first narrator as she switched voices between characters. I thought she did quite well. The story engaged me, the characters had my interest. Then the other story section of this novel began with a new narrator. Oh -- that's what they didn't like.

It really is hard to explain why I'm not sure I can finish this book. It's as though this narrator has always enjoyed reading aloud, has always done it well, and so approached this reading with no knowledge of the story or characters, confident she could wing it. Her enunciation clear and strong, her voice pleasant, she simply seems to have no idea about or interest in what she's reading. Each emphasis the wrong emphasis --- or not even that -- every other emphasis the precisely the wrong emphasis. Every other pause in the wrong place. I listened for some time figuring she'd understand it wasn't working and either catch on about the story and get better or stop, read ahead and get better, or something. I can perhaps puzzle out what these characters are supposed to be like and where the story is going, but this is a surprisingly awful listening experience.

On the up side, this really does remind me how much value is added by a skillful narrator.

You'll see now that the rating system provided offers no easy way to reflect this situation. Although it seems unfair to the author and the first narrator to go low, perhaps alerting the production company could result in an updated audiobook with a different second narrator? Please?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • chris
  • pottstown, PA, United States
  • 02-27-17

Can finish. 2nd narrator was horrific.

Insufferable performance of the second narrator. Couldn't bear it. Had to abandon. REFUND PLEASE, Audible.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Split stars for narrators

Turpin's narration of Odelle's story is lovely--4 stars.

But Infantino's narration has an awkward cadence, making sentences disjointed and confusing and sometimes sounding like a strange storytelling to children. In addition, her character accents change in and out within a conversation, making them difficult to follow.

Story was alright. Though I may have lost a fair amount due to the narration of the 1930s story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The Muse

Not my normal choice of genre, however, I am pleased that's I stretched my limits. I enjoyed the story, though it did drag for me in the parts in Spain. I liked the narrators

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brava!

So well written, an absolute intrigue! At first the narration of the Olive and Teresa chapters was difficult, accented as if English was a second language to the narrator. I didn't understand why she was chosen to read, but I now know and embrace why...fully. Brava! And thank you so very much!

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Not as good as The Miniaturist

in teresting story, though not as good as The Miniaturist, in my opinion. A bit tiring to listen to at times because of accent imitations.

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One of the readers is terrible!! The one who read the "Olive" sections. Sing song as if she had not read the script!

The woman who read the sections about Olive is so bad at reading that I almost stopped listening to this very good story. She made listening miserable, sign song, inappropriate inflections. Be warned!