New Fiction: The Muse – Jessie Burton

Burton’s debut, The Miniaturist, was a best seller and favorite of Indie booksellers. While that novel offered a tale of art, intrigue and suspense in 17th century Amsterdam, The Muse picks up these themes in two plot lines set in 1960’s London and pre-Civil War 1930’s Spain. It is again an Indie Next pick with both reviewers and booksellers praising Burton’s sense of suspense, plotting and the rich immediacy of her historical detail.

Burton’s second novel is a complex, vividly drawn tale centering on a mysterious painting from 1930s Spain brought to a London art institute in 1967. The author brings together two striking story lines—one involving Trinidad-born Odelle Bastien, who works in late ’60s London at a posh art institute where she becomes the protégé of an eccentric office manager, Marjorie Quick, while adjusting to life in a new country. The other thread centers on Olive Schloss, a young Viennese woman whose family settles in a mansion in Spain in 1936. Olive’s aspirations to be a painter are quashed by her father’s misogynistic views toward women artists….The intricate way in which Burton pulls the two plots together is unexpected and impressive, a most original story about creative freedom, finding one’s voice, and the quest for artistic redemption.”
Publishers Weekly

“Like her best-selling The Miniaturist, Burton’s second novel is a smart blend of literary and commercial fiction with intriguing characters and a compelling mystery at its center….Burton creatively infuses historical fiction with mystery in her exploration of the far-reaching consequences of deception, the relationship between art and artist, and the complex trajectory of women’s desires.”
Booklist

“British writer Burton won multiple awards for her first book, an unusual historical novel set in 17th-century Amsterdam, and returns to themes of intrigue, creativity, and female empowerment in her second.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Muse (9780062409928) by Jessie Burton. $27.99 hardcover. 7/26/16 on sale

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