Jessie Burton is the author of the best selling book The Miniaturist, which was her first novel. I have a copy of this, which has sat on my bookshelf for some time now, but I have yet to get around to reading it. So, when My husband bought me The Muse a few weeks ago, I did contemplate putting it to one side and making the effort to read The Miniaturist first. However, after skimming just a few pages of The Muse, there was no way I was putting it down – I was hooked. Everything about the Muse is perfect; story, characters, and setting, and it is stories like this that make you fall in love with reading all over again.
(This is a stunning cover; so appropriate to the various elements of the story)
The Muse covers two periods of time; London 1967 and Spain 1936. Although there is over thirty years difference between the periods in question, they are both connected in more ways than one can imagine, and all through one compelling painting.
Odelle Bastien is employed as a typist at The Skelton Gallery in London. A world away from working as a shop assistant in a shoe store, Odelle cannot believe her luck when Marjorie Quick takes a chance on her for the role. Although her day job revolves around transcribing academic research, Odelle also has a passion in which night-time sees her put pen to paper and write poetry and stories from the heart. Odelle has always written, but Marjorie spots an undetected talent in her and, encouraging her to write without restriction, she convinces Odelle that her words are publishable.
Odelle and Marjorie form a friendship of some sort from the very first day that Odelle is interviewed for the job, and Odelle feels honoured to be in the presence of such an enigmatic woman. However, when a painting is brought into the gallery to be evaluated, Marjorie’s cool and calm demeanour changes instantly, leaving Odelle feeling compelled to find out what it is about this particular painting that has Marjorie so on edge. The painting is said to belong to a man named Isaac Robles, with little else known about it. But Marjorie knows a lot more than she is letting on; if only Odelle could get her to confide its true origins to her.
Jessie’s writing is compelling and draws you into both worlds instantly. She has a wonderful complex way with words and I found the story powerfully compelling from beginning to end. There are so many layers that connect all the characters, albeit unknowingly, and it all serves to make a fabulous read. Jessie is a talented writer who deserves all the praise and accolade that she constantly receives.
It is books such as The Muse that remind me why I enjoy reading so much…
Avaliable now to buy in all formats.
Jessie can be found at http://www.jessieburton.co.uk/index.html