February 19, 2013

Quick Thoughts on The Painted Girls and Calling Me Home




Publisher: Riverhead
Publication Date: January 2013
Categories: Literary, Historical
Source: Library

Description:
1878 Paris. 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 from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.

My Quick Thoughts:

Ahh, historical fiction. When you are done right I LOVE you with the fiery intensity of a thousand suns! The Painted Girls is done right. Paris, poverty, alcoholism, ballet, theater, prison, love, sisters, Edgar Degas! A seriously fantastic read that I can't recommend highly enough.



Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 2013
Categories: Contemporary Women, Historical
Source: Library

Description:
Eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister has a favor to ask her hairdresser Dorrie Curtis. It's a big one. Isabelle wants Dorrie, a black single mom in her thirties, to drop everything to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. With no clear explanation why. Tomorrow.

Dorrie, fleeing problems of her own and curious whether she can unlock the secrets of Isabelle's guarded past, scarcely hesitates before agreeing, not knowing it will be a journey that changes both their lives.

My Quick Thoughts:
I enjoyed when the book took me back to Isabelle's youth in the 1940's. While I was reading Dorrie's present-day tale I just wanted to get back to Isabelle's past. This subject matter has been done, and done better. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading Calling Me Home but take it for what it is: a decent read.

Have you read either of these? Do you plan on it?


28 comments:

  1. So glad you loved The Painted Girls! It is fantastic, and you're right, it is just done right. I'm hoping it will be nominated for the Giller Prize this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is absolutely deserving! I can't wait to see what the author comes up with next :)

      Delete
  2. THAT'S ALL YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE ME ABOUT PAINTED GIRLS??? Well Jenn, job well done because I'm more curious about this book than I've been yet. And I do have it on my shelf.

    On another note--I found a package for you in the mess of my living room. It's now in my car and the plan is to pop by the post office on the way home. Gah. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Muahahaha, I'm evil that way ;) I do hope you get to it soon!

      Ohhh yes, I seem to recall there was a book you were sending, lol. I can't even remember what it was, ha! I'm terrible about getting to the PO, don't feel bad!

      Delete
    2. It's in the mail. I'm sorry for how beat up the package is. ;) Inside is I'm Down. Hope you enjoy. It's a pretty quick read.

      Delete
  3. I just finished the audio of Painted Girls and yes, I recommend it. I should have a review up later this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely isn't it? I look forward to reading your review Leslie! I hope you enjoyed the audio

      Delete
  4. Sounds like Painted is the way to go!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It definitely is! I hope you get to it one day ;) So many books!

      Delete
  5. I'm going to read The Painted Girls later this week or early next. I can't wait to do so!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good Melissa! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Delete
  6. I'm very interested in The Painted Girls. Thanks for the recommendation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're very welcome. I hope you're able to find time for this one soon..great read!

      Delete
  7. Painted Girls is on my to-read list and it just moved higher due to your glowing recommendation...I love historical and cultural fiction! Calling me Home was on my list too but I guess it can wait just a bit longer. Always enjoy your thoughts and recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Tanya, I appreciate that more than you know :) I have a feeling that you will love this one :)

      Delete
  8. The Painted Girls sounds my sort of book, historical theatre is so interesting to read about. I would like to read Calling Me Home, but think I'd likely find the same as you, that the past sections are better. It is difficult not to want to skip sections in books like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Painted Girls is probably something you could really sink your teeth into Charlie :)

      Delete
  9. I have Buchanan's first book but still haven't read it. I know I will and hope it's as good as I heard. I'll put Painted Girls on the list if I like that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't read her first book but I definitely will be at some point!

      Delete
  10. Ok, I bought Buchanan's first novel but couldn't get into it. This sounds like something I would really, really like. You should read The Confidant if you enjoyed it because they sound kind of similar. Ok, so maybe just historical fiction with a little bit of scandal. I totally agree that historical fiction is so great if done right!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yea, The Confidant! That's the one based on Zelda Fitzgerald right? I need to find a copy for sure :)

      Delete
    2. Replying to my own reply to say that I just requested it from my library, yay!

      Delete
  11. Ok, Jennifer says The Painted Girls is historical fiction done right. I'm pushing it up to the top of my list. And done. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I have such power! Muahahahaha! ;) Seriously though, I hope you enjoy it!

      Delete
  12. I saw The Painted Girls was on sale on Amazon this week...I totally should have snapped it up! Oh, well. Sounds like a great read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh shoot, you should have! It's a fab book :) Ah well, try the library! Free, yay!

      Delete
  13. Painted Girls was very good and definitely done right. I enjoyed it a lot.

    ReplyDelete