I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira

February 25, 2014 Art, Historical Fiction 18

Bonjour Bookworms,

Let’s talk about art. I’m not going to pretend that I understand much art, but I do have a soft spot for the French Impressionists. I got a calendar at the dollar store when I was like 10 and I was all “oooooh pretty!” I’ve been a sucker for Impressionism ever since. I have two Monet poster prints hanging in my office at work. What can I say? I’m a fan. When I saw that I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira got all up in the inner circle of the French Impressionists, I JUMPED at the chance to read it.

ialwayslovedyouFull Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The fact that I’ve been staring at Monet daily for for years to psych myself up was just a bonus.

I Always Loved You focuses on a young Mary Cassatt. She moved to Paris after the American Civil War in order to focus on her painting, but after 10 years she’s feeling disenchanted. Just as she’s about to throw in the towel and moved back into Pennsylvania when she’s introduced to the enigmatic Edgar Degas and his band of misfit painter pals.

Renoir and Manet and Monet, oh my! All the household French Impressionist names are represented in this book with all the behind the scenes glory that only historical fiction can provide. Mary Cassatt is one of the less familiar names among the Impressionist crew, so it was really cool to get a better idea of what she was all about. Heck, I never realized she was an American, given that she is always listed in tandem with the French masters.

This painting is discussed in detail in the book. Check out more of Mary Cassat's work

This painting is discussed in detail in the book. Check out more of Mary Cassatt’s work at www.marycassatt.org or her Artsy page. 

I Always Loved You also provided me with a lovely parallel. One of the books I really dug last year was The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (my review). That novel focused on the life of the model for one of Degas’ most famous works, Little Dancer of Fourteen Years. This novel offered a little peak into Degas’ perspective while working on the sculpture, and it was wonderful. These books compliment each other beautifully.

 Tell me Bookworms. Have you ever met two books that just sort of belong together? 

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18 Responses to “I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira”

  1. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I love finding books that go well together, especially if one of them is insanely crazy good, and one of them is good but not as good, because then I can use the second one to come down from the first one. Whenever I read Jane Eyre, one of my favorite books of all time, other books can seem terrible and boring if I read them right after Jane Eyre. So I like to read Jane Eyre, then Rebecca, then go back to other books.

  2. Melinda

    I love finding parallels in books. I like the cover of this book. I wonder if it’s still available on Netgalley (haven’t logged in for almost 2 months!)

  3. Charleen

    Unfortunately, since so much of what I read are mysteries and thrillers and books where the things that happen are supposed to be shocking revelations, it makes it really hard for me to do the parallel thing. Because, I don’t want to say, “If you liked that book, you should really read THIS book!” when the thing that links them (or even just associating them in your mind, because obviously I’d never explicitly point out where the similarities are) will ruin the surprise of the second book.

    Sometimes it’s just a similar mood, in which case I have no problem drawing parallels between them. But so often, I really want to compare one book to another and just feel like I can’t!

    • Words For Worms

      I can totally see that- I see am not much in the way of mysteries and thrillers, but I see comparisons to Gone Girl and I’m like “welp… I guess there’s a psycho and some major twist involved.” It makes things a bit less fun that way.

  4. Isi

    I didn’t know the book, but it sounds interesting. I’m not an impresionism fan, but I like novels in which paintings and painters are involved; it’s like two aspects of art together 😉

  5. Darlene

    Well, these two come to mind but I can’t say for sure, I just think they are alike. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and The Float Plane Notebooks by Clyde Edgerton. Both are on my list to read this year, and I think both deal with a family burying someone, (the mother in AILD for sure), and the stories are told from the separate view points of the family members.
    Thought I’d read them in succession and see how they compare.

    And I love Monet. I was able to go to an exhibit a few years ago showcasing about 60 of his paintings and I have a small matted print in my kitchen.
    I thought about the exhibit so much after I left that I almost went back again. And I am not even an art person.

  6. Megan M.

    I don’t know that I’ve ever drawn a parallel between books that way before. “The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” discusses the Panopticon, and a book recently came out CALLED “The Panopticon” but since I haven’t read the second one I can’t say for sure that they go well together.

  7. Jennifer

    This book has been staring at me for awhile now — and I just haven’t picked it up. Not sure why not as I adore art history and I loved The Painted Girls!

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