Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Painted Girls, (Penguin/Riverhead; coming in large print from Wheeler), reminded many of Susan Vreeland’s Luncheon of the Boating Party, (Penguin/Viking, 2007). Both books are based on a work by an artist involved in the Impressionist circle (Renoir’s painting in Vreeland’s book, Degas’s Little Dancer Aged Fourteen in Buchanan’s).
The Washington Post makes the connection, too, assigning the review of Painted Girls to … Susan Vreeland. She heaps praise on Buchanan’s book, saying she “paints the girls who spring from the page as vibrantly as a dancer’s leap across a stage.” As fascinating as the time period is, Belle Epoque Paris, it’s the characters, three poor sisters trying to make it in the ballet, that hold the story together, says Vreeland “Through their bad decisions, lying, thieving and prostitution of one sort or another, one reads on, compelled by love for these girls whom Buchanan describes so compassionately.”
Holds continue to build in libraries. People magazine designated it one of their picks last week, it is also an Indie Next Jan pick and the author was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (causing the Canadian Globe and Mail to headline their interview with Buchanan, “How to make your publicist swoon.”)