Looking for your ideal holiday read? I think you'll find Monet's Angels fills ther bill.
It is a story of passion and intrigue, of two women drawn together by destiny. It is set in the last golden days before the First World War when a beautiful house and garden inspired some of the world’s greatest paintings.
In the Normandy village of Giverny the two women meet, Their backgrounds are worlds apart: Blanche is French, provincial and middle aged; Judith is a young, beautiful, rich American heiress, Their common ground lies in Claude Monet, the impressionist painter, but their motives are very different.
It is 1913 and the elderly Monet is fighting his failing eyesight to create his Water Lily panels, which will be his swansong Blanche, his dutiful step-daughter, has renounced her considerable painting talent to support him.
Into this orderly household, Judith arrives like a shooting star, fascinating everyone she encounters, She is determined to flout her parents’ wishes for a strategic marriage and live her bohemian dream. Her reckless presence heralds change and disturbs long buried memories of the past.
Blanche relives her ill-fated love affair with John Leslie, when she defied Monet’s disapproval, while Robert, an American artist, is alarmed by Judith’s wild passion for life and strives to protect her from herself, conscious as he does so that he is trying to change his own past.
After initially welcoming Judith as an invigorating influence on Monet, Blanche comes to realise that the young American is eroding her close relationship with her stepfather. And when she learns of Judith’s fling with Michel, an under-gardener, which threatens the happiness of her favourite laundry-maid, Lilli, it is the final straw for Blanche,
She intervenes with tragic results. Gradually the old relationship between Blanche and Monet returns. She can finally lay her memories and regrets of John Leslie to rest, reconciled to her life living and working with Monet.
She never really had a choice