I am a sucker for books about ballet. The Painted Girls is the story of the real life ballet muse, Marie van Goethem, who as a young girl became the inspiration for several Degas works, including a little statuette entitled “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” (of which several bronze reproductions exist today). In The Painted Girls, Marie and her two sisters aspire to be etoiles with the renowned Paris Opera Ballet, not necessarily because they dream of being prima ballerinas, but because they dream of escaping the poverty of a home without a father and mother who has taken to drink.
This should have been a wonderful novel, but quite frankly it wasn’t. The author had all the components, both fact and fiction to make this into something really great, but lacked the literary skills to do so. It really fell flat with me.
2 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2013