Must Read Monday (43): Jessie Burton’s The Muse & Laura McHugh’s Arrowood

Welcome to another edition of Must Read Monday!

This feature is where I spotlight older, recent, or upcoming releases I am looking forward to. The lists will include all genres I like to read, everything from picture books to comics, children’s lit to adult fiction!

This week: a historical fiction title and a thriller! First up is The Muse, the sophomore novel from bestselling author Jessie Burton. Burton arrived on the scene with the much-talked-about The Miniaturist– a historical novel that I was quite captivated by. The Muse looks and sounds to be another engrossing history fiction title, this one set in 19th century England and Spain, with alternating narratives. I anticipate that Burton will do a terrific job with rotating narrators- it is a concept that I absolutely adore when done well! I also look forward to reading how Burton takes on entirely different locales and time periods. Second up is Laura McHugh‘s Arrowood. I am very sorry to say that I have not yet read McHugh’s well-received debut suspense novel The Weight of Blood (as I write this post, the book sits on one of my bookshelves, looking witheringly as me…), but I knew as soon as I read the description for Arrowood that I would also have to add this one to my must-read as well! The description for Arrowood includes a number of eye-catching details: a grand house, family secrets, traumatic past, and long-buried secrets coming to light. There’s something almost Kate Morton-like about the promise of Arrowood– albeit with a much darker, menacing feel to it- and I very much look forward to reading this one!

 

THEMUSE27213208The Muse by Jessie Burton
Expected publication: July 26, 2016 by Ecco

From the internationally bestselling author of The Miniaturist comes a captivating and brilliantly realized story of two young women—a Caribbean immigrant in 1960s London, and a bohemian woman in 1930s Spain—and the powerful mystery that ties them together.

England, 1967. Odelle Bastien is a Caribbean émigré trying to make her way in London. When she starts working at the prestigious Skelton Art Gallery, she discovers a painting rumored to be the work of Isaac Robles, a young artist of immense talent and vision whose mysterious death has confounded the art world for decades. The excitement over the painting is matched by the intrigue around the conflicting stories of its discovery. Drawn into a complex web of secrets and deceptions, Odelle does not know what to believe or who she can trust, including her mesmerizing colleague, Marjorie Quick.

Spain, 1937. Olive Schloss, the daughter of a Viennese Jewish art dealer and English heiress, follows her parents to Arazuelo, a poor, restless village on the southern coast. She grows close to Teresa, a young housekeeper, and her half-brother Isaac Robles, an idealistic and ambitious painter newly returned from the Barcelona salons. A dilettante buoyed by the revolutionary fervor that will soon erupt into civil war, Isaac dreams of being a painter as famous as his countryman, Picasso.

Raised in poverty, these illegitimate children of the local landowner revel in exploiting this wealthy Anglo-Austrian family. Insinuating themselves into the Schloss’s lives, Teresa and Isaac help Olive conceal her artistic talents with devastating consequences that will echo into the decades to come.

Rendered in exquisite detail, The Muse is a passionate and enthralling tale of desire, ambition, and the ways in which the tides of history inevitably shape and define our lives.

 

ARROWOOD28007948Arrowood by Laura McHugh
Expected publication: August 9th 2016 by Spiegel & Grau

A dark, gripping novel from the author of The Weight of Blood about a mysterious kidnapping and the ways in which our lives are shaped by the stories we create about our past

Arrowood is the most ornate and beautiful of the grand historical houses that line the Mississippi River in southern Iowa, where the days are long and humid and communities are small and closed. It has its own secrets and ghostly presence: It’s where Arden’s young twin sisters were abducted nearly twenty years ago—never to be seen again. Now, Arden has inherited Arrowood, and she returns to her childhood home determined to establish what really happened that traumatic summer. But the house and the surrounding town hold their secrets close—and the truth, when Arden finds it, is more devastating than she ever could have imagined.

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