Paris Red A Novel by Maureen Gibbon

Paris RedParis Red by Maureen Gibbon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paris Red, a novel by Maureen Gibbon and published by W.W Norton and Company is an interesting read. It is told from the point of view of a poor, 17 year old girl in 1862, who works in a silver polishing factory. She enters into a love triangle with her roommate and a man they meet on the street.

They play a little game of you touch her and then touch me for several chapters, before she leaves her roommate, and joins the man in his studio. He is a painter; an Artist, who ends up being Edouard Manet. Manet was a French painter during 19th century.

Manet’s painting, Olympia, caused great controversy when it was painted. In Paris Red, the story teller is that of his muse, Victorine Meurent. Olympia is a striking nude panting. It was unlike anything that had been painted before it.

In order to understand Paris Red, the reader has to understand a little about Manet and his famous work. It took until the end of the novel to understand who was who. I also had to use Google, because the novel does not come out and say who the young painter is for most of the book.

This is a fictional account of the relationship between Manet and Meurent. It read a lot like another book, and might have been called Fifty Shades of Paris Red, due to its content. This novel contains graphic sex including, some eyebrow raising acts that might shock those not expecting it. The vibe is similar to the other book mention; a relationship between a man and woman, based on sex, lust and control.
Paris Red is not for the modest. If the reader did not like Fifty Shades of Grey, they may not like this book, either.

What I didn’t like about Paris Red is pretty easy to guess. I dislike the over sexual nature of the book. I wish the author had included more history of the man. Instead, Manet remains a mystery for most of the book. There were a couple of sexual parts that didn’t need to be explained in such detail. I really wanted the story of them and not just some repeat of another book. I disliked how his muse was so greedy that she left her roommate; who was supposed to be part of this relationship. He had wanted both of them in the beginning. I also, found myself skipping the excessive sex to find the story.

What I did like about it was the way it flowed. Paris Red is told from the point of view of his muse. The detail in which the author describes each person and object is amazing. The novel is sensual at times and beautiful. The details of the two girl’s living area and working conditions were amazing. It brought me to tears.
Overall, this is as intense as the back cover suggests it is. It is a striking erotic work, loosely based on Manet and his muse. I enjoyed the book, once I understood the history of Manet.

A big thanks to Maureen Gibbon, the author, the publisher and Goodreads for allowing me to review this gem.

Disclaimer: This book was won after entering a contest on Goodreads 1st reads.

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Independently Wealthy. A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Independently Wealthy: A NovelIndependently Wealthy: A Novel by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I won a copy of Independently Wealthy:A Novel, by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal, after entering a Goodreads 1st Reads giveaway. Published by Thomas Dunne Books, a divison of St. Martin’s Press.

Independently Wealthy is the 2nd book and sequel to New Money, also by Rosenthal. Independently Wealthy picks up where New Money left off. It is not a requirement to read New Money before, but, if the reader tends to get confused because of lack of back story in this novel, then by all means, check out New Money 1st. Thomas Dunne Books even offered to send me a digital galley link for New Money, if I needed it.

Independently Wealthy opens up with Savannah Morgan living in Manhattan during Christmas. Savannah inherited a massive amount of money after the death of her father, in New Money. She was united with a family she never even knew existed and starts a new richer life in Manhattan. She ends up going to work for her brother, who after their father’s tragic unexplained death, takes over the company. Savannah is obsessed with finding out the truth about her father’s death. The reader follows her as she tries to track down information and people, all under the radar of her very controlling bother.

Savannah is a southern girl who never knew who her father was and certainly did not know he was loaded. She takes to living in a expensive apartment in Manhattan and showering the people in her life with expensive gifts, even if they don’t like them. She has her own driver and gives him a big present for his family at Christmas. Savannah wasn’t born a rich heiress, yet, she at times comes across as flaky and out of touch. There are several, several references to they type of car her boyfriend is driving, a Honda and the type of clothes he is wearing and she is wearing, that almost makes the reader feel like Savannah is a snob. I don’t think this is what the Author was trying to do, but the constant references about clothes, shoes and cars, including their brands, made me not like Savannah at times. For a girl who has just become wealthy, she has a large appetite for expensive things and seems to have a good deal of knowledge about those items. There are times, when the type of shoe or car is not relevant to the story and becomes distracting.

This is an easy read and is a good snuggle and watch the snow fall book. It is lighthearted in places and captures the vibe of winter in NYC and Manhattan. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Rosenthal and Thomas Dunne Books.

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