Monet's Angels 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 town of Giverny two women meet. Their backgrounds are worlds apart: Blanche, provincial French and middle aged, Judith a young, beautiful, rich 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 stepdaughter, 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.
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 partnership between Blanche and her stepfather 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.
By Mrs A Smith on 1 October 2014
'I highly recommend Monet's Angels: the characters are well rounded, totally believable and come alive on the page. You feel with and for them. This book perfectly captures the atmosphere of that time and circle of artists, ex-pats and local people. It is full of a painter's point of view, you almost see and smell the garden that so much inspired Monet and you understand his seeing the world as a play of light and colour. I was also touched and deeply moved by the enduring theme of the women who sacrifice their own lives, careers and dreams for the men in their lives.'
By HEALTHCARE on 15 October 2014
'Fabulous book. This is a great read. Well written - couldn't put it down. Captures the times beautifully and paints the pictures and scenes with prose and words. Highly recommended.'
I loved Judith's character and how she flamboyantly arrives disrupting the ... By Marilyn on 15 June 2015
'Reading Monet's Angels threw me into the early 20th century of Giverny. I felt I was there enjoying the garden and the art. I loved Judith's character and how she flamboyantly arrives disrupting the household and the rivalry between her and Blanche adds tension. The other characters dip in and out gently and of course Monet's presence is formidable and moving. A lovely read!'
By Audrey on 24 June 2015
'I have just read Monet's Angels and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is extremely well written and all characters well drawn. The author has a wide knowledge of the artist's work and shows real insight into his personality and talent. His relationship with his step-daughter Blanche is particularly well drawn, and the familiar garden comes vividly to life. The character of Judith, the author's own invention, is a way of adding a romantic and convincing interest to the story. She is a fascinating girl and no wonder she gets into trouble with men. She adds a bit of raciness. One really feels sorry for her at the end. I recommend the book to all students of Monet - you will get far more out of this than your tutor can give you!'