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With Violets
by Elizabeth Robards

Category: Fiction / Historical
317 pages; ISBN: 1410402223

Rating: 9/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


With Violets
Elizabeth Robards
Five Star, Jan 2005, $26.95, 317 pp.
ISBN: 1410402223

In 1868 in the Louvre, Berthe Morisot practices painting by copying the masters. Usually she is accompanied by her sister and her mother, but today she is alone except for her friend Rosalie Riesener. Another friend, Monsieur Fantin joins the two young women and introduces them to renowned artist Edouard Manet. He flirts with Berthe and even changes her drawing slightly though she lectures him for doing so.

Berthe is attracted to Edouard, but is horrified to learn her new admirer is married to pianist Suzanne. The budding female artist also meets Edouard’s brother Eugene; soon the siblings compete for the affection of Berthe. Will she choose the single brother, the famous married brother, or neither brother?

WITH VIOLETS is an intriguing work of fiction that provides insight into an interesting late nineteenth century artist (Berthe that is) and her relationships with the Manet brothers. Berthe is the focus of the story line as she seems attracted to Edouard but ultimately marry Eugene. Did she love Edouard or was that hero worship? Genre fans will gain a taste for Left Bank Paris during the impressionist period as Elizabeth Robards paints a delightful portrait of an impressionist artist ahead of her times.

Harriet Klausner


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