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The Painted Girls: A Novel

The Painted Girls: A Novel - Cathy Marie Buchanan About halfway through this book, I was having some trouble getting into it. I had just picked it up, mainly because of the reference to Degas, and started reading without knowing the context of what the author wanted to do (or reading the reviews here first -- okay, yeah, I liked the cover). At that point, I started poking around, reading the author's note at the end that explains what she was trying to do, doing a little research on the real people represented in the book. From there on out, I enjoyed the book more, and really this is a 3.5 star book for me. I learned a lot and it was a good story, and the way in which the author weaved together two separate stories (the Degas/Little Dancer story and the murders going on in Paris at the time) into one was really well done, and I appreciate the design of the book.

But I can't go to 4 stars, because it seemed to me that it was a little clumsy -- it didn't quite work without the foreknowledge of what the author was trying to do. There were weird repetitions and heavy foreshadowing that made me feel like I was getting gently hit over the head over and over -- not painful, but a little annoying. Eh, that's okay -- she had her historically-motivated and story-motivated reasons. But it's a like, not a love for me.

So it was an enjoyable book, a great story design, but a little short on the execution. But if you know going in that it's more history than novel in several ways, it would probably help, and I would have enjoyed it more if I had done my research before beginning the book.