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Book Review: Mademoiselle Victorine by Debra Finerman

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Victorine Laurent finds herself as a member of the Paris Opera as a means for survival. Because of her place in society, she survives by dancing and becoming the mistress of a wealthy man.

When she meets artist Edouard Manet, she agrees to pose for him, but she has no idea of the stir the painting will cause. She becomes an overnight sensation when the painting is displayed at the Salon exhibition at Palais de l'Industrie. She becomes every man's desire and soon finds herself with a new suitor and a new luxurious home.

As she continues to pose for Manet, she attracts the attention of the Duke de Lyon, a man who has the ear of Emperor Louis-Napoléon. When the Duke wants her all to himself and forbids her from posing for Manet, Victorine must make some of the most difficult choices of her life.

I was honestly not sure what to expect from Mademoiselle Victorine after reading the back cover. Having little knowledge about art and even less knowledge of Manet and his work, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. The story, based on the lives of Manet and Laurent, captured me from the first chapter. Debra Finerman expertly connects the reader with the character of Victorine and then continues on with a brilliantly written story.

While the front cover, featuring one of Manet's paintings, is a bit explicit, the book itself allows you to paint the pictures in your mind. I look forward to more novels by this great new novelist.

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