A deep insight into the lives of the working class in Paris in 1870's & 1880's. and into a family of 3 sisters & an alcoholic mother trying to survive as best they can. The story is told from the perspectives of the 3 sisters of different ages, sometimes emotional close but often often in conflict. It is also an introduction into ballet & how the young women suffer to hang on. Good portrait of Degas & his struggle to paint "real" people in the streets of Paris, as well as the French criminal system at that period. I would strongly recommend it you love history, Paris, & Degas.
The Painted Girls tells the story of three sisters living in late 1800's Paris with a Mother addicted to absinthe, a dead Father and a society who predicts failure for them before they have even reached their majority. Antoinette, the oldest meets a very dangerous young teenager, Emile who begins to lead her down a dark path away from her sisters and the world of honest wages and into the world of prostitution, prison, and onto a road that might separate her from her family permanently.
Marie (along with her sister Charlotte who is ten) who is fourteen is sent to the ballet to earn wages and to train to hopefully move up the ranks to eventually become a famous ballerina. While there she attracts the eye of an artist and also takes on modeling for him to earn an extra wage to help feed her family. As the story progresses Marie continues to look for ways to pay for her ballet lessons and feed her family that lead her down dark paths with a patron who says that he will support her but not for free and she finds that she must pay a huge price if she is to continue on with his support. Antoinette also sees the dark side of life for a female in these times as she is thrust into the world of rich men, stealing, and selling her body to the highest bidder.
This book looks at what women in the lower parts of society did to survive and to pull themselves up out of hard places in late 1800's Paris. It's an easily read narrative type viewpoint switching from Marie to Antoinette. It was a very good book and one of my favorites so far this year.
Paris in the 1880s and after the death of their father, three young sisters must find a way to help pay the rent. Thus the reader enters into the life of Paris Opera
and theatre. This book was fascinating. I highly recommend it.