Cathy Marie Buchanan's Blog

November 29, 2013

Oh my!! The Painted Girls makes Good Housekeeping's Best Reads of 2013. Gobsmacked and delighted!

Check out the excellent list:
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Published on November 29, 2013 06:39 • 284 views • Tags: the-painted-girls

November 4, 2013

The Painted Girls in a contender in the Goodreads Choice Awards. If you loved the book I'd much appreciate you taking a few minutes to vote.

Merci beaucoup!
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Published on November 04, 2013 10:33 • 135 views

March 26, 2013

Got questions about The Painted Girls?

Wednesday March 27 I'm hosting the Goodreads Author Group "Ask Cathy Marie Buchanan." Join the group and post a question. Check back for answers on March 27th and join in the chat.
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Published on March 26, 2013 06:13 • 251 views • Tags: author-chat, author-group, cathy-marie-buchanan, the-painted-girls

December 11, 2012

Kirkus StarThe first industry review of The Painted Girls is from Kirkus Book Reviews. And it’s spectacularly good and starred, which according to Kirkus designates The Painted Girls as a “book of remarkable merit.”

“Buchanan (The Day the Falls Stood Still, 2009) brings the unglamorous reality of the late 19th-century Parisian demimonde into stark relief while imagining the life of Marie Van Goethem, the actual model for the iconic Degas statue “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.”

Marie is the middle Van Goethem sister, the plain one who loves reading. Seven-year-old Charlotte has the looks and charm, while street-wise 17-year-old Antoinette is burdened with raising her sisters because their widowed mother spends most of her meager income as a washerwoman on absinthe. Kicked out of the Paris Opera ballet school but earning a little as an extra, Antoinette arranges for Marie and Charlotte to enter the school—dance is a way to avoid working in the wash house. Soon, Marie attracts the attention of the painter Degas. When he asks her to model for him, she jumps at the chance, both for the money and the attention. Through Degas, she meets Monsieur Lefebvre, one of the wealthy men who “adopt” ballet students of promise. Soon, she is able to quit her part-time job at the neighborhood bakery where she has captured the heart of the owner’s son. Meanwhile, Antoinette gets a tiny part in Zola’s controversial play L’Assommoir and falls in love with another extra, Émile Abadie. As the story progresses, the sisters come dangerously close to self-destruction.

Buchanan does a masterful job of interweaving historical figures into her plot, but it is the moving yet unsentimental portrait of family love, of two sisters struggling to survive with dignity, that makes this a must-read.”

See more of Cathy's news on her website.
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Published on December 11, 2012 05:37 • 241 views

August 30, 2012

Could an author asked for a more excellent set of endorsements for her work?

"Part mystery, part love story, The Painted Girls breathes heart and soul into a fascinating era of the City of Lights. One can't help but be drawn in by this compelling and lyrical tale of sister love and rivalry." —Heidi W. Durrow, author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

"History, coming of age, and the art of Degas's beloved dancers are woven together in this enchanting novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan. As the Van Goethem sisters strive for beauty and grace, they struggle for their daily survival in the underbelly of 19th-century Paris. Their choices are framed by the harsh lives into which they were born, animated by love, and set the course of their awakening into womanhood. The Painted Girls is utterly captivating." —Vincent Lam, author of The Headmaster’s Wager

The Painted Girls is a beautiful book--a heartbreaking portrait of vulnerability, and a tribute to the power of sisterhood. And, like all good historical fiction, it gives us a rare and vivid glimpse into a time and place very different from our own. Lucky is the reader who gets swept up in these magical pages.” —Alison Pick, author of Far to Go

“The Painted Girls holds you enthralled as it spools out the vivid story of young sisters in late 19th century Paris struggling to transcend their lives of poverty through the magic of dance. The author opens a rare window into the hard work, pain and determination behind the graceful art of ballet; even more, into the hard and sometimes cruel choices faced by young girls of that time. I guarantee, you will never look at Edgar Degas’s immortal sculpture of the Little Dancer in quite the same way again.” —Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker

The Painted Girls is historical fiction at its finest, awash in period details of the Paris of Degas and Zola while remaining, at its heart, the poignant story of two sisters struggling to stay together even as they find themselves pulled toward different, and often misunderstood, dreams. Cathy Marie Buchanan also explores the uneasy relationship between artist and muse with both compassion and soul-searing honesty.” —Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been

"In a rich story at once troubling and inspiring, Cathy Marie Buchanan writes masterfully about the hard life of two sisters in nineteenth century Paris and that fine line dividing the gilt-edged from the gritty. A wonderful tale, beautifully told.” —Terry Fallis, author of Best Laid Plans and Up and Down

The Painted Girls, a meticulously researched page-turner, brings to life the 19th century Paris with its girl dancers and artists who paint and exploit them. In a society which believes that destiny is written into the human body, Marie and Antoinette van Goethem refuse to give up on their lives and their gripping stories leap off the pages with the grace of ballerinas.” —Eva Stachniak, author of The Winter Palace

"From the first page, I was swept up in Cathy Marie Buchanan’s enchanting new novel. Set in Paris during the late 1800‘s, moving between Degas’s studio and Zola’s stage, The Painted Girls tells the heartbreaking story of two working class sisters who must lean on each other to overcome their circumstances in a city on the cusp of a social and cultural revolution.” —Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot

“If you’ve ever looked at a famed piece of art and wondered what the artist was thinking or who the subjects really were, you will be swept away by The Painted Girls. Wonderfully imagined and masterfully rendered, this story of 19th century Paris and life behind the scenes of its legendary Opera House will change the way you see the world of ballet, art and the lives it portrays.”—Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of Secret Daughter

“Sisters, dance, art, ambition, and intrigue in late 1800s Paris. The Painted Girls offers the best of historical fiction: compelling characters brought backstage at l’Opera and front and center in Degas’ studio. This one has “book club favorite” written all over it.” —Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters
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May 17, 2010

I been calling and skyping into book clubs all over North America. If your book club is reading The Day the Falls Stood Still and you'd like me to "join" the discussion, you can make that happen at
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Published on May 17, 2010 10:03 • 264 views • Tags: book-clubs, cathy-marie-buchanan, the-day-the-falls-stood-still

March 8, 2010

The Day the Falls Stood Still is a Canada Also Reads finalist, and I am crazy thrilled. The winner will be selected by public poll. Vote at before 1 pm March 12.

Read author Tish Cohen's wonderful defense of The Day the Falls Stood Still at

A little background:
When CBC announced the Canada Reads finalists, twitter was buzzing, many of the tweets griping that plenty of the books on the list had already been read widely and didn't need additional press. The National Post Books blog, The Afterword, asked on twitter: What books should Canada also read? After hundreds and hundreds of submissions from readers across the country came in, Canada Also Reads was born. The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
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Published on March 08, 2010 17:19 • 184 views • Tags: canada, canada-also-reads, canadian, cathy-marie-buchanan, the-day-the-falls-stood-still

December 7, 2009

So thrilled for The Day the Fall Stood Still to be selected by the book bloggers as a Best Book Club Book of 2009.
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Published on December 07, 2009 12:32 • 192 views • Tags: 2009, best, book, buchanan, cathy, club, day, falls, marie, still, stood
From The Globe and Mail:

"What a wordsmith! What a work of depth and breadth! What a world newcomer Cathy Marie Buchanan brings to propulsively glittering and gorgeous life in The Day the Falls Stood Still. Few first novels exhibit the mastery, maturity and majesty of Buchanan's riveting fictional debut, a heart-wrenching, soul-racking, spell-binding tale interwoven with guts, anguish and glory guaranteed to remain in readers' minds long after they've crossed its devastating finish line."

From USA Today:

"The Day the Falls Stood Still shares themes with Joyce Carol Oates' The Falls (Niagara-style suicide haunts both) and Lauren Belfer's City of Light (power corrupts, hydroelectric power corrupts absolutely). But Stood Still stands on its own elegant prose and the vibrant voice of its narrator, Bess Heath."

From the National Post:

"Halfway through The Day the Falls Stood Still, a first novel by Toronto author Cathy Marie Buchanan, I thought it might be a worthy companion to Timothy Findley's First World War novel, The Wars -- a sort of distaff variation on themes of violence and love. By the time I was through, though, I realized that would do it a disservice. In writerly terms, it is a better novel than The Wars -- more convincing, less grandiloquent. And its reach is both broader and deeper."
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Published on December 07, 2009 12:30 • 168 views • Tags: buchanan, cathy, day, fall, fiction, historical, marie, reviews, still, stood

September 16, 2009

Cathy has been touring the blogosphere this past month and continues to do so. We’ll have more links up for you soon. But starting today, Cathy begins her physical book tour at Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo, New York. Some other tour stops in New York include Amherst, Brockport and Ithaca. Canadian stops are planned for October, and will be updated soon. For now, please see the itinerary here.
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Published on September 16, 2009 11:25 • 194 views • Tags: book, buchanan, cathy, day, falls, marie, new, still, stood, tour, york