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The Flower to the Painter

4.4 of 5 stars 4.40  ·  rating details  ·  20 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Marcia Brownlow, a young, unemployed American governess in late nineteenth century Italy, masquerades as a man to advance her career. She adopts the persona of her dead brother Mark and becomes the protegee of Arthur Wolcott, a famous American expatriate author who discovers Marcia's artistic talent. Wolcott introduces his protegee to wealthy art patrons in Florence, Venic ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Fireship Press
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Sep 27, 2015 Marita rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Art lovers
Shelves: fiction-art, 2015
As a synopsis has been provided, I'll focus on the characters in this novel.

Marcia Brownlow, the main protagonist, is an interesting character. When we first meet her she is in rather dire straits and we find her ingratiating herself with her wealthy friend, Daisy, and Daisy's Aunt Kingsford. Marcia has even dressed herself shabbily in order to gain their sympathy: "I saw in Daisy’s trusting cornflower eyes the opportunity of a new wardrobe." Daisy is her dear friend, but her thoughts about Dai
Marcia Brownlow, a young artist among a group of American expatriates in late 19th century Europe, began her journey as a governess when her family fell on hard times and left her bereft. A friend’s aunt makes a proposal that Marcia cannot afford to decline, although it would require a major deception: Marcia must disguise herself as a man. She adopts her deceased brother’s identity, and as “Mark” Brownlow, interviews for a position as a writer’s secretary. Her employer quickly learns that she i ...more
1876; Florence, Italy.

Marcia Brownlow, a young American woman sojourning in Italy, has just been fired from her position as a governess for fighting back when her employer tried to molest her. Marcia is taken in by her well-to-do friend Daisy, who lives with her elderly aunt. The set-up is much like any number of romance novels set in the Victorian era but soon begins to differ. In typical Victorian fashion there are a lot of social intricacies involved as part of the set-up but essentially wha
Jessica Knauss
Gary Inbinder's second novel, The Flower to the Painter, transports the reader into the elegant, commercialistic art world of late nineteenth-century Europe. Through the sharp eye of protagonist Marcia Brownlow, we float along the canals of Venice, travel by train through the Alps, and meet John Singer Sargent, Leighton, Whistler, and other memorable painters of the time. We even exchange sketches with Renoir in Montmartre.

Marcia Brownlow was down on her luck when she came to Europe as a governe
Bryn Hammond
I’m attracted by the idea of creative pastiche, and I guess that’s what this novel is. I feel vaguely inadequate because I don’t know my Henry James or my Edith Wharton. Not that I felt I needed to, I hasten to say. I enjoyed this for its painters’ lives – if you like 19thC art – and for its story of a woman disguised as a man and the emotional and sexual misadventures this leads to. Her inclinations are to other women, while she herself has an uncanny resemblance to Donatello's David, that andr ...more
Lauren Gilbert
Gary Inbinder has created a very powerful character in Marcia Brownlow. I found this book to be beautifully written. Mr. Inbinder portrayed the period and the art world so vividly, I could see it. He has drawn detailed pictures of scenery and society with words that draw the reader into the novel. His characters are clearly drawn, not always likeable, and compelling. I found myself staying with the story, and hoping that the heroine would triumph, even though I found her unsympathetic in many wa ...more
Julie Harris
A very good story. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
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Gary Inbinder is a retired attorney who left the practice of law to write full-time. His fiction, articles and essays have appeared in Bewildering Stories, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Absent Willow Review, Morpheus Tales, Touchstone Magazine and other publications. Gary is a member of The Historical Novel Society and Mystery Writers of America. He is also a member of the Bewildering Stories Edito ...more
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“Venice appeared to me as in a recurring dream, a place once visited and now fixed in memory like images on a photographer’s plates so that my return was akin to turning the leaves of a portfolio: a scene of the gondolas moored by the railway station; the Grand Canal in twilight; the Rialto bridge; the Piazza San Marco; the shimmering, rippling wonderland; the bustling water traffic; the fish market; the Lido beach and boardwalk; Teeny in the launch; the singing, gesturing gondoliers; the bourgeois tourists drinking coffee at Florian’s; the importunate beggars; the drowned girl’s ghost haunting the Bridge of Sighs; the pigeons, mosquitoes and fetor of decay.” 4 likes
“The great city seemed to weigh upon me, as though it were crushing me under its heap of brick and stone. Gray, drizzly skies, congested streets, the soot-belching boats and barges chugging up and down the Thames, the teeming mass of four millions hastening about the countless activities of daily life in a metropolis, things adventurous, meaningful, spiritual, quotidian, futile, criminal, meaningless and absurd. Amidst this seething stew of humanity, I painted.” 4 likes
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