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With Violets

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  415 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Paris in the 1860s: a magnificent time of expression, where brilliant young artists rebel against the stodginess of the past to freely explore new styles of creating—and bold new ways of living.

Passionate, beautiful, and utterly devoted to her art, Berthe Morisot is determined to be recognized as an important painter. But as a woman, she finds herself sometimes overlooked
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 21st 2008 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 2005)
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Art & Artists in Fiction
115th out of 446 books — 732 voters
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Degas Fiction
5th out of 13 books — 3 voters

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Community Reviews

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I am so sick of female characters starting out strong and becoming weak because of a man. Eventhough a love story between Morisot and Manet sounds romantic, I prefer to see her as a founder of Impressionism and a strong feminist instead of a love sick puppy.
The cover of the paperback version of "With Violets" is bright and inviting with a white-dressed figure reclining off the edge of the page, holding violets in her hand. Something in the sharp-edged flowers or speckled grays on the dress is reminiscent of the era Robards is writing about, the time of the French impressionists, putting me in the right mood to read.

The book transports you to a very real depiction of Paris in the 1860s, introducing the reader to wonderful characters with complicated
Berthe Morisot was an important French painter of the Impressionism School, although it’s far more likely that readers will be familiar with her counterparts’ names (Degas, Monet, Renoir, Pissarro) than Morisot’s. In that way, “With Violets,” a fictionalized account of the real life love affair between Morisot and painter Edouard Manet, may bring new fans to her work, and more attention to a woman painter whose life and work have remained out of the spotlight for too long.

The story opens when Ed
I have to admit the only reason i picked this up was because i was in between library books and really didn't feel like a)going out to get more and b) I really didn't feel like making it rain /spend any money on new books. But, this book was pretty pleasant. The cover is not-my-style... at all. The story really kept me interested though.

What's this about? short and sweet. This is about the artist Manet's muse and their ongoing "relationship". Berthe was raised to be a lady of society, she was to
I tried to finish this, because I just hate leaving a book undone, but I'm giving up and moving to greener pastures. This book got my attention with a lie; it claims to be "A novel of the dawn of Impressionism." To me that means that it will be about Impressionism. Instead it's chick lit where Berthe Morisot, a talented Impressionist artist I had never heard of, gets all hot and bothered over Edouard Manet, despite his being married, albeit to a rather dumpy wife. She spends the entire book in h ...more
Kate Forsyth
This novel tells the story of Berthe Morisot, the only female artist to be exhibited with the Impressionists, and her scandalous love affair with Édouard Manet. Set in Paris in the 1860s, it was a time of political and artistic turmoil. I had high hopes for the book, since I love books about art and history and creativity, but overall I was disappointed with this – it was very slow in the beginning and then rushed to the end as if the author had grown tired of her own story.
This book is based on the true story of Berthe Morisot, a woman impressionist painter who became involved with the original troupe of French Impressionists and her sorted love affair with the great painter Edouard Manet, who was a married man and still led her to believe his love was genuine. The Napoleonic wars and other turmoil of the times are presented in a fascinating look into the French lifestyle of the mid 1800s. Learning to paint at the Louvre with master painters. Hand written notes se ...more
Aug 14, 2014 Abigail rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women, artists,poets
This was a very interesting book in terms of the history of impressionism and the history of France. I like how it was told from a female artist's point of view, one who in the end wasn't afraid to be different in order to be happy. The primary love story that lasted for most of the book was at first exciting and dramatic, thrilling and dangerous. But then after a while, it became exhausting, painful, and a little pathetic. But that was as it was written to be, because in that emotional chaos, t ...more
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LOVED IT. Beautifully written historical fiction. I savored the way Morisot's view of the world is adeptly colored with painting imagery--it just sort of seeps naturally into your soul as you read. I found this much more inviting and approachable than Tracy Chevalier's more widely known Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I got the distinct honor of getting to read With Violets just before it first came out and I couldn't believe my luck. I love history and love romance, and this story combines the two, w
May 18, 2009 Bonny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any one who likes to know more about the times and lives of artists
I saw this title in Italian at one of the bookstores in Rob's hometown. I read the synopsis and knew I had to read it. My Italian is not good enugh to read it in that language (it would take me a lot longer than I was willing to devote to the book). I wanted to read it "now", s i downloaded it to my e-book reader. I finished it this morning and am sorry there is no more.

This is a fabulous read, especially for anyone who likes reading about the lives of artists. Elizabeth Robard's interpretatio
Aileen Ng
With Violets is about a lady painter named Berthe Morisot during the 18th century. She comes from a successful bourgeois family that encourage her to do what she wants in live. She is considered as one of the important figures during the Impressionists era. Who wouldn't be if you have friends like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Alfred Sisley and Eduoard Manet.

The book depicts her career and personal life which involves the famous painter, Eduoard Manet, who f
The novel dragged on towards the end, however I was captivated by Edouard and Berthe's chemistry and head butting. The ending was a shock yet I somehow saw it coming. Hard to explain my thought process ha
I wanted so badly to love this book. The story line was nice, but eventually it just got annoying and played out. The two lovers were literally on one day and off the next for years. And speaking of the timing, the copy I have listed dates in the middle of the pages, but the story progressed from day to day. At one point the date jumped ahead a few months, but the story continued as if it was the next day. At another point, the date had been written backwards causing me to believe we jumped ahea ...more
Manet and Berthe's romance is described in this book. Although it is about two painters, it doesn't describe in enough detail for me the times.
Laura Falby
Harlequin Historical Lite. I was seduced by the beautiful cover and the description of the story, but I was very disappointed. And so many typos and grammatical errors! I guess that readers of romance novels don't care about spelling or grammar? I couldn't even finish the novel.
Chris Henson
Enjoyed learning about Manet-Morisot relationship
I'm sure that for those who enjoy this genre, this is a good read, but I just couldn't get past the first few chapters. The daughters whined too much about petty, frivolous things. Maybe that's all there was to do in those times. It made me think of the movie version of a Jane Austen knock-off. I wasn't getting anything out of it, so I stopped reading. Sorry :/
I would add a half star to this review. I enjoyed the Paris of the impressionist art movement and the life of a woman who dared to remain unmarried to pursue her career in art. She had a (according to this fictional account ) a tumultous affair with Edourad Degas who was married. At the age of 33 she married his brother Eugene. I am always curious about the lives of women artists. Although a little tedious, I just wanted to shout "Get over it" I still loved the book.
Mirah W
I found myself really drawn into this book. Bertha was an interesting character. She was really didn't adhere to the social restraints of the time and she was rather liberated. Being able to get a glimpse of what it might have been like to live during the time of Degas, Monet, and Manet was rather intriguing. Knowing how influential those artists became to the world, I can't imagine living my everyday life surrounded by them. Good read.
Probably my favorite art historical fiction book since the Forest Lover (Susan Vreeland). The Forest Lover by Susan Vreeland Like the Forest Lover, much of the love story is highly speculative (or entirely fictitious) which leads to some disappointments, but it is still a wonderful story. I only wonder why Mary Cassatt was never mentioned. ...more
Karen Hogan
I have to admit this started out slow for me. Fictional take on the affair between Berthe Moirset and Manet. I love the impressionists, enjoyed reading about the painters and their elite circle. Finally, the relationship between Moirset and Manet drew me in and didnt let me go. An added plus, was that I learned about Berthe Moirset, a painter I was not familiar with before reading this book.
Robin Klein
This book reviews the Impressionistic Era in France and the painters focasing on 2, Berthe Morisot and Edw. Manet. Their romance,etc. I had forgotten that Prussia invaded France at this time and entered Paris. I found the history interesting the romance OK, but when it started to get "Harliquin romance", I start to review pages quickly. Overall it remined me of a good female artist--B.Morisot.
Anna Lewis
Loved WITH VIOLETS because it contained most of the qualities I desire:
1) I'm a little obsessed with reading about the lives of the Impressionists... just something I like. And, though, this is a piece of fiction, based on my research the stories ring true.
2) There's a little romance... nothing wrong with a little romance.
3) Quick read... good, enjoyable, smooth writing.
Susan Liston
It has a nice cover and title and I feel mildly guilty about the rating, because I'm sure the author is very nice and loves her subject, but if in fact Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet were in love with one another I would certainly hope they weren't so godawfully sappy about it. (also didn't help that I kept shouting at lovesick "Berte"..HE HAS SYPHILIS, you know!)
After getting distracted by other books, I finally was able to finish this book! I'm glad I did because the ending was unexpectedly amazing. I never would have thought Berthe would actually do what she did in the end but she seemed happy with her decision. I think if I read it all in one sitting I probably would've liked it more.
A very good book. A good view of the Paris art scene during the late 1800's- the Salon's worth in question; the birth of Impressionism; and how women artists, such as Berthe Morisot, fit in a man's art world. Still not a fan of Manet (or Degas for that matter), but still a huge fan of the Impressionists and certainly of Morisot.
I enjoyed this book very much. It is about a female artist who fell in love with a married man who was also an artist. Her struggles with her family and herself made the story interesting. I Googled both artists and enjoyed looking at their art with the story in mind!!!
I recommend this easy read to everyone.
Great book for art lovers and the romantic at heart. Love what Robards says about her book--"It is with great awe and respect for Berthe and Edouard and their nonforming, artistic spirts that I have asked the question 'what if' and sketched a love story of what might have been..."
Quick read. I didnt realise it was inspired by fact. Yes, Berthe is a bit annoying and you just want to tell her to sort it out. But Robbard describes her intense emotions well which anyone in "love" might well feel. Confusion and frustration. Hope and despair.
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