Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet” as Want to Read:
Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,375 Ratings  ·  433 Reviews
Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. “Ma très chère . . .” Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. “I loved you so,” he said. “I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of u ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Crown (first published 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeThe Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Birth of Venus by Sarah DunantGirl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Art & Artists in Fiction
72nd out of 529 books — 853 voters
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy ChevalierThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryI, Claudius by Robert GravesInnocent Traitor by Alison WeirThe Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
Biographical Fiction
208th out of 430 books — 228 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 27, 2010 Chrissie rated it liked it
Shelves: bio, art, france, hf, text-checked

Finished: This book has the momentum of a huge wave. It builds slowly but by the end it crashes down on the shore with a tremendous thunder that shakes you. I did not think the beginning very well prtrayed the relationship between Claude and Camille, but as you follow the story an understnading of their life, their troubles, their sorrows and their advances become real. At the end the tragedy of their life comes crashing down on you. At the beginning I was not entralled by the author'
Book Concierge
The subtitle is all the synopsis you need: A Novel of Monet. Cowell gives us a fictionalized look at the early to middle years of Monet’s career, when he met, wooed and married Camille Doncieux … and painted her in many poses and settings.

The novel is told in two time frames, each section being introduced by an early 20th-century Monet, writing from his Givenchy home circa 1908, and then followed by the late 19th-century time period evoked in his memory, starting in 1857 and ending in 1879. The
C.P. Lesley
Aug 01, 2016 C.P. Lesley rated it it was amazing
Beautifully evocative novel about Claude Monet and the woman who loved him despite the opposition of her bourgeois family and its plans to marry her off to a wealthy older man. The seas of Le Havre, the community of young painters that became known as Impressionists, the society of late 19th-century Paris, and the gardens of Givenchy all come richly alive in this emotionally compelling story. The sense of impending tragedy created by the opening pulls the reader along as Camille sticks with Mone ...more
Mar 19, 2012 Elaine rated it it was ok
What a waste of a perfectly fantastic topic! It was too, too 21st. century with the detailed sexual events, overly angst-ridden uncertainties, and the name-dropping (sort of like "so Pissaro passed the wine to Renoir, while Manet sipped, and Cezanne asked for more," if you can get my drift). I mean, come on! Why bother! It is called a novel in the sub-title, so don't confuse it with fictional biography, a stupid term. The attempt at using the French phrases is the worst I have ever seen, with so ...more
Jun 18, 2010 Wendy rated it it was ok
So, clearly I am in the minority here since I only gave this book 2 stars. I tried to put my finger on exactly what didn’t work for me in this story, especially compared to the book I just finished, Girl in Translation (which was terrific). What I ultimately came up with is that, unlike most of the other reviewers, I didn’t feel much emotional connection in this story. So many events were told to the reader in a dry, factual way that it robbed the events of any sense of immediacy or emotion. The ...more
Oct 04, 2011 Judy rated it liked it
Picture this. A young artist sees a beautiful young girl and her sister at a depot. He doesn't forget the face of the youngest sister. Four years later, he sees the same young lady at a bookshop. Meet Claude and Camille.

I wanted to read this book because I love Monet's work and desired to learn about his life and influences. This novel gave a good historical view of Monet's friendship with Renoir, Cezanne, Manet, Degas and many others as well as his personal life. There are many areas that I'm
May 14, 2011 Donna rated it did not like it
Shelves: women-writers, french
I picked up this book at the airport bookshop on my way to France. I thought it would put me in a French frame of mind, but instead I found it as grating as the flight attendant's poorly-pronounced French.

Ms. Cowell may have visited Paris and Monet's Home in Giverny as part of her "research," but her knowledge of the language, culture, and artistic milieu of late 19th-century Paris is so superficial that she should have been embarrassed to tackle the subject. I enjoy historical fiction and parti
Christy English
Apr 22, 2011 Christy English rated it it was amazing
A beautiful novel of love and loss, and of love that can never be lost. I recommend this highly. A beautiful portrait of Claude Monet and the love of his life.
Elizabeth Varadan
To read this gem of a novel is like entering an Impressionist painting and becoming immersed in its vibrant colors, glistening hilights, and hidden shadows. As a love story, it traces the arc of Claude Monet's life-long passion for Camille Doncieux, the woman who was his sweetheart, his muse, the mother of his two children, and, later, his wife.

But Claude and Camille also captures the love of artthat drives artists to pawn their few possessions for tubes of paint,borrow repeatedly from friends a
Jun 07, 2012 Zoe rated it really liked it

Beautiful and bittersweet love story

Most muses are enigmatic, a face in a painting, a elegant and beautiful woman walking in the garden , or even inspiration behind a story . Unforgettable yet obscure, they fascinate modern admirers, and from "Birth of Venus" to "Flaming June" we are compelled to imagine them and postulate lives around them in the same way we yearn to solve a mystery, but Camille was a real and true one , she left her wealthy home to become his muse, his friend and wife , and
Dianna Rostad
Aug 19, 2013 Dianna Rostad rated it it was amazing
"If we can't risk anything, we can't have anything real." --Monet

The story of Claude Monet’s unbreakable resolve to paint in a world unprepared for his contemporary style. Cowell breaks down all the romantic, bohemian notions of artists with a stark picture of struggling painters, who batter their will and break their hearts against the emptiness of poverty and a wall of resistance in the Parisian art world.

Like a man in any century, Monet struggled to balance his career ambitions with the impe
Oct 08, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-books
This is a novelization of the Impressionist artist, Claude Monet. It is similar in tone to The Paris Wife and the Aviator's Wife which are also novelizations of famous figures' lives. This story is told in the third person, focussing on Monet's point of view. It begins at age 17, when he realizes that he has a gift and is meant to be an artist as he cannot see himself doing anything else. He goes to Paris where he meets up with other artists, Renoir, Manet and Pissaro as well as the man who beco ...more
Dana Loo
Jun 24, 2016 Dana Loo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Una bella biografia romanzata, narrata in modo sobrio ma coinvolgente. La storia di un ragazzo che inseguiva un sogno, un ideale d'arte innovativo frutto delle sue emozioni, della sua inquietudine, della sua interiorità, e per il quale lascerà senza rammarico il suo borgo nativo e la famiglia per fare un salto nel buio guidato solo dalla sua grande passione, da un'ossessione, da un richiamo che sarà più forte di tutto. Una vita bohémien in una Parigi in grande fermento insieme ad un gruppo di ar
Gary Inbinder
Sep 20, 2011 Gary Inbinder rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stephanie Cowell is a wonderfully imaginative and engaging novelist. In "Claude and Camille" she uses elegant prose and descriptive detail in a compelling narrative, telling the story of young Monet and his first wife and model, Camille Doncieux. While the story of a struggling young artist and the woman who sacrifices wealth and social position to share her lover's hard life is a familiar one, Ms. Cowell tells it with great skill and fresh psychological insight. What's more, she re-creates the ...more
Aug 17, 2011 Brittany rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I'm quite surprised by the glowing reviews this novel has received. Either I'm missing something, or I know too much. My intuition is telling me that this is again an instance when ignorance is bliss. If you begin this book thinking of waterlilies and pastels, I can see how it'd be pleasant. La di da, fine art, love story, struggling artist, burgeoning career, shades of violet... yeah. And I suppose if you're content with shallow happy things, you could leave it be. I however, am not one of thos ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Heather rated it it was amazing
Claude Monet was a struggling young artist who was part of a burgeoning movement – living from sale to sale of his artwork, collaborating with his fellow painters: Frederic Bazille, Auguste Renoir, and Alfred Sisley. Camille Doncieux was a flowering young woman from the upper crust of society who was set to follow the path laid out for her by her parents – the way all respectable young women should. When these two accidentally cross paths, both of their lives change in ways that they could never ...more
Sep 05, 2010 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all historical art fans
A very touching novel, showing the beginning of the Impressionism group formed by Monet, Pissaro, Renoir among others. The book has a mixture of history and romance as well with some historical background also.
Ethnea Ferguson
Jan 24, 2016 Ethnea Ferguson rated it liked it
Sometimes it's tough to give a rating. The Cleveland Museum of Art just ended an exposition called "Impressionists in the Garden" - I attended it twice. There were paintings by several impressionists, including Monet, but a few of his pieces were paintings he had done sometimes just with his wife and sometimes with his wife and his son. They intrigued me - I really don't know anything about Monet or his wife - so I read this book. On some levels this book was just OK - but on other levels the bo ...more
Mercedes Rochelle
Loved it. This book was certainly a good read; it was a complicated love story that doesn't oblige the reader to spin any wheels wondering about the happy ending. We know from the beginning that there isn't one, because the elder Monet is still trying to make sense of what happened. What it does do is prepare us for questions that need to be answered, and encourages us to appreciate any fleeting moments of happiness that we suspect won't last.

Most of the book takes place in Monet's younger year
Chocolate & Croissants
Cher ami, the more I live, the more I regret how little I know.
-Claude Monet, In a letter to Frederic Bazille

Even before I opened the cover of Claude & Camille I knew that I would fall in love with author Stephanie Cowell’s latest novel. Cowell has painted her own canvas giving readers an unique look into Monet’s life.

I first became familiar with Monet as a 20 year old backpacking through Europe. My girlfriend was much more culturally aware than I as she dragged my from museum to museum in P
Susan Eisenberg
Jul 02, 2010 Susan Eisenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Forget dry biographies of Claude Monet and his lover-muse, Camille Doncieux. If you want to climb inside Monet's mind and heart, look no further than Stephanie Cowell's luminous novel, CLAUDE & CAMILLE, a brilliant follow-up to her last lovely novel, MARRYING MOZART. If God is in the details, Ms. Cowell creates a divinely nuanced portrait of the great Monet, first introducing the artist as an old man, then flashing back to the signal events and people who nourished his greatness.

Monet's lov
Aug 24, 2010 Carey rated it it was amazing
"Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone, and he was old...."

This is one of the most powerful lines in this novel, and one of my favorites, right at the beginning, as an elderly Claude Monet remembers his first wife, his love, his muse, the beautiful but fragile Camille.

They met when he was a young painter, impoverished, full of hope and dreams and possessing fantastic friends, who are also fellow artists. But Claude had no money and li
I love Claude Monet's paintings and wanted to really know more about his life. The book is fiction but because I saw it for sale at the artists home and museum in Giverny, I have hopes that it is fairly accurate. Claude doesn't want to be a merchant like his father but instead wants to paint. With his paintings now selling for millions you forget that for his first 20 years of painting he was unsuccessful. Claude meets Camille who agrees to sit for him in a picnic scene and later in "the green d ...more
Mar 14, 2010 Misfit rated it liked it
The story begins in 1857 and is interspersed with "interludes" wherein the aging Claude Monet reflects back on his early life, when he is first drawn to the lure of painting. Despite the efforts of his family and a brief stint in the military, Claude is determined to return to Paris and paint, and when he does he meets Camille Doncieux whom he asks to model for him. That relationship between the two as they attempt to build a life together as well as the struggle to become a successful painter i ...more
Apr 07, 2010 Bookish rated it really liked it
"I have so much fire in me and so many plans. I always want the impossible. Take clear water with grass waving at the bottom. It's wonderful to look at, but to try to paint it is enough to make one insane."

Oh, to be young, poor, prodigiously gifted, yet unrecognized; this is the Claude Monet that Stephanie Cowell paints for us in Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet. I don't know about you, but my vision of Monet was of an old, bearded man in a smock quietly painting his water lilies in Giverny.
Apr 26, 2010 Marie rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
The inspiration and the beauty behind Claude Monet's paintings have intrigued me for years. His impressionism style is a fantastically elegant thing that is really indescribable. When the news came that Stephanie Cowell was writing a novel about Claude and his lover Camille, I was so eager to get my inartistic hands on it. I had visited a Monet exhibit once in Las Vegas, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to go, but I wish I had spent a longer time there. Like for a few days, perhaps. But, t ...more
Erika Robuck
Aug 07, 2010 Erika Robuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“He always began in apprehension. If it worked, there would be a time when the painting took him, when it reached out and he became it, when he smelled of oil and mineral spirits, when he and the air became one.”

Claude and Camille, Stephanie Cowell

Claude and Camille, by Stephanie Cowell, was published in April of 2010 and is 352 pages. It is the story of the impressionist painter, Monet, his love and muse, Camille Donceaux, and his rise to prominence . It spans most of his life, finely detailing
Aug 04, 2010 Hattie rated it it was amazing
Stephanie Cowell
"He stood on the bridge. I am not done painting my lilies, he thought. There is always, as there is with love, more to say, but now I am tired and pleased."

If I were asked to tell what words first comes to mind when thinking about Monet, I would have to say water lilies. When I began reading Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell, I realized Claude Monet's life involved more than the beautiful water lilies he painted in Giverny. For example, I had never heard of the painting na
JG (The Introverted Reader)
This is the story of Claude Monet; his great love, Camille Doncieux; and their life as they struggle together in the years before his fame.

I started reading this not knowing anything about Monet except that I used to have a print of one of his works hanging in my bedroom. I also don't know much about art except that I know what I like. I have enjoyed reading fiction about art and artists in the past, so I thought I'd give this a try.

It was okay. It is always amazing to me that artists who are ge
May 29, 2010 Candice rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Alice
I won an uncorrected proof copy of this book from Read It Forward. I might not have read this if I hadn't won it, and I'm glad I did. It was a very good book, a fictional account of the artist Claude Monet and the love of his life, Camille. I have zero artistic talent, and not much background in art history, so I learned a lot. One thing that struck me was how this artist believed in himself. He and Camille lived much of their lives in poverty or near-poverty, waiting for his big break. I wonder ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Leaving Van Gogh
  • With Violets
  • Dancing for Degas
  • Sunflowers
  • Life Studies: Stories
  • Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper
  • The Painted Kiss
  • I Am Madame X
  • The Private Lives of the Impressionists
  • The Miracles of Prato
  • The Last Van Gogh
  • Cézanne's Quarry
  • The Creation of Eve
  • Strapless
  • The Ruby Ring
  • The Sidewalk Artist
  • The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice
  • Vivaldi's Virgins
I was born in NYC where I still live and fell in love with history and fiction when very young. For years I was a classical singer. I am the author of NICHOLAS COOKE, THE PHYSICIAN OF LONDON, THE PLAYERS, MARRYING MOZART, and CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET. I love Shakespeare, early and classical music and many things! I am married and have two sons....and I have many books in progress!"
More about Stephanie Cowell...

Share This Book

“Sometimes he dreamt he held her; that he would turn in bed and she would be there. But she was gone and he was old. Nearly seventy. Only cool paint met his fingers. “Ma très chère . . .” Darkness started to fall, dimming the paintings. He felt the crumpled letter in his pocket. “I loved you so,” he said. “I never would have had it turn out as it did. You were with all of us when we began, you gave us courage. These gardens at Giverny are for you but I’m old and you’re forever young and will never see them. . . .” 4 likes
“Dull late-afternoon light glittered on the hanging copper pots in the kitchen where the old painter sat with his wine, smoking cigarette, a letter angrily crumpled on the table in front of him.” 2 likes
More quotes…