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The Last Van Gogh

3.65  ·  Rating Details ·  1,381 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews
Summer, 1890. Van Gogh arrives at Auvers-sur-Oise, a bucolic French village that lures city artists to the country. It is here that twenty-year-old Maurguerite Gachet has grown up, attending to her father and brother ever since her mother's death. And it is here that Vincent Van Gogh will spend his last summer, under the care of Doctor Gachet - homeopathic doctor, dilettan ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Berkley (first published 2006)
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Jul 22, 2011 Chrissie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arts, kindle, sample-g

This book is NOT about Van Gogh. It is instead about the last 70 days of Van Gogh's life spent in the bucolic French village Auvers-sur-Oise under the care of Dr. Gachet, specializing in homeopathic medicine. It is about the Gachet family, the doctor and his two children, shy Marguerite and her younger brother Paul. Marguerite Gachet was painted twice by Van Gogh while living in the village. There is correspndence between Vincent and his sister Wilhemina stating that there existed
Jun 07, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
'Evocative' seams to be the adjective for The Last Van Gogh. It's the word that shows up most prominently in the blurb-reviews and a description which makes sense for a book about Van Gogh's last days, when the troubled but celebrated painter reached a level of output to be envied by any artist (writers included.) Numerous paintings, their subjects and the processes behind them, are described in flowery detail, urging the reader to get inside the mind of a genius and envision art they haven't se ...more
The last 70 days of Vincent van Gogh's life were spent in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise while he was under the care of Dr Gachet, a homeopathic physician and amateur painter. Dr Gachet's potions do not help Vincent's mental illness, and may actually aggravate the condition. His 21-year-old shy daughter, Marguerite Gachet, has lived a very sheltered life cooking, cleaning, gardening, and managing the household. When Vincent visits the Gachets, he sees Marguerite light up when she plays the piano ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Pamela rated it really liked it
Chose to read this book because it was written by Alyson Richman, who also wrote 'The Lost Wife', an amazing book about a couple separated by WWII. Although this was a quick, easy read, it didn't come close to 'The Lost Wife'. Still, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to others who want an interesting summer read.

The book tells the story of Marguerite Gachet, who lives with her father, her brother, her 'governess' (aka her dad's mistress) and the 'governess's' daughter in Auvres, a rural
Diane Luzar
Dec 08, 2013 Diane Luzar rated it it was amazing
I love Allyson Richman's stories. She can take a historical figure, one that you may not even have any interest in, and write a historical fiction story that spellbinds you! Her characters in this book were so rich and I finished reading in two days driving on the road. She did extensive research on the background of Vincent Van Gogh and the doctor that he went to for his depression. She even visited the house that the doctor lived and where Van Gogh did his paintings. It's a love story that Ric ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For as long as she can remember, Marguerite has lived in the shadow of her deceased mother. Attached to her vulnerability and quiet spirit, her father treats her as a slave than his precious daughter. Although Marguerite has claimed to be a victim, she is often disrespected and reprimanded for wanting to be independent. Knowing that her life is all planned out by her father has left her feeling bitter and perplexed. The only thing that keeps her at ease is her Father's friend, Monsieur who she c ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Taimi added it
Löysin tämän kirjan kirjakaupasta viime kesänä, melko pian sen jälkeen, kun palasin Ranskan matkaltani. Olin viettänyt aikani lähinnä Pariisissa, mutta matkaoppaan innoittamana poikkesimme Mortin kanssa myös Auversin kylään, Oise-joen rannalle, jossa Vincent Van Gogh vietti elämänsä viimeiset viikot ja jossa hän myös ampui itseään rintaan. Kuten asiaan kuuluu, Van Gogh ei kuitenkaan kuollut moneen monituiseen tuntiin ammuttuaan itseään. Itsensä ampuminen, kun tavoitteena on kuolla, tuntuu olevan ...more
Barbara Nutting
Mar 09, 2017 Barbara Nutting rated it really liked it
What a wonderful story of "what might have been" covering the last 70 days of Van Gogh's life in Auvers. Nicely written, soft and almost old-fashioned. I felt fortunate to have 2 great art books open next to me so I could have all the mentioned paintings right at my fingertips!! Really made the story come alive. If you love Van Gogh, you'll love the book. I took a selfie at the Met Next to his self portrait - I guess that's a double selfie!!
Jun 12, 2014 Pam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely enchanting. Wow. I am so incredibly sad to see this book come to an end.

Alyson Richman paints a rich canvas all her own in this absorbing novel about the final 70 days of Vincent Van Gogh's life. Though Van Gogh lead a life of mental imprisonment, this book (based on the author's own research) is surprisingly full of beauty and warmth. Reading of the relationship between Vincent and Marguerite was so moving and so full of pure passion that I actually felt my heart rate rising to meet
Jun 05, 2010 Sindhuja rated it really liked it
The Last Van Gogh is set in France in the early 1800s during the last few months of Van Gogh's life, when he was fighting his addiction to absinthe with the help of a not-so-successful, inexperienced, melancholic Dr. Gauchet. Alyson Richman does a great job of bringing out the strong and adventurous spirit in the girls in the stifling and suppressive household. The author excels at drawing the attention away from Van Gogh's depression, the Doctor's failing experiments with homeopathy, his son's ...more
Erica T
Aug 04, 2013 Erica T rated it liked it
I loved Alyson Richman's The Lost Wife so I decided to read another of her books. This one was good but not nearly as wonderful as The Lost Wife. It seems her writing has developed with time as this is her earliest published book.
I felt that the first half of the book was really slow, and I kept waiting for something to happen. Finally it got more interesting, and I enjoyed the ending. I love learning more about history as I'm reading and am now interested in learning and reading more about the
Mar 30, 2014 Allison rated it liked it
This is a fiction based on a true story, which makes it quite interesting. Marguerite Gachet is the daughter of the homeopathic doctor that treated Vincent Van Gogh in the last 70 days of his life. The author had, from historical information and interviews, weaved together a believable story of the relationship between Marguerite and Vincent. While everyone knows how Vincent Van Gogh's story ends, this story about Marguerite is quite sad. It's a fast read, and the characters aren't that well dev ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Julia rated it it was ok
I'm glad that this was not the first Alyson Richman novel that I read, because I probably wouldn't have read any more (and I've LOVED every other book by Richman). I just couldn't get into "The Last Van Gogh." The characters/characterization didn't do anything for me, the so-called love story was tepid at best, and we all know that the artist is going to commit suicide, so that's not any big surprise.
Feb 26, 2009 Ginda rated it did not like it
I found the story quite adolescent and felt it trivialized Vincent, the man and the artist. What would be more interesting to me would be to learn more about this doctor who treated Van Gogh. He is portrayed as very self-serving in this book and I would hope that this was not the case in real life.
Mar 18, 2009 Carrie rated it it was amazing
A novel about how the last few days of Vincent Van Gogh's life may have occurred. Being a HUGE Vincent fan, I loved this book. But even more, as I read this, I felt as though I were standing behind a tree watching the characters interactions in person. A lovely possibility.
Alyssa Greatbanks
Jun 13, 2011 Alyssa Greatbanks rated it it was amazing
Amazing. I could not put this book down. By far one of my favorite books now.

Anyone thinking about reading this book should definitely do it. It is well worth the time.
May 28, 2017 Elaine rated it really liked it
This is the third book I've read by Alyson Richman. I like how she develops a novel based on a few historical details she discovers in museums, newspaper clippings, etc. This was not my favorite book, but the setting and Van Gogh details I found fascinating. It helped to refer frequently to the paintings Richman describes Van Gogh creating throughout the book. Loved Richman's The Lost Wife and The Velvet Hours.
Mazouza Sha'ban
Apr 17, 2017 Mazouza Sha'ban rated it it was amazing
"Some days I'm Van Gogh's Starry Night other days I'm his suicide letters."
Jun 07, 2007 Glenn rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
In The Last Van Gogh, Alyson Richman roots us in the house of Dr. Gachet. She brings us in close to his desperate need to keep up appearances, into the isolation he craved and imposed upon his family, immediate and otherwise, and she contrasts it with other’s need for escape and expression, their simultaneous aversion to Gachet, the central figure in all the lives gathered in this book, and their need for his approval and attention. The claustrophobia and secrets of the house are tellingly contr ...more
Leah Hensler
I really enjoyed reading this book! It follows the life of Marguerite Gachet, the daughter of the doctor that takes on the challenge of treating Van Gogh in his final months alive. She lives constantly serving her brother, father and his patients, while the two other women in the house are kept upstairs and hidden from all visitors. When Van Gogh arrives he is urged by the doctor that the quickest way to recovery is through painting as much as possible, so that's what he does. Marguerite catches ...more
A historical novel about the last months of Van Gogh's life, imagining a romance between the painter and the daughter of a (historical) quack doctor who was treating him at the time.

I rarely ever stop reading a novel part-way through, but I'm sorry to say that I disliked the prose style of the author enough to do so in this case after only about five or six chapters. I just found her writing style extremely flat and unengaging. Part of the trouble is that the author is constantly spelling thing
Amanda Leigh
Aug 30, 2012 Amanda Leigh rated it really liked it
Shelves: girly, romance
Vincent Van Gogh painted over 70 pictures in Auvers. Stricken by bouts of depression and mental illness, this prolific artist was sent to Auvers by his loving brother Theo in hopes to cure him of his illness. Along with the dozens of portraits, landscapes and still life's, he creates to pieces of his doctor's daughter, marguerite gathet. He died alone two days after shooting himself in an empty field having sold almost none of his work.

But what of their was more to his time in Auvers? Richman's
Sep 20, 2014 Mkb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't like this as much as I had expected and am hovering between two and three stars. It seemed like YA cake with Van Gogh icing. Not that I dislike YA. Or Van Gogh. But this particular concoction failed to do it for me. Part of it was the fact that the ending is kind of a forgone conclusion--although that is the price one pays for historical fiction based on real people so I can't fault the author for that. I did have some quibbles with the writing though. This includes some word choices--d ...more
Emily Crowell
Oct 30, 2013 Emily Crowell rated it liked it
Beautiful writing, interesting, captivating, as well as imaginative story, but WHAT AN AWFUL ENDING!!! I kept waiting for the main character, Marguerite, to grow a spine and stand up to her selfish and controlling father, but it never happened! SHE SPENT HER WHOLE LIFE IN SERVIUDE WHEN THERE WERE DOORS ALL AROUND HER TO ESCAPE!!!
Marguerite was living as a servant to her father in Auvers, France when the disturbed ,yet genius, artist Vincent Van Gogh arrives. For some reason, Marguerite is instan
Dec 02, 2008 Michelle rated it really liked it
This book is set during the last few months of van Gogh's life, when he is under treatment at Auvers from a doctor named Gachet. The book imagines the sometimes-rumored affair between van Gogh and Marguerite Gachet, the daughter of Dr. Gachet, of whom van Gogh painted at least two portraits during his last days and is thought to have begun a third portrait.

The book was extremely fast-paced and very much painted a believable and sympathetic picture of the life of a young girl shut away in her fat
Sep 21, 2014 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is 1890 and 20 something Marguerite Gachet lives in a small French village with her father and brother. Marguerite lives a very quiet life and her father basically makes her a servant to his needs and a prisoner of the home. But when artist Vincent Van Gogh, her father's latest patient arrives, Margaret is swept into a young liaison that will forever change both of their lives.

I love Alyson Richman's books as witnessed by my previous reviews of The Rhythm of Memory and The Lost Wife While th
Jun 01, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it
This is a story that mixes historical fact with rumor and supposition, woven into story form. Vincent Van Gogh spent his last summer at Auvers, in the French countryside under the care of Dr. Paul Gachet. They became close in the process, and Vincent spent a lot of time at the Gachet home, where he met Marguerite, Dr. Gachet's 21 year-old daughter. This book is about her, and her romance with Vincent, which is rumored, at least to have really happened, and is even thought to have been a contribu ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Daniela rated it it was ok
I like the story of the novel but I did not like Marguerite, the main character. I found her to be naive and sheltered which I suppose it's the point of how she was seduced by a very unstable Van Gogh. I found my eyes rolling to the back of my head every time she fantasizes about her future life as Mrs. Van Gogh and it's hard to understand the author chooses to describe Marguerite's voice as that of an artist, she sees everything through the eyes of a trained painter with vast knowledge of color ...more
Ruth Ann
Apr 03, 2015 Ruth Ann rated it really liked it
A historical novel told through the eyes of Dr. Paul Gachet's twenty-year-old daughter Marguerite Gachet during Van Gogh's last days in Auvers-sur-Oise, France. Although there are mysteries surrounding the final days in Auvers and Dr. Gachet's household, I believe Alyson Richman draws not only a wonderful portrait of Van Gogh as an extremely sensitive genius, but also of the restraints imposed by fathers and brothers that many women endured during the nineteenth century. Marguerite's story is ev ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Rljulie rated it it was ok
This is my era and my subject, my most familiar characters from history...and I cannot get over how insipid this version of Marguerite Gachet is. House-bound for no particular reason (yet still supposedly we're meant to believe she's hiding a passionate soul, beneath), fretting over chicken and ribbons and her brother's piano playing. I'm not sure how long I'm going to last, with this one.

"Twenty-one years of age, and for the first time since I was a young child, I wanted to dance in the garden
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Alyson Richman is the author of six historical novels including "The Mask Carver's Son," "The Rhythm of Memory (formerly published as Swedish Tango)," The Last Van Gogh," and three international bestsellers: "The Lost Wife.," "The Garden of Letters" and "The Velvet Hours." Her books have been translated into 20 languages. She loves to travel, cook, ride her yellow bicycle, and do ballet. She curre ...more
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