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Girl in the Afternoon: A Novel of Paris

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  640 ratings  ·  105 reviews
Born into a wealthy Parisian family at the center of Belle Epoque society, 18-year-old Aimée Savaray dreams of becoming a respected painter in the male-dominated art world; and secretly, she also dreams of being loved by Henri, the boy her parents took in as a child and raised alongside her.

But when Henri inexplicably disappears, in the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, th
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
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Average rating 3.51  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Give me a beautiful cover, a historical fiction (with a mystery), and a lovely setting and I'm yours forever! Well, perhaps not, I do want a story as well that totally enthrall me and leave me with a bookish hangover and heartache. Then, we're talking!

Girl in the Afternoon couldn't really please me in the story aspect. I did enjoy reading the book. However, I felt that something was missing from the book, and I'm quite sure that the characters are to blame for it, at least for me. I just couldn
May 17, 2016 rated it liked it
It was as if this book was written by 2 very different authors....The most engaging of the two authors having written the first 5 or so pages and the last 70% of the that is the majority of the writing. The first few pages packed a punch and the ending was rather brilliant, a change from third-person writing to first-person, and almost like coming around a full circle. The writing of these parts moved forward, took the reader through an engaging saga, sweeping the reader along as it u ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Girl in the Afternoon" is the story of Aimee and Henri, two artists who are interlinked by their families. Both of them dream of being artists in the Belle Epoque time period set in Paris. Their family secrets threaten to unravel their relationship and everything they think they know is turned on its head. Add an appearance by Edouard Manet as Aimee's tutor who has designs on her and you have a twisting historical fiction filled with romance and secrets.

I am such a sucker for any book that has
Heather Hilary
Apr 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
*NO SPOILERS here:) Girl in the Afternoon is a vivid imagining of one family's life in mid 1800's Paris. Burdick knows her material inside and out, and the novel is rich with detail. Well-realized characters and clever pacing make this a must-read for anyone interested in historical mystery fiction, particularly those interested in Manet and the Paris salons.
Shannon Tate
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was so beautifully written and entirely captivating. I am a hard sell on most fiction and find it impossible to finish reading a book if I'm not hooked by the first chapter. I could not put this book down for a second. Each and every word seemed to have been chosen so thoughtfully, the descriptions and details tugged at me....left me feeling that I wish I could string a sentence together so beautifully. The characters were gorgeously human and imperfect, endearing and fascinating. Thei ...more
Kelsi H
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Please check out all of my reviews at!

I just can't resist a historical novel that features artists, especially the Impressionist Eduard Manet. The story was interesting and mostly well-written - but I did find the characters oddly one-dimensional. Because they never came to life for me, I found it difficult to connect and really care about their lives. It is still worth a read, and I didn't want to put it down until I found out what happened to them in the end.
May 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Girl in the Afternoon is a beautiful and masterfully crafted novel that captures life in late-19th century Paris. I loved reading every moment. Through the richness of an exciting and heart-wrenching love story, Burdick smartly weaves together the dynamic of family, love and Paris through war and the Belle Epoque. A true accomplishment.
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Exceptionally fine work , joyful memories floting trough my mind ,remembering reading Elliott, Hugo, Dickens !!! Congratulations ! Hopefully praying you will write some more like this, for everyone dilight.
Thanks Laszlo
nikkia neil
Thanks St. Martin's Press and netgalley for this ARC.

Pain, art, love and creation all all entwined in this lovely novel
Jun 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What I love most about Girl in the Afternoon (or GITA, as they call it in the industry) are Burdick’s impossible-to-forget characters. Even after finishing the last delicious page, I still have conversations in my head with the strongest-backbone-in-the-family grandmother, and the artist’s model whose heartfelt emotional intelligence drew her into a family far above her social position as a member of the working class poor.

And then, there’s Burdick’s twisty-turning plot that keeps slipping arou
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
I just can't resist a historical novel that features artists, especially an Impressionist. However Manet only has a small cameo in this book. The story was interesting and mostly well-written - but I did find the characters oddly one-dimensional. Because they never came to life for me, I found it difficult to connect and really care about their lives. It is still worth a read, and I didn't want to put it down until I found out what happened to them in the end. All through the book, the character ...more
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend Serena Burdick’s novel, Girl in the Afternoon. This thoughtful and elegantly written work of fiction engaged me from the first moment, carrying me through to story’s end. We are pulled into the struggle of each member of the Savaray family to find their way with each other in the ebbing war years of France’s Belle Epoch. Waylaid by the on-going loss of young children, each well-developed character plays out this grief and longing in their own unique ways. Burdick skillfully re ...more
Cathy Beyers
Jul 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A sad story beautifully told. The writer is very skilled at creating mood and atmosphere. From the very beginning the story breathes the sadness of impossible love. The historic setting is detailed and even the readers who know a lot about about impressionism can appreciate the descriptions of the Paris of the nineteenth century and the impressionist circles. I enjoyed this book and the ending does not disappoint, though it is a bit predictable.
Jenny Q
Feb 29, 2016 marked it as to-check-out
Shelves: review-copy
Rhonda Lomazow
Jun 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lovely novel Paris ,artists ,family drama a story that sweeps you away.For lovers of historical fiction this ones for you,
Joanna Park
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
The Savaray's lives change forever when Henri comes to live with them under mysterious circumstances. Desperate for a son, the family dotes on him and he quickly becomes part of their lives. Henri becomes friends with the family's daughter, Aimee, and the two of them are constant companions throughout their childhood. As they grow older this friendship turns to love but then Henri suddenly disappears. Henri's leaving changes the Savaray's lives and soon hidden truths are being revealed and decis ...more
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Girl in the Afternoon' is a historical fiction set in Paris and England in the 1870's during the impressionist movement and revolves around a well off family, their secrets and ensuing scandals. The title of the book is based on a painting that proved pivotal to the story. The main focus is on the daughter, Aimee, attempting to be her own person but often conflicted with outside circumstances. Overall, this was a good, but a somewhat predictable mystery.

The writing is at times poetic and the ch
Nicole Kelleher
Jul 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: debut-authors
Paris during the Belle Époque, the world of Manet and the Impressionists, these are some of my favorite things. Serena Burdick’s description of living in a city under siege and describing the absolute ennui of being confined to your home, thus setting the stage for growing love and ensuing betrayal was beautifully written. I even searched images of Manet’s works using “jeune fille” in my surfing, hoping to find Burdick’s inspiration (à la Girl with a Pearl Earring). How lovely it would have been ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a poignant, compelling novel! This was a wonderful debut novel which takes place
during the Belle Epoque age. Aimee, the protagonist, has a brief relationship with Edouard
Manet, but her main connection is with Henri Aubrey, a fellow artist who comes to live
with her family. The plot contains a great many twists and turns, surprises, and is a mystery
in itself. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it highly.
Nancy Robbins
May 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am not a writer, and I am having a hard time describing how I much I love this book. I guess I will leave it at this:

I can actually *smell* the paints being used in certain scenes.
Laura Lee
Apr 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. I really enjoyed it. Had some beautiful writing. The authors debut.
Aimee is young, quite naive but she wants to be a painter in a predominantly male dominated industry in France in the 1870s. It is not a period where such a thing would be encouraged and she is fortunate that her father does allow her some leeway in this.

Her attraction to Henri, the boy who came over from London and is brought up like a brother in the
Savaray household adds to the conflict. Henri is also deeply attached to Aimee but of a sudden he disappears and no one knows why. Fast forward a
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
In historical fiction, setting is everything. It's core standard* is to give one a peek into the day-to-day life of another era, while helping the modern reader understand the choices of a cultural standard faded almost completely from view.

Girl in The Afternoon does well in this regard. The history never impedes the plot, but the plot never breaks the immersion of the period. Burdick makes a choice to bring a worldwide known historical figure into her novel, and handles it with a delicate touc
Mark Sullivan
Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Girl in the Afternoon is a very provocative read. Enjoyable is not the right word, and I disagree with whoever said that it should be reserved for the beach. The opposite is true. It is extremely complex and needs to be taken slowly. Ms. Burdick is obviously a highly skilled writer. Her character development is formidable, and her word-craft impressive. The reason I give it four, rather than five, stars relates to the vague resolutions. I use the plural intentionally as there are multiple crises ...more
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was such a beautiful portrayal of how a perfect family can be so utterly horrible behind closed doors. Without spoiling anything, this is a story about a well to do French family that self destructs in such tragic ways there is no going back for them. The beginning is so hopeful but falls apart. The ending is so destroyed but comes together back to being hopeful again. It was a quick read but so human with family dynamics anyone can relate to.
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book free from Goodreads Giveaways.

I wasn't so sure abut this story in the beginning, but the more I read I saw how well the author wove her story. It was a very human story about a family dealing with difficult circumstances. I liked how the author was able to develop this story around this family and making it definitely believable.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is really addictive! The writing is fantastic and it pulls you into a different world straight from the beginning. The omniscient point of view is extremely effective and well done, and the tone feels effortless and natural.

Normally, I check the ending to make sure I like it before I continue reading. But the suspense in this was so delicious that I just couldn't do it.
Esther  Smith
Aug 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book ~ highly recommend
Colleen Kachmann
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The only problem with this book is that once you pick it up you can't put it down. Phenomenally intense page turner . . .
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book! One of my favorites by far, heart wrenching and amazing all at the same time!
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Reading Group Gold: Girl in the Afternoon Serena Burdick Discussion Questions 11 19 Jul 11, 2016 11:39AM  

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Serena Burdick is the author of the novels GIRL IN THE AFTERNOON (St. Martin’s Press, 2016) and THE GIRLS WITH NO NAMES, forthcoming from Park Row Books in January 2020. She is the 2017 International Book Award Winner for Historical Fiction. She holds an Associates of Arts degree from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in theater and a Bachelors of Arts from Brooklyn College in English literatu ...more

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