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Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,836 ratings  ·  551 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 ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Crown (first published 2010)
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Gail Try to see these documentary films on Monet: Waterlilies of Monet- The Magic of Water & Light; Painting the Modern Garden from Monet to Matisse.…moreTry to see these documentary films on Monet: Waterlilies of Monet- The Magic of Water & Light; Painting the Modern Garden from Monet to Matisse. Some are part of In the Gallery Series. For Giverny do go early and take some snacks, lunch as you will want a lot of time there and once you are in there are no in and out privileges and not a cafe inside. The site is magical. Lots of good footage on Giverny on You Tube. The store has some excellent prints you can purchase and later frame.(less)

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Alice Poon
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it

Having previously read Emile Zola’s The Masterpiece (L'Oeuvre), which gave me some idea of the Parisian art scene and the lives of aspiring impressionist painters of mid 19th century France, I found this dramatized life story of Claude Monet familiar and believable. I don’t know much about the art of painting, but Monet’s eight water lilies murals exhibited at the Musee de L’Orangerie had strummed a heartstring in me, as in many others. Cowell saw an interesting link between Monet’s love for
Feb 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: hf, arts, france, bio, 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
Apr 18, 2010 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. ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
A true-to-the- real-story fictionalization of the life of Claude Monet from age 17 - 39, the years when he met, fell in love with, and was married to Camille Doncieux, until her death of cancer. It is also an unflattering portrait of the artist as a young man, long before he reached immortal fame with his water lilies, when he struggled to feed a young family, and struggled to get the world to recognize his form of painting that went against the grain of the establishment at the time.

Mar 19, 2012 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 ...more
May 14, 2011 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
Claude and Camille

Painting and loving mingle together in Stephanie Cowell’s tale of the artist Claude Monet and his model Camille Doncieux. From the time Monet realizes that he is a painter and pursuing all that means is his primary purpose, it is a mere matter of time before he is presented with his other primary purpose – loving this compelling woman. The pages that follow this explosion of how!-and-why!-and-let’s! pull a reader through this couple's obstacle-laden love story. It is sweet and
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
Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a French painter and founder of a new movement called Impressionism derived from the title of his painting Impression, which was exhibited in 1874 in the first of the independent exhibitions mounted by Monet and his associates.

This story starts with him at the age of 17. He is failing at school and getting estranged from his father.

What makes sense to him at this point is to take an older painter’s offer of Eugene Boudin and study painting with him. Hid dream of
Apr 09, 2011 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
C.P. Lesley
Jul 28, 2016 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 ...more
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
After reading Claude & Camille - A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell, I've decided Monet was a detestable fellow and a sponge on all who knew him. There, I've said it!

Reading a fictionalised account of the life of a favourite artist is a risk and unfortunately it didn't pay off for me this time. I will continue to admire Monet's artwork but this insight into the man revealed an unlikeable artist who repeatedly made decisions that infuriated me.

Of course I knew he and his first wife Camille
May 12, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was better at the end than at the beginning. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I found the writing to be disjointed and uneven, particularly through the first half. I still cried at the times, and I learned some things. The story was tragic and shows just how flawed humans are even when they try their best to live a good life. Yet despite their mutual transgressions, Claude and Camille loved each other. It was enjoyable enough to be worth my time to finish, and it inspired me to get online ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
"Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love"- Claude Monet

Love is the cornerstone of the plot-the love between Claude and Camille, of course, but also between Claude and his family, Claude and Alice, and most movingly between Claude and the impressive assembly of what is to be known as the Impressionists: Cezanne, Bazille, Pisarro, Renoir. The way they support each other in times of distress brought tears to
Christy English
Apr 19, 2011 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
Gary Inbinder
Sep 20, 2011 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
Dianna Rostad
Jul 27, 2013 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
May 29, 2012 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
Maureen Grigsby
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel of Claude and Camille Monet. This is s story of lifelong love, between not only Monet and his wife, but also of the enduring friendships among the group of artists known as the Impressionists. This book was very educational for me!
Heather C
Mar 10, 2010 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
Char Freund
Oct 21, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a light, connect the chronological dots story when it should have been a deeply moving love story between a troubled artist and his muse. It was not quite fiction as it concerns historical figures and events and not quite autobiography as so many gaps are filled in. The post notes acknowledge that little is known about Camille. I know this genre is historical fiction and it is my problem that I can't accept it as that. Personally, I like to keep biography predominantly accurate and ...more
Aug 01, 2011 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 ...more
Sep 29, 2014 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 ...more
May 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
While I did not particularly connect with any of the characters, you could feel the tension, angst and frustration just drip off the pages throughout the whole book. I enjoyed reading about Monet's struggles as an individual, an artist and partner to Camille. And how he was successful and how he failed in all of the above. As hardly anything was written about Camille's real life, I liked that at least here she had hopes and dreams and loves and frailties.
Feb 05, 2010 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.
Arlene Hayman
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the love story, ‘Claude and Camille, the author Stephanie Cowell depicts the lives of Claude Monet and his muse Camille Doncieux in this historical fiction novel. Monet first met Camille as a young woman when he caught a glimpse of her working at her uncle’s bookshop. Thus began a relationship that would span the rest of Camille’s life, when she abandoned a wealthy lifestyle to live in abject poverty at times with her lover Monet.
This novel almost read like a ‘Who’s Who’ of famous
Deanna Shelor
A wonderful read, not just for the romance between Monet and his wife but also as it's exploration of the birth of Impressionism.
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a beautiful love story and bio of Claude Monet's early life. It is a haunting story, and makes me want to read much more about Monet and his first wife.
Stephanie Mouton
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My older daughter and I read this book prior to visiting Giverny, Monet's final home. The book, while fiction, did give a pretty good portrayal of Monet's life and relationship with his muse, Camille, as well as the Impressionist Movement, in general. I subsequently read my younger daughter's nonfiction book, Who Was Claude Monet?, on the plane only to be surprised that it was like a CliffsNotes version of this book. So, if you are into drawn out romance go with Claude and Camille, but if you ...more
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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!"
“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
“Don’t work bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere. —CAMILLE PISSARRO” 2 likes
More quotes…