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The Last Van Gogh

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,829 ratings  ·  225 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 Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,829 ratings  ·  225 reviews

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Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Scan the blurb-reviews on the back of The Last Van Gogh and you'll find one word appear most prominent; 'Evocative.' It's a descriptor which makes sense for a book about the famous painter's last days, when he reached a level of output to be envied by any artist. And Alyson Richman doesn't disappoint in describing these works, their subjects, the materials used and the processes involved. She urges the reader to get inside the mind of a genius and envision art they've never seen.

And while I enjo
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, sample-g, arts

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
Connie G
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 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 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 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
Katz Nancy from NJ

Considering how much I love other books by Alison Richman this book, her first pales in comparison. Detailing Van Gogh's seventy days living in Auvers and then killing himself, something was missing. I didn't find any of the characters likable least of all Dr. Gadget who treated Van Gogh at the end of his life. I was also seriously bored and overall found this reading experience disappointing.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED it! The story was in the voice of a young girl who lived during Van Gogh's time. The author did an excellent job - I "saw" the many colors of the landscape, Van Gogh's paintings, and all the characters feelings! Wonderful! ...more
Michal Beny
Jun 20, 2020 rated it liked it
I love Alyson Richman books but this book was a little too heavy for me. I felt very sorry for the main character and come to think of her quite a bit.
I prefer to read books about strong, non-submissive women, but I learned a little about Van Gogh's world in his last days and it was fascinating
Barbara Nutting
Mar 09, 2017 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!! ...more
Tracy Valentine
Feb 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book.

The premise might seem improbable at first, but once you start reading, it's not. I remember how impressionable I was at 21, and given the fact that Vincent Van Gogh was, by all accounts, a charming, urbane man when he wasn't in the throes of mental illness (as well as being a handsome man), I can certainly see how a young girl could fall for him.

The descriptions of Van Gogh's art in the book are breathtaking -- even those who aren't familiar with more than his most famous wor
Jun 12, 2014 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 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 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 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 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. ...more
Feb 26, 2009 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 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Alyssa Greatbanks
Jun 13, 2011 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.
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another historical novel involving a famous painter that I truly enjoyed ... I was on vacation when reading it and it as a perfect book for the time and setting. Two years ago I visited the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and although he had not been one of my favorite artists, I loved seeing his work up close and personal, so to speak. This title caught my attention and held it throughout the read. The story details the final 70 days of Vincent's life seen through the eyes and heart of a young 20 ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a historical fiction - one of my favorite genres, especially when there's food involved - about the relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and Marguerite Gachet, daughter of Van Gogh's doctor in Auvers-sur-Oise. We read the tale from Marguerite's point of view.

Set in France, in the early 1800s, the majority of the book takes place during the last few months of Van Gogh's life. Van Gogh was in Auvers-sur-Oise, battling his addiction to absinthe and painting prolifically while under the car
Julie Manwarren
I was so impressed with the last Alyson Richman book I read that I quickly picked up another. Sadly, this was poorly written, I was almost certain it couldnt have been by the same author. The story line was a bit predictable, but that wasnt my primary grievance. The writing itself was in dire need of better editing. It seems the author forgot the "show don't tell" rule and the work had errors that could have been easily fixed. I believe the issues lie heavily with the editing because the charact ...more
The Last Van Gogh followed the last seventy days of Vincent Gogh's life, which were spent in the little French village, Auvers-sur-Oise. Although the first half was quite slow, I appreciated how the author took historical figures and created believable characters, and the book gave a good insight into a woman's lot in life in the 1800s. However, I would have liked a deeper insight into Van Gogh's earlier life. I also found the romance between Vincent and Marguerite Gachet fairly insipid and I th ...more
May 28, 2017 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. ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars, actually. I most enjoyed the descriptions of Van Gogh’s paintings, the countryside, and the characters. Richman is a skilled user of vivid language. I felt for Marguerite and Louise-Josephine, the two central female characters living under Dr. Gachet’s oppressive running of a household. The plot wasn’t super compelling to me, but as a fan of Van Gogh’s art, I enjoyed the exploration of the mysteries surrounding his last couple of months.
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
During the final months before Van Gogh died, he was in the care of a Doctor Gachet who treated other artists like Cezanne and Pissarros. This doctor led a very unusual life and so did the people living in his house. Richman has tried to imagine the inspiration for his final painting, one of over seventy he painted in the seventy days he was in the village of Auvers-sur-Oise. The story is told very much from a feminine point of view of a woman's life at the end of the nineteenth century. ...more
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
Lots of research done for this book but in the end the romance between Marguerite and Vincent is speculation. And the romance part of the book is what fell flat. The author tried to make it a book about their relationship but a better book would have focused on either Vincent or the dysfunctional family. What an unhappy mess they all were yet surrounded by the genius of VanGogh.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it liked it
I must admit that I did not care for this book at first. But the last two-thirds of it was enjoyable. I had no idea how some people lived in 1890. And I knew nothing about Vincent other than he was a famous artist.
This was a very well written work of historical fiction. Poor Maugerite!
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Love the idea of this book, but the writing style irritated me. Just didn't really bring the story alive for me, plus irritated by a few Amercanisms, which are fine in a novel set in America, but are distracting in an historical novel set in France. ...more
Allison Armstrong
It was good. I liked reading the bit at the end that Alyson included about her research and what she based the book on. Van Gogh is my favorite and it was a bit odd to see him interacting with Marguerite.
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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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