CLAUDE AND CAMILLE
You'll never look at Monet's water lilies the same way after reading Cowell's luminous biography of the artist and his muse. More than Monet's story, this is
an ode to the Impressionists and the women whose love and sacrifice inspired them. This is a complex picture of how Camille's love for Monet allowed the artist to bloom, but left her paying a high emotional price.
When Claude Monet decides to paint landscapes instead of taking over his father's business, he is disowned. He sets off for Paris dreaming
of capturing light on canvas. Camille Doncieux leaves her middle-class life, jilting her fiance for Claude. Life is difficult as the young couple join others who rebel against traditional art forms. Slowly the daily grind, financial problems, children, long absences and an affair with a patroness take their toll on the marriage and Camille's health. It is years later, when as an old man he sits in the gardens of Giverny, that Monet can see Camille's true sacrifice. (CROWN, Apr., 352 pp., $25.00)