MADAME PICASSO – Anne Girard
France – 1911 to 1915
Young Eva Gouel leaves her country home for the excitement of Paris, hoping to make her mark in the world. She is hired as a seamstress at the famous Moulin Rouge, where her innovative and creative talents are noted almost immediately by the jaded members of the crew. But someone else notices her, the up and coming star in the world of modern art, Pablo Picasso.
Picasso has one problem; he has a very beautiful and controlling mistress, Fernande, and their lives are greatly intertwined with the French art scene. Even though fidelity is not something either practices, Fernande jealously guards her relationship with Picasso, flaunting their long-term life together, and calling herself Madame Picasso in public. She is totally unaware for quite some time that Pablo is growing distant as his fascination with the pretty seamstress blossoms. For Eva, who calls herself Marcelle to make herself sound more Parisian, it is a heady feeling to have such a famous man's attention, but she is painfully aware that Fernande and their close friends will not be happy should Picasso stray.
Eva is soon drawn into Picasso and Fernande's circle of artists. She is in awe while rubbing shoulders with the likes of Matisse, Gertrude Stein, poet Apollinaire, and others who have flocked to Paris.
MADAME PICASSO is a beautifully composed, albeit fictional, account of the love of Picasso's life, Eva. His passion for her consumes him, but the two are completely meant for each other. Eva is a bright, forward-thinking woman of the early twentieth century. Picasso is just coming into what will be a brilliant career. What will happen once Fernande and their friends discover the truth, though?
Well rounded characters and a lovingly written story, MADAME PICASSO is a thoroughly enjoyable read.