The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse by Jessie Burton


the muse

This is the story of one piece of art in two halves. It may not start at the beginning but let’s go back to the inception. Olive is the daughter of a renowned art dealer. It’s 1936 and they are living well in rural Spain. Issac and Tersea help around the house, they know all the family’s secrets. Odelle works for the Skelton Gallery in London. The year if 1967 and a gentleman walks into her life with a lost painting that belonged to his mother. There are many parallels and many difference; two worlds connected by secrets, passion and art.

The structure of this book is flawless. As the reader, we are thrown between these two worlds and our two narrators. Slowly and steady, Jessie Burton relieves the secrets and scandals that dominate these two women’s lives. You can’t stop reading, she teases us and you are never satisfied. I imagine the answers were staring us right in the face: who painted this? What was their real identity? Are they alive? Did they survive the Spanish Civil War? Some people may be able to follow the breadcrumbs she leaves but I couldn’t, and I’m almost glad I didn’t because the ending had a bigger and better reveal and impact for me.

I fell in love with the women in this story. Both are ambitious. Olive wants to paint and Odelle wants to write, and both have struggles and obstacles in their way. Odelle has migrated to London from Trinidad. She finally lands a job that matched her intellect and she becomes fascinated by the enigmatic Marjorie Quick. Olive is a fish out of water in Spain and relies heavily on the people in her father employ, more friends than staff. She confides in them and they give back. I adored this book from beginning to end. If you loved her first book, the second does not disappoint. Again, such an original idea, I think we can expect great things from Jessie Burton.

Watch my video review here:

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