Sena Jeter Naslund's inspiring novel-within-a-novel depicts the lives of both a fictional contemporary writer and a historic painter whose works now hang in the great museums of Europe and America.
The story opens at midnight beside a beautifully illumined fountain of Venus Rising from the Sea. Kathryn Callaghan has just finished her novel about painter Élisabeth Vigée-LeBrun, a survivor of the French Revolution hated for her sympathetic portraits of Marie Antoinette. Though still haunted by the story she has written, Kathryn must leave the eighteenth-century European world she has researched and made vivid in order to return to her own life as an American in 2012.
Naslund's spellbinding new novel presents the reader with an alternate version of The Artist: a woman of age who has created for herself, against enormous odds, a fulfilling life of thoroughly realized achievement.