Art: Plain and Fancy Fiction

Artistic License

By Katie Fford

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Single, thirtysomething Thea traded her promising career as a photographer for the quiet countryside of the English Cotswalds. But when she meets a promising, sexy Irish painter while vacationing in Provence, her creative spirit is unexpectedly reawakened.

Impressed by Rory's charm, but even more taken by his talent, Thea is determined to showcase his paintings for the art world. Resisting his sex appeal, convincing him to forgo the London art scene, and transforming an abandoned building into a cutting-edge gallery in the less-than-hip countryside all give Thea more of a challenge than she bargained for

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Girl from the South

By Joanna Trollope

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When Gillon comes back to her native Charleston, she has a young Englishman in tow. He has accompanied her on a lark, planning to take pictures. But he soon falls in love with the sights of South Carolina, with Gillon's family-and perhaps, with Gillon herself...From the acclaimed author of Marrying the Mistress, this is an unforgettable novel about feeling like a fish out of water-and finding those with whom we can breathe more easily.
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Girl in Hyacinth Blue

By Susan Vreeland

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Eight linked stories tracing the history of a painting by the 17th-century Dutch artist, Vermeer. In one, he paints his daughter to pay off debts, a second story describes the loss of the ownership papers, a third takes place on the eve of its theft by the Nazis.

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Girl with a Pearl Earring

By Tracy Chevalier

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"[This novel] narrates the creation of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's painting, Girl with a Pearl Earring. The "Girl" in Chevalier's version is 16-year-old Griet, who goes to live with the Vermeer household as a maid and becomes increasingly intimate with Vermeer as she takes on duties as a private assistant."

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Leonardo's Chair

By John DeSimone

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Victor LaBont is a world--class artist who attributes his creative ability to a chair he owns. When his home catches fire and Victor is severely burned trying to rescue the chair, he realizes the chair was stolen before the house was burned.

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Life Studies: Stories

By Susan Vreeland

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"...a deeply moving, richly textured collection of stories that explore art through the eyes of ordinary people. Rather than focusing directly on great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists like Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Modigliani, Vreeland shifts her lens to those on the periphery-—their lovers, servants, children, and neighbors-—showing their personal stories as they play out against the artists' lives. Counterbalancing these historic stories are an equal number of contemporary tales in which her characters-—a teacher, a construction worker, and an orphan-—encounter art in meaningful, sometimes surprising ways."
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Murder Is Art

By Bill Crider

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Dr. Sally Good is head of the English and Fine Arts Department at a community college on the Gulf Coast of Texas. It’s an easy-going place where the faculty is more likely to write articles for music magazines than pompous literary rags. A popular professor dies under suspicious circumstances – rumors veer between sexual hijinks and/or Satanism. Dr. Good must run the department – and find the killer.

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Orchard: A Novel

By Larry Watson

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"...the explosive story of an artist, his muse, and the staggering price they pay for their chance at immortality. Ned Weaver, an internationally acclaimed painter, is famous in Door County, Wisconsin, for his luminous work—and for his affairs with his models. His wife, Harriet, has learned to accept these dalliances in the belief that his immense talent will ultimately make up for his shortcomings as a husband.

"Sonja Skordahl, a Norwegian immigrant, came to America looking for a new life. Instead, she married Henry House, only to find herself defined, like so many other mid-twentieth-century women, by her roles as wife and mother. As circumstances and destiny land Sonja in Ned’s studio, she becomes more than his model and more than an object of desire—she becomes the most inspiring muse Ned has ever known."

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Port Mungo

By Patrick McGrath

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During their privileged, eccentric English childhood, Jack Rathbone enjoyed the unstinting adoration of his sister, Gin. So when both are art students in London, it is wrenching for her to watch him fall under the spell of Vera Savage, a flamboyant and reckless painter from Glasgow.

Jack and Vera run off to New York City within weeks of meeting, and from a bruised, bereft distance Gin follows their progress south through Miami and pre-revolutionary Havana to Port Mungo, a seedy town in the mangrove swamps of Honduras. There, in an old banana warehouse, Jack obsessively devotes himself to his canvases while Vera succumbs to a chronic restlessness that not even the birth of two daughters can subdue.

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Shenandoah Summer

By John Jaffe

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Set in Virginia's beautiful Shenandoah Valley, this bittersweet novel blends themes of art and passion to tell the story of two people learning to let go - and reaching for their heart's desire.
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