Stolen Beauty

You know how there are some book covers that are just gorgeous? And you want to read the book because you want to possess the book just because it’s pretty?

That’s how my lust for Laurie Lico Albanese’s Stolen Beauty started. I mean, look at this book! In person, it’s even better. That gold shine!

stolen beauty

This was one of two books I received for Christmas (what even is my family?) and I read it pretty much right away.

It’s the story of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the beautiful young Jewish woman who became something of a muse to Gustav Klimt. She was the inspiration for his Judith and later sat for a portrait. Stolen Beauty tells the story of Adele as she was, brilliant, a patroness of the arts in Vienna, before she died suddenly in 1925. She wanted the Klimt portrait to be left to Vienna, so that all people could enjoy the piece.

But when the Nazis took over Austria in 1938, Adele’s surviving husband Ferdinand fled, leaving much of his wealth behind. Including the portrait. It is up to Adele’s niece Maria, to try and regain her family’s heritage, to restore the painting to Vienna as her aunt had wished.

Alternating between Adele and Maria’s experiences, decades apart, Stolen Beauty tells the story behind one of the most famous paintings in the world.

This book does an incredible job of bringing Adele to life, fully realized as a young woman who wanted so much to be a part of the intellectual circles of Vienna. She loved her city, she wanted to make a difference to artists and helped to establish a gallery so that all people, no matter their station in life, could enjoy it.

I loved getting to know the woman in the painting – I’d watched the Helen Mirren movie, Woman in Gold but that one is more about the battle of Maria to get the painting back for her family. Adele was this glamorous shadowy figure in that movie. Stolen Beauty brought both sides together for me. I also appreciated that the Maria sections of the book kind of blew threw WWII. Although a pivotal part of the history of these two women, it wasn’t the focus and it easily could have been.

For those of you who are looking for a different kind of historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this one.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Stolen Beauty

  1. Gosh my iPad autocorrect did a doozy there. That was supposed to say “interesting.” Sometimes when I delete it doesn’t show up on my iPad and then autocorrect makes up an interesting no word that I can’t actually see until I post the comment.

  2. Novels based on paintings is its own mini genre, eh? It’s been many years since I read Girl with the Pearl Earring, but I’m sure there are others. This sounds good!

  3. This sounds as gorgeous as the cover! I like the idea of telling the stories behind the muses for paintings. Even if they have to make it up in some cases!

  4. I liked the Helen Mirren movie, so adding this to TBR. I also love fiction about the story behind the story.

    As for loving a book for its cover before you know what’s inside? Cover whore. I am one and you might be too. Let’s own it!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s