The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.
On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery.
The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences . . .
The Muse is an astonishing novel. Relish its engrossing plotting, untangling secrets and its cast of incredible female characters. With passion, fortitude, fragility, and determination, the women within these pages are pushing against the moulds that their societies have made for them. It is a breathtaking achievement by a supremely talented author who has used a richly colourful palette of war, love, growth, deceit, trust, exhilaration, friendship and a thousand shades of life in-between to produce a book that is as arresting of your senses as any exceptional work of art. I cannot recommend it highly enough.