Lost, found, stolen, strayed, sold, fought over... This engrossing, beautifully crafted novel follows the fictional adventures, over a hundred years, of an early 20th-century painting and the women whose lives it touches.
It opens with bold, passionate Gwen, struggling to be an artist, leaving for Paris where she becomes Rodin's lover and paints a small, intimate picture of a quiet corner of her attic room.
Then there's Charlotte, a dreamy intellectual Edwardian girl, and Stella, Lucasta, Ailsa and finally young Gillian, who share an unspoken desire to have for themselves a tranquil golden place like that in the painting.
Quintessential Forster, this is a novel about women's lives, about what it means and what it costs to be both a woman and an artist, and an unusual, compelling look at a beautiful painting and its imagined afterlife.
Forster's style is easy and unpretentious. In a brief paragraph she can create a character we care about, a story we long to see resolved
Few authors share Margaret Forster's extraordinary ability to transform the ordinary day-to-day activities of unremarkable people into compelling fiction
A fine novel... an inspired reflection on the redemptive potential of art
The characters are fully developed and differentiated...there is harrowing emotional insight; it also contains elements of real comedy
Her historical skills are, as always, matched by her marvellous empathy... A finely crafted novel