When Victorine Laurent joins the chorus of the grand Paris Opera ballet, she expects to become the mistress of a wealthy man; this is how young women without family survive in the decadent City of Light. Yet when the artist Degas introduces her to Edouard Manet, her life changes dramatically. She agrees to pose for him, and the result is a painting that shocks Paris. Overnight, Victorine becomes the city’s most sought after courtesan.
When she becomes the favorite of the Duke de Lyon, the power behind the shaky government of Emperor Louis-Napoléon, her continued attraction to Manet becomes dangerous for them both. And when an astonishing secret from Victorine’s past comes to light, her carefully constructed world may come crashing down around her.
Mademoiselle Victorine transports readers back to nineteenth-century Paris, a time when art, love, and commerce blended seamlessly together.
About the Author
Debra Finerman is an American writer who lives part-time in Paris. She was inspired to write this story by the plaques affixed to walls and bridges throughout Paris dedicated to the brave, often painfully young Resistance Fighters who died on the spot, shot by Nazi patrols. During research for this book, she traveled to the Imperial War Museum in London and to Resistance Museums in many regions of France. Her journeys led her to meet former members of Resistance groups. Espionage is a familiar topic to her, as her late uncle was a CIA agent for many years. Former journalist, student of Art History, Debra Finerman is also the author of Mademoiselle Victorine, published by Random House.
Mademoiselle Victorine plunges the reader into the volatile mix of art and political intrigue in 1860s Paris through the fascinating person of Victorine Laurent, whose rapid, determined rise from dancer to courtesan of kings exposes the lives and passions of her time. Mademoiselle Victorine rides the Parisian whirlwind, taking the reader so deep into the heart of that glittering and dangerous era that putting the book down will not be an option.
- Pamela Aidan, author of An Assembly Such As This
“As vivid, bold, and seductive as a Manet painting…brings to life the tinseled, tawdry art world of Second Empire Paris.
- Eleanor Herman, author of Sex with Kings: 500 Years of Adultery, Power, Rivalry, and Revenge
“Finerman cleverly weaves her touching story, populated with colorful, artistic characters, through a period in the political and artistic history of France that is rich with drama.”
¯Susanne Dunlap, author of Emilie’s Voice and Liszt’s Kiss