Title: Rodin's Lover: A Novel
Author: Heather Webb
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This book was given to me by the publisher, Plume, through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
I took an art history class in my sophomore year of college, and Rodin happened to be one of the artists we studied. It wasn't much, just a few sculptures and that was it, but ever since, I've been drawn to historical fiction, especially about artists.
Rodin's Lover follows the life of Camille Claudel, the lovely artist who wants nothing more than to spend her life creating beautiful things for the world. This book really spoke to me as a person, but more than that, a woman, because it showed me the very real struggle that women still deal with today: recognition, power, and talent, and the want to be seen, not just as a woman, but as a person in general.
Camille is by all accounts a wonderful character: fiery, desirable, independent and stubborn, but at times arrogant and angry. I also really enjoyed the way the author took creative liberty with the rumors of Camille being mentally ill, and it made me sympathize with her. The relationship between Camille and Rodin, one of the best sculptors of that time, really took the spotlight for me. It was deep, volatile, as all-consuming as an addiction, and at the same time, filled with dangerous barbs.
I loved everything about this novel, except the ending--I really feel like the author could've at least had Camille and Rodin speak one final time before the novel's end. The bottom line: Meticulously researched, written with grace and tenderness, I loved Rodin's Lover, and I'm looking forward to reading more from the promising Heather Webb! Next on deck: Hidden by Donna Jo Napoli!