Monday 30 January 2023

๐Ÿ“– Book Review ~ Mrs Van Gogh by Caroline Cauchi


One More Chapter
30 January 2023

My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book

She’s been painted out of history…until now

Who tells her story?

In 1890, Vincent Van Gogh dies penniless, unknown, a man tortured by his own mind.

Eleven years later his work is exhibited in Paris and his unparalleled talent finally recognised. The tireless efforts of one woman gave the world one of its greatest creative minds.

But twenty-eight year old Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger, Vincent’s sister-in-law and the keeper of his immense collection of paintings, sketches and letters, has, until now, been written out of history. This beautiful, moving novel finally gives this extraordinary woman a voice...

๐Ÿ“– My Review…

There is something very special about the work of Vincent Van Gogh and the world would be a poorer place without his iconic works. As we know, Van Gogh was troubled soul and didn’t, during his lifetime, sell any of his paintings, however, after Van Gogh’s death it is largely due to his sister-in-law, Johanna Van Gogh-Bonger’s persistence that Vincent’s work finally started to gain recognition.

Whilst Mrs Van Gogh is a fictional account of the life of Johanna Bonger, it is based on what little is known of her, especially her brief marriage to Vincent’s brother, Theo, who was a respected art dealer in Paris. Vincent is portrayed in vibrant detail and the more we get to know this troubled genius so we begin to appreciate the man behind the myth. The Belle Epoque of late nineteenth century Paris comes vividly to life and the author has done a great job of giving Johanna a voice as she escapes from her stultifying existence in her childhood home in Amsterdam and falls in love with a more bohemian lifestyle in Paris.

Mrs Van Gogh paints a wonderful picture and places us with the Van Gogh’s as they settle into a life filled with colour, mayhem and madness. Beautifully descriptive, what shines through is the vibrancy of the story so that it becomes perfectly possible to twirl with the dancers at Le Moulin de la Galette and sip rich red wine whilst getting to know Joanna as we read her diary entries and imagine her life glossy with art, and awash with all the sights, sounds and atmosphere of a lively city and of a strong and determined young woman caught in the middle of an extraordinary life.

Beautifully written and meticulously researched each chapter reads like a painting and I particularly enjoyed noting the arty title of each section. There is no doubt that Mrs Van Gogh is a wonderfully descriptive historical novel which entertains and informs from start to finish.

About the Author

Caroline Cauchi also writes as Caroline Smailes. Caroline worked as a lecturer for several years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in Liverpool with her husband and children.

Twitter @Caroline_S #MrsVanGogh


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