Hot summer days are perfect for picking up a good book to escape to another time and place, if only in one's imagination. So for today's Blue Monday, I'd like to recommend a book, GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE by Susan Vreeland.
Vreeland’s novels of historical fiction are some of my favorites, and I find I return to her work again and again. Though I read GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE years ago, it continues to captivate my thoughts.
In the winter of 1995, I traveled to DC to experience first hand the unprecedented exhibit of Vermeer’s work on view at the National Gallery of Art. The exhibit, considered by some to be the show of the century, featured 21 of the 35 paintings credited to Johannes Vermeer.
Though the painting in this story is only from the author's imagination, GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE is a poignant story of this imagined painting of the Dutch master, Johanannes Vermeer. The novel begins in a contemporary setting where the painting resides with its present owner who acquired it from his father. Questioning the circumstances of how his father came to own the painting during World War II, the son secretly keeps the painting in a locked study. He suspects that he might own an original Vermeer.
From that point, Vreeland skillfully weaves a captivating tale of the life of this painting as the novel chronologically progresses backward to the scene when Vermeer supposedly painted it. Each new chapter, set in a previous time, introduces the reader to yet another character’s story and personal circumstances with this painting. The reader gleams details of the painting through the characters as their story and relationship to this painting is revealed. The thread of connection of course is the love and passion that each character has for this particular painting.
So perhaps on this Blue Monday you just might want to acquire a copy of GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE and settle in for an enjoyable read. Those with an appreciation of art, are sure to find this a fascinating work of art related fiction.
Happy Hyacinth Blue Monday!
I hope you'll leave a comment below and let me know about a good book you are reading. Then click here to see a list of others with Blue Monday posts.