Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland

Oh my, I nearly forgot about this one. I noticed the title on the list of books I'd read lately but couldn't remember one thing about it till I found an online summary to jog my memory. And it's only been two weeks! But don't let give you pause; it is worth reading for a lot of reasons. It's full of good history, culture and story. I've got to start writing about books immediately after reading them so my aging brain doesn't lose details or, as in this case, the whole freaking plot. 

The Vermeer painting, Girl in Hyacinth Blue, is fictional, invented for this story, and the book is a series of short stories that trace the ownership of the painting backwards through generations until it at last reaches it's point of origin. Each one is a snapshot of someone's life in a particular time and place, some of which paint a more vibrant picture than others. The one I liked best was about a family in the 1700s trying to save their farm after a massive flood. Two days after the disaster, in a small boat tied to the house, they find a baby, the painting, and a note saying "Sell the painting. Feed the child." With these particularly vivid characters I felt more of an emotional connection than with some others.

In a later story we meet Vermeer himself and learn something about his painting style and artistic vision. The painting is fictional, yes, but the author does give us some idea of how he thought and what he tried to capture in his work.  

This is my third of Vreeland's novels and they've all been well-written historical novels with interesting and unique plots. Her keen eye for detail, sensitivity, and insight bring her novels to life in a way that plunks you down in the middle of them in a satisfying way. She's written one about the designer of the Tiffany lamps that sounds good, so that will be my next of hers. I'd like to read it soon, but it will be added to a long list of books all of which that I want to read soon. So many books...


Post a Comment