I told you I was going to finally read this book and I did. What a great story! The author actually researched every person in the painting Luncheon of the Boating Party (except 1 whose identity is debatable) and Renoir himself, and made it all into a super cool historical fiction story. The story spans the 2 months Renoir took to paint it outside. Even though there are 14 people in the painting, Renoir, the paint store owners, and art dealers stories to hear, it didn't drag.
My favorite part was a story about the girl who's leaning on her hand on the railing in the painting. She recalls starving in her house during Franco-Prussian War (before the painting). She was lucky to get horse meat rationed to her. During the painting she decides to go back to that old house and finds it's now a food store. She goes inside and has an incredible moment looking at all this food and remembering starving on the floor. It was a moving scene.
Also I did not know that Renoir and Monet were friends in real life! Whoa. What a time.
I feel like I'm learning so much about history through fiction lately. It's kinda fun! And now I've read another for my TBR Challenge. This book's been on my shelf since 12/28/08.