Have you read The Portrait of Geraldine Gérmaine by E.M. Epps? You should. Really.
I enjoy some fantastic chats with some of my readers—folks who have taken to heart the invitation to recommend books that might be suitable for my Flinch-Free Fantasy reads. I got a wonderfully long list from Dorkas (hi, Dorkas!), who went above and beyond the call of duty when she saw one of her favorite authors had all their work for free on Amazon and quickly emailed me to let me know.
Dorkas said this particular story “fascinates me because of its charm and because I never thought a non-French could capture the French lightness and charm (or what I THINK is the French lightness and charm). It’s a wonderful book to lift you up.”
A peek at the “Look Inside” finished convincing me to download this marvelous novelette. I danced through The Portrait of Geraldine Germaine last night and went to bed smiling.
Dorkas was right, it is charming.
Géraldine is an impoverished author writing a serialized novel for the newspaper. Epps perfectly captures the nuance of turn-of-the-century Paris with her setting and her prose. (Not that I was actually there and can give any accurate comparisons…!) Her descriptions evoke French Impressionist paintings, and Géraldine’s own observations of herself, her surroundings, and her situation are both pragmatic and witty.
“She finished up with Émilie wondering who could have sent her such a marvel. (Géraldine wondered cynically how she could have been sent such a marvel in the middle of the country, unless Dumont had had boys out in the middle of the night stripping the village’s gardens.”
“She was terribly behind. She was only at volume H of the encyclopedia and had bookmarks in four novels.”
As she poetically describes herself and her own life, Géraldine plots her novel, sharing the story and the challenges of writing. And then strange things begin to happen. It it coincidence, or is it magic?
It’s almost the turn of the century in Paris, and Géraldine Germaine is an independent woman. She rides a bicycle, scoffs at the ridiculous fashions in hats, and makes a living (barely) by writing a melodramatic weekly serial (published under a man’s name, of course). She loves her work, and life is beautiful – even if the ceiling of her attic apartment is so low she can’t sit up in bed.
Then she starts to notice certain coincidences between her life and her fictional heroine’s. Little things, at first.
But then…she meets a painter who looks just like the hero of her story.
And he wants her to be his muse….
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Have you read it yet?
What did you think? Share in the comments!