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February 24, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Painted Girls by Cathy Marie BuchananThe Painted Girls
by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan, Danny Cambell

Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Publish Date: January 10, 2013
Format: Audio, 12 hours | 15 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4 of 5

Based on the real life story of the Van Goethem sisters, Antoinette, Marie and Charlotte, The Painted Girls is a poignant account of life in the underclass in late 19th century Paris.

With the sudden death of their father and their mother sinking into absinthe addiction, the two oldest the Van Goethem sisters are forced to find work or face eviction from their apartment. Marie, the real life inspiration for the Degas sculpture Little Dancer of Fourteen Years, works as a model while training for the ballet. Antoinette, unable to make the cut with the ballet and unwilling to work at the laundry, one of the few occupations available to her, finds it easier to associate with men of questionable morles and a lead a life of sexual promiscuity.

Woven into the story is also an account of a string of murders and a trial which occurred in the city during the same time period. While the author admits there is no evidence the girls actually knew the accused murder, Emile Abadie, Antoinette’s involvement, and at times obsession, with him makes for a riveting addition to this historical novel.

The story is told in alternating chapters from the point of view of Marie and Antoinette with occasional interludes about the murders and Emile’s trial. The writing is richly detailed and the subject well-research. While at times depressing and bleak, the story is also captivating with a lush sense of the glory and gaiety of the ballet and the late 1800s Paris. Vivid and striking, the story comes to life.

The audio production, performed by Cassandra Campbell, Julia Whelan and Danny Campbell, is superb. Cassandra Campbell voices the older, experienced Antoinette while Whelan brings us the younger, less mature, Marie. Danny Campbell narrates the interludes and reads news articles from The Figaro with updates about the murders and the trial of Emile Abadie with a documentary-like style.

Overall an engaging novel sure to captivate historical fiction fans and the many who enjoy a story set in Paris.

Source: Review copy provided by Blackstone Audio through Audiobook Jukebox.
© 2013 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Mary / Feb 24 2013 8:27 am

    I have yet to listen to an audiobook with multiple narrators. Looks like this might be a good one to try!


    • Leslie / Feb 24 2013 8:32 am

      When there are two main characters I find it easier to stay focused on who is speaking when there are two narrators. I think you’d like this one in audio.


  2. Marie / Feb 24 2013 8:52 am

    Great review! I loved this book, too. I can imagine this one would be awesome to listen to. It sounds really well done.


  3. BermudaOnion / Feb 24 2013 9:04 am

    This does sound like a wonderful audio production. I really want to read this one!


  4. Leslie / Feb 24 2013 9:58 am

    The Painted Girls is today’s daily deal … $2.99 for the ebook. For those who prefer reading.


  5. harvee / Feb 24 2013 10:10 am

    I have been debating whether to get the ebook or not, now that it is only $2.99 on Kindle today. I might after reading glowing reviews on so many blogs!


  6. sagustocox / Feb 24 2013 11:27 am

    This is my only 5 star book of this year that is not poetry! LOVED this one. But I read a hard copy…I would probably prefer two different narrators for this one.


  7. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Feb 24 2013 7:55 pm

    I just saw the Kindle version was $2.99 today. I did like this author’s earlier book so plan to try this one as well.


  8. Suko / Feb 24 2013 10:11 pm

    This sounds like a book not to be missed, in either form!


  9. Jess resides here (@frellathon) / Feb 25 2013 3:04 pm

    Sounds great. I’m not a huge fan of historical novels but the couple I’ve read I enjoyed and this one sounds fascinating


  10. Louise / Mar 9 2013 2:35 am

    This sounds such a great book, right up my Paris alley.



  1. I love France #45: Book review: The Painted Girls | Words And Peace

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