Cover Image: The Painter's Girl

The Painter's Girl

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Member Reviews

Audiobook received for free through NetGalley 

I wanted to like this book and, off and on, listened to 50% of it. Unfortunately I keep “not choosing” it when listening to audiobooks and figured I’d submit a review for how far I’ve read so far. 

It’s written well and the narrator is okay. I just somehow can’t get into the book.
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A truly delightful book to read. There are many interesting characters, and the setting is amazing.  I love that real life figures are interwoven with the fictional ones. I can't wait to read another book by Helen Fripp.
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I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing author Helen Fripp about her novel "The Painter"s Girl" for the Storytime in Paris podcast on Paris Underground Radio. Here is what I said:

My guest this week is the lovely Helen Fripp whose latest novel “The Painter’s Girl” whisks us back to Paris in the 1860s. Helen is drawn to strong women who defy societal pressures and the expectations of their time. In “The Painter’s Girl,” we meet Mimi Bisset. Born in the slums of Montmartre and forced to give up the child she had out of wedlock as a teenager, Mimi could easily have become a drunk, an absinthe addict, a sex worker, or all three, like so many around her. But Mimi’s dreams are too big for her tiny corner of Paris and we’re carried along as she joins a circus, becomes a muse to the great Impressionists, is reawakened as Edouard Manet’s lover, and fights to become an artist in her own right.

In our conversation, Helen shares what sparked the idea for her striking opening scene with a zebra running through the streets of Montrmartre, what her research uncovered about the Impressionists we think we know, how setting a story in the past sets her free, what draws her to strong women - and what they may have in common - and more. Then, she treats us to a reading from “The Painter’s Girl.”

Full interview here:
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I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and didn't want it to end - the ultimate test of a well loved book. Set among the impressionist painters of nineteenth century Paris, the novel showcases a young French girl, Mimi, who is full of life and dreams of becoming an artist herself. In the first scene, she jumps onto a zebra that's gotten loose from the circus in the streets of Paris. Mimi then works for the circus herself and becomes a trapeze artist. Tragedy strikes, yet she pulls herself up and eventually becomes everything she dreamed. She befriends Renoir, Monet, Manet, and Degas, along with a colorful and well drawn cast of characters.

Highly enjoyable, terrific beach or vacation reading.
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This historical work takes place in the 1860’s in Paris.  It is mainly told through the voice of main character Mimi Bisset as she goes through life struggles.  Growing up poor in the slums with an alcoholic mother, she struggles to rise out of that life.  She has a baby out of wedlock at a young age and the father and his family end up with her daughter.   Mimi struggles to make enough money to get her daughter back.  She initially takes a job with the circus but eventually goes after her passion as a talented artist.  She is a muse and love interest for Edouard Manet.  She strives to become an artist herself and goes through many struggles as a woman in the 1800’s.  It was almost impossible for a female artist to get her work shown in those times.   This was a beautifully written bittersweet novel.
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Mimi lives a life of poverty. But with loyal friends by her side and driven by the love of her daughter, she makes it her target to climb her way out of Paris slums. Mimi takes every opportunity that comes her way to make connections, which brings her a little closer to her goal... but life is a funny thing, and our sweet little heroine meets many obstacles on her way.

This book is filled with so many famous names, Manet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir... Reading this novel felt as if I traveled in time into the 1860s. Mimi's story was despairing, but she has managed to pull thru, and just like a cat, lived thru numerous lives. Beautiful, encouraging, and simply heartwarming story. Perfect for a summer beach trip or a lazy evening on the comfy sofa with a glass of cold rose. Thank you, NetGalley for a free and advanced copy of the novel in exchange for my honest review.
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A historical fictional novel set in the 1860’s. Mimi is trying to make it out of the slums. To do better than her mother did for her.  She wants nothing more than to reclaim her child and to paint.  If she finds true love along the way so much the better, but her child and her art are her priorities.  It is a long winding hard fought road to get her life and her child back.  Betrayal by so many in her life and yet she never keeps fighting for whats right and bucking the conventional system that was in place at the time.  She was talented beyond belief and yet as a woman, unmarried and from a poor upbringing she never once chance she had to fight ten times as hard for any and everything.  A well written story of a truly impressive woman at the heart of it.
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Mimi Bisset grew up in Paris during the 1860’s. She never knew her father and her mother was an alcoholic. Mimi lived in a tenement in the slums of Monmarte. She was free spirited, hard working and capable of doing almost anything she set her mind to. Mimi always had big dreams for herself. Whatever she thought about doing she would somehow accomplish it. Rafi was her one true friend that she had known since she was a child. He was loyal and supportive no matter what. Mimi had had a daughter with a man who she thought loved her. She entrusted her daughter’s father to bring Colette up. Giving up her daughter was the hardest thing Mimi had ever done. There was not a day that went by that she did not long for her daughter. Jean Baptiste could give Colette all the advantages she deserved and all the things that Mimi could never give her. When Colette was about four years old, Jean Baptiste died and his cynical and despicable sister refused to allow Mimi to raise her own daughter. Jean Baptiste’s sister, Marie Therese, showed no love toward Colette. She treated her as a servant and threatened to sell her off if Mimi could not give Marie Therese the money she demanded for Colette.

Mimi was determined to change the course of her life. She had to earn enough money to get her daughter back. The Cirque d’Hiver had come to Paris and Mimi set her mind to learning how to perform on the high wire. Unfortunately, that did not end well for Mimi. During her time with the circus, she noticed and had conversations with Monet, Renoir and Manet. They would attend the circus and sit in the rear, each with a sketch pad in hand. Each would render drawings of the various circus acts. Mimi’s accident that occurred while she performed on the high wire ended up opening new and exciting doors for her. Mimi soon found herself in the company of the impressionist artists, Renoir, Monet, Cezanne, Degas and Manet. These impressionist artists were just beginning to gain recognition. Mimi was accepted as their Muse. She and Manet had an on again and off again affair. Mimi was a talented artist but the art world shut her out. First of all, she was a woman and women could not become talented artists. Secondly, she came from the slums. While Manet’s muse, Mimi listened and learned his techniques and she started to develop her own style. Mimi learned how to use color and shadows. She was determined to defy all odds and accepted norms. Mimi was determined to go after her dream to be an artist that was recognized and respected. How could she accomplish this? Mimi would have to shock the art world with a piece so daring yet so precise. Could Mimi make this happen?

I really enjoyed reading The Painter’s Girl by Helen Fripp. It was fast paced and I loved all the descriptions of the paintings, cafes, parties and fashion. Did I mention the cover? What a spectacular cover! The characters were colorful and insightful. I loved this time period in Paris. I felt like I was there, Mimi was my favorite character and I found myself rooting for her to get her daughter back and to find her place in the art world among all those great artists. This was a work of fiction. The Painter’s Girl was the first book I have read by Helen Fripp. I look forward to reading future books by her.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media LLC for allowing me to listen to The Painter’s Girl by Helen Fripp through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This is an engaging work of historical fiction, in which real figures mingle with those imagined by the author. The protagonist, Mimi, grew up in Montmartre, dreaming of a life better than that of a laundress. Her unexpected rescue of a zebra running through the streets gains her a job with the circus, and a series of unexpected events--both good and bad--follow. There is a lot of drama and glass ceiling-breaking in this book, and while Mimi is fictional, the very real artists and that she meets create a wonderfully vivid setting for this highly entertaining book set in 1860s Paris. The audiobook is beautifully narrated and I enjoyed it very much. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.
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I really like this book. I love how the main characters struggle to do what they love and work their way up to achieve their dreams. How sometimes life gives you lemons and you choose not to let it get you down. It talks about things that may happen in your backyard and may not even know about it or turn a blind eye to it. This is a must read!!!
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I loved everything about this it was really thought out had a great plot even greater characters and situations that seemed authentic I am buying this I loved and adored the narrator it seemed to bring the book alive very well done
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The Painter’s Girl
Helen Fripp
This tale begins with a glimpse of life in the slums of Paris in the 1860s. Our heroine Mimi Bisset grew up in the slums with a mother who is an alcoholic. Mimi holds down three jobs just to have food and shelter. The young woman is grappling with the loss of her daughter Colette. Mimi was not married when the child was born, and she was compelled to give the child up. Colette went to a wealthy family; Mimi hopes the child well have a better chance for off with the other family. She is a talented young woman painting to bring the people and the streets of Paris alive using her bedroom wall as a canvas. She is determined to make it out of the slums. She joins the circus where she learns how to do the high swings. Several men gather in the back of the circus ring to draw pictures of the circus acts. Among those men were Monet, Renoir and Manet. She is drawn into their world, the world of the French Impressionists. She falls in love with Edouard Manet; she poses for him and he teaches her the rudiments of painting. They dance the nights away and drink absinthe together. Mimi feels wildly free until she sees Colette and realizes Manet knew where she was all along. She is hurt that he had not told her. She is determined to reclaim her daughter. However, a vicious story forces Mimi back to the slums, impoverished, starved and abandoned.
Author Helen Fripp transports readers to Paris in the mid-1800s where they experience poverty in the slums, see the children as they search through trash, feel the excitement of swinging from high on the trapeze, witness the world of artists living in a haze of absinthe. As a reader we see the inequality of society at that time. The relationship between Mimi and Manet was unhealthy and yet it was motivating. Mimi had one mission in life and that was to reclaim her daughter. 
Author Helen Fripp cleverly combines actual history with historical fiction.
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What an amazing book. I thought it is was going to be like all the others with a girl from the slums having to give away her child. But it wasn’t. It had a twist to it that I loved and didn’t see coming. Highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to read her other one.
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This book was an enjoyable read that captured my attention from the start. I thought the characters were well developed and interesting. I appreciated the narrator and her ability to bring the French culture to life.
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Love, love, love this book. I was an art major in college and plus the Impressionists’ works are among my favorites. I loved “meeting” all the Impressionists in their every day lives and learning about what it was like before they became famous and appreciated. The settings in this book felt so real to me especially the circus and Paris street scenes. Paris actually felt like a character itself. 

All that is wonderful, but I also loved Mimi’s story which is what this book is really about. The battle to be who she really was in a time when women were allowed to do very little was fascinating as was her journey as a painter and mother.

I cannot say enough good things about this magical book and am ready to read more by Helen Fripp.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the audio ARC of this book.

5/5 stars
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I loved this story and its well-developed characters. Mimi was born on the wrong side of the tracks and found it hard to escalate in 1860s France.  Not wanting to end up in the laundry or brothel, she turns to the circus world and ultimately the art world. However, the world-at-large is tough for women then; they are not accepted in marriages outside their stations and certainly not welcome in the impressionist Artist salons. The story is permeated by Impressionist masters and teaches us once more how equality is fought for in every arena,  and is often hard-won. Thank you to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. Please read this book . ❤️
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The Painter’s Girl is well-written, with multi-dimensional characters and a memorable storyline. It is one of the better historical fiction works and I recommend it to readers who are drawn toward that genre. Or if you are a fan of book set in the City of Love: Paris .
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This is a review of the audiobook THE PAINTER’S DAUGHTER, by Helen Fripp and narrated by Anne-Marie Piazza. Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for this advanced copy.

Loved this story and the voice of the narrator! Being a painter myself, this story really touched me. I can only imagined what it was like for a strong and clever young woman like Mimi to grow up on the slums of Montmartre and becoming an artist in those days.

Mimi was forced to give up her daughter to a rich family as she was born out of wedlock.  Mimi’s world changed after she met the famous Édouard Manet for whom she posed and he taught her to paint. The would dance all night and drink absinthe until one day when she caught a glimpse of her daughter’s green eyes with a family that her lover Manet knew all along.

Although she’s furious with his betrayal, she’s hopeful that she will be able to get her daughter back.  But after a rumour started circulating about her, Mimi finds herself back on the streets, destitute, hungry and alone. Will she ever be able to clear her name and get her daughter back?

I hope you enjoy this lovely historical novel as much as I did.
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I loved how I was transported to France. The level of description of places, flavors and feels was outstanding. Lily was such an amazing character and I loved her story. Narration was on point!
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Thank you to the publishers, author and NetGalley for the free copy of this audio book.

This was an enjoyable read! The determination of the main character, Mimi, to improve her life and become a family again with her daughter was beautiful, and the writing was very well done. The narrator was great as well.
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