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The Painter's Daughters: A Novel por…
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The Painter's Daughters: A Novel (edição 2024)

por Emily Howes (Autor)

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527497,296 (4.05)2
The daughters of one of England's most famous portrait artists of the 1700s, Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are inseparable due to Molly's bouts of mental confusion, and as Peggy goes to great lengths to protect her sister's secret, she falls in love with a charming composer, which sparks the bitterest of betrayals.… (mais)
Título:The Painter's Daughters: A Novel
Autores:Emily Howes (Autor)
Informação:Simon & Schuster (2024), 352 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca

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The Painter's Daughters por Emily Howes

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Colours are described. I have read the early chapters and final chapters. The long standing care of one sister to another and later jealousy between two sisters with final reconciliation. The detail is not excellent but believable. 05:05:24
  BJMacauley | May 4, 2024 |
The Painter's Daughters is a work of biographical fiction focusing on Molly and Peggy Gainsborough (yes, daughters of Thomas Gainsborough). As with all biographical fiction, one can't assume that what one is reading is "true," but Emily Howes, the author, does a fair job in the afterword explaining which bits of the story are based on unproven claims and notes the occasional shifts she has made in dates.

The novel follows two story lines that seem disconnected, but that play off against each other well, giving the author multiple ways to explore the exploitation of young women by more powerful men in the 1700s. I read this title in two nights and sincerely enjoyed myself. Molly and Peggy's lives were difficult: Molly had increasing mental health issues as she grew up, and Peggy spent much of her life trying to "protect" Molly by hiding her illness from her family and outsiders. Both women have strengths, despite the difficulties they're wrestling with, and I appreciated Howes' exploration of what their inner lives might have been like.

If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly that set in the 1700s, this is book you should keep an eye out for.

I received a free electronic review copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley; the opinions are my own. ( )
  Sarah-Hope | Apr 11, 2024 |
Mary (Molly) and Margaret (Peggy) are the daughters of Thomas Gainsborough and Margaret Burr. Thomas paints portraits to earn money, though he loves landscapes; the family moves from the countryside to Bath when the girls are young. But Molly, from an early age, is not quite right, and Peggy takes responsibility for her, trying to control her so that she won't be sent away to Bedlam or another asylum. Despite Thomas' occasional worries, the girls seem to have no regular schooling, and though Peggy expresses an interest in painting, he doesn't take the time to teach her, though he worries about how the girls will live after he dies. A male cousin comes to be his apprentice, but Peggy takes against him. Eventually the girls are sent away to school - a six-year interlude during which they seem to thrive - but when they return to Bath, Molly's madness returns too, and Peggy despairs of ever marrying, for she refuses to leave Molly. But, unbeknownst to Peggy, Molly has fallen in love with the same musician friend of their father's that Peggy has, and Molly, pregnant, marries him.

Woven through the sisters' story is the story of Meg, who turns out to be their maternal grandmother. When the Prince of Wales comes to the tavern her father owns, they form an attachment of sorts; after he leaves, Meg discovers she's pregnant, and goes to London to find him, in order to provide for herself and the baby - whose secret royal blood remains important to her into adulthood, so that she thinks her own daughters - Molly and Peggy - are above working for a living.

See also: Maggie O'Farrell, Margot Livesey


[In his studio...] It is as if he is casting a spell, ad he must take a part of you for his magic to work. (9)

"Not everything is easy, Tom....You walk through life as though everything fixes itself."
That seems to me to be a very nice way to walk through life, but something about it scrapes at my mother for reasons I cannot understand. They are like a pair of scales, I think. When he goes up, she goes down, and it is very hard to balance them. (11)

I do not understand how grown-ups think play can be turned on and off like a tap, instead of something that curls up inside of you unbidden. (27)

It's hard to tell, sometimes, the difference between what you want and what you're supposed to want. (Meg, 44)

"Secrets are a poison. They eat you up." (Gainsborough to Peg, 98)

Behind the varnish, there is nothing much of substance. (161)

An exhilaration. A kind of freedom I have not felt for years, as if perhaps I might, after all, be able to leave the life that has been written for me. (224)

"For a man who looks for a living, you are blind." (Thicknesse to Gainsborough, 238)

...I know that something has changed...It is like a plant that begins to grow but yellows, and you can see how it might have been, but not why it has failed. You see only that it has, and that nothing you try, now, will restore it. (240)

It is as if life has been calling her, and she didn't know how to answer, but the answer is here somewhere, and...she is closer to it than she has ever been. (Meg, 243)

But to choose him means to leave you, and so I will not do it. (257)

She has played a gambling game with their lives. That has been her first act of motherhood. And now the cards are about to be revealed. (Meg, 290)

...I don't know. I don't know what to think. The scaffold is removed, and the walls won't hold. (302)

The Traveller's Guide to Regency England, Ian Mortimer ( )
  JennyArch | Mar 18, 2024 |
Daughters of a famous portrait painter, Peggy and Molly are inseparable. Molly, the eldest, occasionally suffers from mental fog and spells. Peggy, does everything she can to cover the slips and maintain normality. When they move to Bath and begin circulating in high society, Molly's slips become more frequent and harder to cover up.

This was a very interesting read. The characters were fully developed and dynamic. I felt for both sisters as they grew, fell in love, and continually fought against the asylum. The book was well paced, dynamic, and painted a complex story. Overall, highly recommended. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Mar 5, 2024 |
The household of popular British portrait painter Thomas Gainsborough held many secrets, not the least of which was older daughter Molly’s episodes of mental illness. Her sister Peggy tried to keep Molly from being sent away to Bedlam, even at the cost of her own future.

This novel plods along from one scene of sisterly devotion to another, occasionally interrupted by the spicier tale of their grandmother, an ale house girl impregnated by a prince. I wished for less modern-style family dysfunction and a more convincing eighteenth century atmosphere. Moreover, the novel could also have been at least one hundred pages shorter.

The Painters’s Daughters sounded so promising, but, alas, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend it.

I received a free electronic copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way. ( )
  akblanchard | Feb 3, 2024 |
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The daughters of one of England's most famous portrait artists of the 1700s, Peggy and Molly Gainsborough are inseparable due to Molly's bouts of mental confusion, and as Peggy goes to great lengths to protect her sister's secret, she falls in love with a charming composer, which sparks the bitterest of betrayals.

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