Sunday, April 11, 2010

Searching Paris and Giverny for Claude Monet by Stephanie Cowell Giveaway! Claude and Camille

In honor of the Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event, please welcome guest author Stephanie Cowell of the hot new release Claude and Camille.
Japanese bridge
Searching Paris and Giverny for Claude Monet

I went to Paris and Giverny in 2006 with a friend in search of Claude Monet. I wanted to write a novel about him and to walk where he had walked, which is one of the best things a novelist can do.

The first place I went to was the rue de Furstenberg where a small museum is dedicated to the artist Delacroix, one of the greatest painters a generation or two before Claude. Claude and his best friend Frédéric rented a studio in one of the surrounding buildings in 1865, but when I asked the museum attendant if he knew exactly where, he shook his head. Je ne sais pas, madame! I think he really shook his head at my appalling French!

Claude lived and worked where he could in the city and often left quickly because he could not pay his rent. He lived in the Batignolles district and Pigalle, both on the right bank. He took the train from Gare St. Lazare when he went home to Le Havre to ask his father for more money. He took it also to Argenteuil where he lived for a while later. I did not see that house, long part of the Paris suburbs. I did see one of his letters for sale on the rue Napoleon, likely now worth as much as he made in his early years as an artist. And at the Musée Marmottan, I saw the small original of his portrait by a fellow student when Claude was 25; he looks like a gypsy.

Claude at 25

Then of course my friend and I took the train to Giverny which he first rented at the age of forty-three but could not afford to buy until he was fifty. Then he began his upper gardens, conscripting his often unwilling kids and step kids to help him.

You take the train from Paris and then a bus and then you walk down a country road past a church where the artist and his family are buried. As the back of the house faces the road, we did not even notice it but continued on and had to turn back. It was mid-April and we walked at first through the house, which is not large, and then out into the gardens which were in wonderful bloom. I was amazed by the size of them. Far more was to come when we walked down to the water gardens. The lilies were not in bloom yet but it was a soft, lovely day. I kept expecting to see the old artist come out and inquire who all these people were.

I wondered which of the eager young artists painting in the streets of Paris or selling their work from little open shacks in Giverny would be the next Claude Monet. There was unfortunately no time to discover them. We bought calvados from a roadside stand and returned to Paris, with me scribbling notes for the novel on a pad in my illegible handwriting, much inspired.

Thank you Stephanie and .... 

Now the giveaway! Rules
Giveaway ends 4.18.2010 at midnight. 
    * For 1 entry leave me a comment with a way to contact you.
    * For 2 entries follow my blog. If you already do, thanks, and please let me know in the comments. You're eligible for the extra entry as well.
    * For 3 entries blog or tweet this giveaway to spread the word.

Sorry Us and Canada Only

Good Luck all and be sure and check out the HFBRT site for other cool Claude and Camille posts and giveaways on member sites.  

April 11 Lucy’s Book Review at Enchanted By Josephine, Author Guest Post at Historically Obsessed, “Frederic Bazille – Medical Student by Day, Impressionist Painter by Night” at The Maiden’s Court.
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  1. What a wonderful and meaningful experience it must be to be able to walk where your muse walked! Thanks for this delightful post!

    No need to enter me as I already have a copy for review :)

  2. I'd love to be entered! I love Monet's art and would like to read this novel.

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

    + I follow your blog.

  3. I'd like to be entered and I follow your blog already. :)


  4. I'd love to be entered for this giveaway. Thank you for hosting.

    I follow your blog.


  5. Every review of this book, and every guest post from the author makes me more and more anxious to read the book. I think it's great that Ms. Crowell writes a new and different guest post for each appearance. Thanks for the giveaway.

    And I follow through Google Reader.

  6. What a great post, I love seeing where an author gets the inspiration for their next work.
    Monet was not an ugly man either =)

  7. Don't want to be entered -- just want to say I'm on reserve for this book and am looking forward to reading it. Loved your post -- this book has really gotten a lot of buzz going for it! I'm reading (and thoroughly enjoying) a book of historical fiction from a completely different era, the Great Depressions. "Dear Bob, Dear Betty: Love and Marriage During the Great Depression" is about the love letters and correspondence between the author's (Elizabeth Catherine Wright -- who's the granddaughter of Frank Lloyd Wright) parents. Very interesting to see the letters in the context of the Great Depression, and all the events going on then. Plus, let's face it, the dad is the son of FL Wright -- so in one part, he's asking her to go with him to a big annual Halloween party at Taliesin. He's so famous, so you get a real flavor of that. And both the parents survived abandonment by their fathers -- neither had known love and they struggled to show their passion. Very interesting book!

  8. Please enter me in the giveaway; I am also a follower through Google.

    stephaniefleischer889 AT gmail DOT com

  9. How cute is Monet! I would love to win a copy of this book. Please enter me in the giveaway.

    I am a follower.

  10. I would have loved to have made that trip!
    Please enter me
    thank you
    I am a follower
    I tweeted
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  11. From the author: Thanks for all your comments! Yes, he was one cute sexy guy, wasn't he? When I found that portrait of him at age 25, the writing of my novel took a leap forward! (SMILE!) - Stephanie

  12. Another great post Stephanie! Thank you!

    Yes, Monet was quite a handsome guy. I can see what Camille saw in him ;-)

    How exhilarating is must have been to walk in his shoes and wander through his home...must have been a remarkable experience!

  13. Thanks for the giveaway!!!

  14. What a wonderful trip that must have been. I did not realize his home a gardens were still maintained and available to tour. That must have helped so much in giving you a feel for the man and his life. I know when we have visited the homes of Mark Twain and Carl Sandberg they had such character and reflected the lives of those who lived and wrote there.
    I look forward to reading CLAUDE AND CAMILLE. Today I went to the library where I used to work and had them put it on their list to order (when they get money). I can think of many patrons that would enjoy it. I hope the release is going well.

    librarypat AT comcast DOT net

    I am a Follower.

  15. Please enter me-I love Giverney. It is such a beautiful and wonderful place.

    chocolate and croissants at yahoo dot com

  16. I follow

    chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

  17. cococroissants claude and camille

    chocolateandcroissants at yahoo dot com

  18. Oh please enter me in your giveaway I studied Monet in school art classes and was fascinated by him!

    +1 Hot87Tamale(at)aol(dot)com
    +2 I am an old follower of your blog
    +3 I tweeted about your post and wonderful giveaway!

    Thanks so much!

  19. I can't wait to read this! Monet is a great subject! I write a blog about art and art history - I look forward to including it.

  20. This has been on my list since I started reading all of the great reviews on the blogs. I love that time period.

    +1 follower


  21. Amazing post - I so wish that I could take a trip to those places one day. They look so beautiful and it's great to walk where they walked. No need to enter me.

  22. Great Blog and nice picture of handsome Claude :)

    Please enter me for the giveaway and I'm already a follower + 2 entries ;)

    Nunezbella at hotmail dotcom

  23. I would love to be entered!
    email bangersis(at)msn(dot)com
    I am already a follower
    I tweeted

  24. I became a blog follower. (+2)

    nancysoffice at gmail dot com

  25. I would of love to make that trip.

    nancysoffice at gmail dot com

  26. Giveaway is now closed and I am tallying up the winner right now. Good Luck all!

    Stephanie, Thank you so much for the wonderful guest post, I really enjoyed it. I was thinking about you yesterday and I just bought a copy of Marrying Mozart because I loved Claude and Camille that much. I can not wait to read it.


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