Author du Jour: Ross King

Mad-Enchantment-HC_SmallMad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies,” by Ross King
($30.00, 404 pages)

You may ask yourself why, as the title reveals, do we need another book, or rather a biography about Claude Monet, the painter, when there have been countless renditions. But to Ross King’s credit, his differs from the others. For a start, King’s research focuses mainly on the last 15 years of the painter’s life, just before WWI, when the artist, already in his 70s, saw no reason to keep on painting. He had lost his wife and eldest son. Crippling cataracts severely impaired his craft, and he suffered from nagging anxiety and depression, further aggravated by the arrival of new artistic painting sensibilities, cubist and Dadaist.

When most of us would have tossed the brushes aside, Monet decided to start painting again but on a giant scale, producing the colossal legendary paintings from his garden of Giverny. An incredible story strewn with friendships, notably Clémenceau’s, gives this book, which reads like a detective novel, full of intrigues, a welcome denouement.

Author du Jour: M. J. Pullen

Regrets-Only_COVER-smallRegrets Only,” by M.J. Pullen (Thomas Dunne Books, p 322, $24.99)

Following her success with The Marriage Pact (2015) M.J. Pullen delivers the second installment of her engaging new series about a group of thirty-something in Atlanta. This time, the event takes place several years later. This coming of age story centers on Suzanne Hamilton, a young professional woman who has it all: the great career as an event planner, a rich social life, a trendy condo in the best neighborhood, and men forming a line outside her front door stretching to the street corner.

The story is no caricature however. Even though it starts on a high note, things quickly turn sour. After a freak accident, she loses pretty much all of it. This is when the novel kicks into high gear and finds its voice. Because the early thirty is really a time of readjustment. When coveted dreams end up in tattered, the nature of the dreams must be realigned to fresh perspectives. Often things we moan about or leave behind in grief are just step towards way better things.