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Review: Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper

September 18, 2008

I wasn’t familiar with Harriet Scott Chessman until I won an autographed copy of Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper and now I find myself wondering why.  In a word, this book is delightful.  The writing is artistic and the photos of Mary Cassatt’s paintings that are featured are stunning.  This book is a fictional account of the relationship between the American Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia.  It is set in France in the late 1800’s and focuses on five paintings Mary did of Lydia during that time.  Mary and Lydia had an incredibly close bond that only sister’s can share.  Lydia was Mary’s favorite model and sometimes struggled to pose because she was battling Bright’s disease, which eventually took her life.

This book is helps you imagine what it was like in Paris in the late 1800’s.  I felt like I knew the Cassatts by the time I was through.  It is a wonderful story of family, love, strength and endurance.  I will definitely be looking for more of Harriet’s work.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 18, 2008 10:52 am

    Ooh, sounds like a good read! I’m not familiar with the author, either.

  2. September 18, 2008 11:14 am

    The cover is absolutely lovely. I hadn’t heard of Lydia Cassatt either, but I’ll definitely have to take a look at her work.

  3. September 18, 2008 12:23 pm

    I’ve actually heard some good things about this book. I’ll keep my eye out for it. Thanks for the review!

  4. September 18, 2008 1:30 pm

    Ooh, I love Cassatt! That alone makes me want to read this book, even without your glowing review!

  5. September 18, 2008 4:54 pm

    Kathy–
    Speaking of beautiful blogs, after seeing yours, which is so gorgeous, I appreciate your kind comment about ours even more–thanks again–with additional thanks for giving me a wonderful new book blog to read.

  6. September 18, 2008 5:22 pm

    I picked this up at a thrift store ages ago and haven’t read it yet. I really should – Cassatt is one of my very favorite painters – I have Breakfast in Bed hanging above my piano 🙂 Thanks for this review – you’ve inspired me to pick it up sooner rather than later 🙂

  7. September 18, 2008 5:41 pm

    Oh, this does sound delightful! I love books like this but this is the first I’ve heard of it. I’ll look for it next time I go to the library. Thanks! -Julia

  8. September 18, 2008 6:41 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I actually recently began working on an art piece based on Cassastt’s paintings of Lydia. I’ll definitely have to read the book now.

  9. September 18, 2008 11:13 pm

    Kathy, I enjoyed your review. This book is not one I would have thought I’d like based on the cover, title, etc. but your review has me interested!

  10. September 19, 2008 9:20 am

    I too love Mary Cassatt’s paintings and the book looks interesting.
    I have a weakness for the Impressionists. Maybe Cassatt is better known around here because she was sort of a local girl. She studied in Philadelphia and there are some of her paintings at the Philadelphia Museum of Art…you know, the place with the Rocky steps! Oh, yes, the Met has a few too…

  11. September 19, 2008 7:11 pm

    This book was on our library commission book club list. I am going to have to ask if it is still available so I can check it out.

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