FICTION

The Sculptress

Kensington. Feb. 2021. 400p. ISBN 9781496720405. pap. $15.95. F
COPY ISBN
In 1917 Boston, Emma Swan’s husband, Tom, a surgeon, leaves for France, to help with the war effort. Emma stays behind, pursuing her sculpting career. Through her work, she meets Linton Bower, a blind artist, with whom she develops a close bond. This friendship leads to scandal, prompting Emma to join Tom in France, where she uses her talents to sculpt face masks for disfigured soldiers. Meanwhile the horrors of war, guilt, and mutual secrets take a heavy toll on the Swans’ marriage. Alexander (The Taster) is not afraid to tackle uncomfortable topics. He weaves realistic, gritty passages in with emotional human frailties and the complexities of love and passion.
VERDICT The author’s obvious fascination with--and homage to--Gustave Flaubert’s melodramatic style falls a bit flat. Despite that, the novel is thoroughly researched, drawing readers fully into the saga with descriptive, often graphic details and strong characterizations. For fans of World War I historical fiction.

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