Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.
What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.
I received a complimentary copy of “The Artist Colony” from the publisher She Writes Press in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
NOTE: Once upon a time, I was a reviewer with SparkPress and their imprints as well as a participant in their Summer reading challenges. However, quite a few of those selections I had made in the past ended up on my backlogue of reviews; due to different adversities afflicting during those years – from my chronic migraines and other health ailments as well as my father’s recovery years from his moderate bilateral stroke in late 2016. Each year I grow closer to reading my backlogue – yet, despite falling behind on those reads, I’ve never lost my affinity of appreciation for SparkPress as a publisher or for She Writes Press. A few times since those years, I’ve had the pleasure of hosting their authors again and it isn’t something I take for granted. It is an honour and I love how they focus on stories which are inventively invigorating to be read as much as they stimulate conversation and carry forward a light for inspiring deeper readings and keenly intuitive thinkers.
On what drew my curious eye towards this novel:
Admittedly, this hasn’t been the best readerly year for me as a Historical Fiction reader. Each year, I try to chronicle my readings into the Historical past through the historical reading challenge hosted every year by Amy @ Passages to the Past (also the wicked awesome owner of HFVBTs!) – yet, this particular year, I’ve written more preview stylised posts (ie. #My25PagePreview) than I have longer reviews. Partially, it was a timing issue for me and yet, some of it seemed like 2021 was just a harder won year than 2020 which in all actuality seems a bit impressive to say considering what the former year was like to live through. Laughter aside, as soon as I learnt about the back-history about the artist cottage and how the cottage in Carmel was linked to the author – it felt like such an introspective kind of read.
I used to study art when I was younger and art has languished in my life for a few decades off/on now. I’d love to find a keenly approachable teacher to help me find my muse again when it comes to drawing as I’d love to pursue watercolours eventually – however, my main pursuit and passion of the past several years (err, a bit longer than that) has been knitting. With a new yarn destination closer than previous years, there is a strong chance I’ll be back at the needles before Autumn grips my weather patterns! And, wouldn’t that be a treasured blessing!? However, until then, I still think about traditional art mediums and how wonderful it would be to have a place to focus on art for the sake of discovering not just want moves me as an artist but what inspires me, too. It is a bit why I have always loved pursuing photography – you just have to step out your door and you’ll find inspiration. Photography was something I could maintain throughout my life and I’m blessed for it. Whereas art, in the more traditional sense backslid a bit and became out of focus.
I’m also one part of my family’s ancestral sleuths team – wherein, I inherited a love of Biographical Fiction stories from my Mum. She has a fierce passion for Non-Fiction in regards to Biographical & Autobiographical stories, but for me, I struggled to lock my mind round those selections. Until I tapped into a niche corner of Historical Fiction and found stories which are either directly derived from a person’s actual lived life OR they are an impression of that life wherein liberties were taken to fill in the missing gaps of their known histories. Both are appreciated by curious mind and I love seeing how authors tackle their subjects and how they extend the lives of the persons once lived.
On that note, I liked how The Artist Colony was first inspired by Fitzpatrick’s Great-Aunt Ada Belle and from that forethought on inspiration – came the story we’re all reading today. It is also a curious antidote of how to pierce together familiar history and enfold a relative of ours into a bit of an expansive story which can chart its own course; either following the line of history for that person or taking a new kind of trajectory which is befitting of the story as it became untangled into the pages it now lives upon. It gives me food for thought every time I see an author utilising this technique and perhaps one day, it might lay down a foundation of a story drawn out of my own living tree of ancestral roots. Until then, I chase after the historical past every which way to Sunday as it is such an intriguing place to revisit time after time, as each story is its own unique portal towards seeing History through a new pair of lens.
The Artist Colony
by Joanna FitzPatrick
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Paris, July, 1924…
Sarah, a young Modernist painter, receives a cable from California. Her estranged older sister, Ada Belle, has died under suspicious circumstances. When she arrives two weeks later at San Francisco’s Union Station, Sarah is confronted by a newspaper headline: “Inquest Verdict: Artist Commits Suicide.”
Sarah remembers the last haunting words Ada Belle said to her: “Ars longa, vita brevis: Art is long, life is short.” But Ada Belle’s work is selling, and her upcoming exhibition of portraitures would bring her even wider recognition. Why would she kill herself? Sarah’s quest to find the truth of what happened to Ada Belle leads her to join the bucolic artist colony to look for clues. As she delves into her sister’s underworld, tensions surface. The darker things get, the closer she comes to terrible danger. How far will a killer go before he kills again?
Places to find the book:
Published by She Writes Press
on 7th September, 2021
Format: Paperback ARC
Converse via: #HistFic or #HistNov or #HistoricalFiction
+ #TheArtistColony and #HFVBT
Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge