The book you have to read!

If you could see my space, (office/studio/craft room) you would know that my passions are art and writing.  These are the things that get me up in the morning. The only thing stopping me from starting the day, is my habit of reading in bed, and of course drinking copious cups of tea, hand delivered if you please. When the opportunity came to read The Painter’s Girl by Helen Fripp, I didn’t even read the blurb.  I knew a book with that title was for me.

My fascination with the Impressionists

Since I first started to paint, I have been fascinated with the Impressionists.  They changed the way the art world valued creativity and, in my opinion, made art more accessible. Take me to an art gallery and you will find me in standing in front of anything by Monet, Renoir, Degas or Manet.  I have also always admired Berthe Morisot, as she, as a woman broke through into this male dominated world.

About the book

The book starts with a daring stunt.  A young woman tames a zebra who has escaped from the circus.  As we get to know Mimi we find out that her passion is art, and her pain, the loss of her daughter, who she gave up in order to give her a better life. Mimi starts working at the circus, and we meet the artists who come every night to sketch.  Imagine me reading this and realising that these artists are my own heroes – the young impressionists. The masterful story telling from Helen Fripp weaves a fictional tale into history and pulls the reader along.  I was absolutely transfixed and only broke away from reading to consult Wikipedia about the true history of this era.  ‘I want to paint you,’ he whispers. In his high-ceilinged studio filled with golden light she takes in the canvases propped against every wall, the paints like jewels. She thinks of the pictures she longs to paint, of her lost little girl playing in sunlit gardens. Will she ever see her daughter again?

Paris, 1860s. For Mimi Bisset, survival is everything on the cobbled streets of the Paris slums. She tries to forget the pain of losing her daughter Colette: born out of wedlock and forcibly given away to a rich family. But Mimi’s world turns upside down after a chance encounter with handsome artist Édouard Manet. Boldly posing for portraits on Manet’s chaise longue, Mimi feels a wild freedom – and as Manet teaches her how to layer the vivid paints on canvas herself, a passion grows between them that breaks all the rules…

At Manet’s side, Mimi is caught up in his world. They dance all night at Paris’s new can-can clubs and drink absinthe at masked balls. But one day, strolling by the Seine, Mimi catches a glimpse of familiar green eyes… it’s Colette, with a family who Manet knew all along.

Although she’s reeling that the man she loved kept such a secret from her, Mimi is filled with hope she’ll finally get her daughter back. But when a terrible rumour begins to circulate about Mimi, the only place she has to go is back to the slums. Destitute, hungry and alone, can Mimi clear her name? Or will her heart shatter all over again when she loses her daughter for a second, final time?

Treat yourself here :

About the author

Helen Fripp says “I love delving into the past and uncovering new stories, and in my writing, the tiniest historical detail can spark an idea for a whole chapter. My female characters rail against the social constraints to which they are subject and often achieve great success, but they are of course flawed and human, like the rest of us. It’s the motivations, flaws, loves and every-day lives of my characters that I love to bring life, against sweeping historical backdrops – and I will find any excuse to take off and research a captivating location or person for my next story.


There was a huge part of me fighting against turning anything like fifty. It happens though and there is nothing we can do to fight it. Well we can’t fight the chronology of years and minutes ticking by but we can stay fabulous. I try to be fabulous, despite having a few things I am fighting against like RA, Diabetes and Pernicious Anaemia. This blog is simply about me embracing life. Food, make-up, fashion and more. My trials and tribulations. I hope you enjoy!

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