Having read Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, and seeing this one on the shelves in the very expensive exclusive book stores, I was desperate. And then I remembered I had some Audible credits, and it was with delight I started listening.
The story opens with a vivid scene in which Odelle Bastien is working in a shoe store in London, trying to make a life for herself, having moved here from Trinidad. She is finding it difficult to get good work, even though she is educated and willing - it's that being a Trini and female makes it a little more difficult in 1967. She gets a job at the Skelton gallery, and makes new friends who inspire her to explore hidden talents.
We also meet Olive Schloss, daughter of a famous art dealer in 1936, lover of art, beauty and desperately craving love and to be seen - especially by her father.
The narrator is excellent, and the voices she assigns to the two protagonists are brilliant. However, Jessie Burton's writing is of such a high standard that her words need to be read to be truly appreciated.
So when my daughter wanted to read this too, I was delighted to get my hands on a physical copy and keep listening - I wanted to inhale this book and make it a part of me.
Burton, as she did in The Miniaturist, creates a world for us to disappear into. A magical historical, dangerous and anxious world. But here, unlike The Miniaturist, I connected deeply with the characters, loving them instantly, and therefore giving the book much more of my attention.
You may also enjoy The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton or The Long Song by Andrea Levy