12 Days of Books – Memories of Monet

By Stephanie Cowell (W&M Regular Contributor)

I’m giving away a copy of CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET. The novel grew from my childhood; both my parents were artists. The easel, the drawing tale, the precious brushes and pens and curled tubes of oil paint were a natural part of my life. One day at the age of about thirteen my mother drew a beautiful reclining nude of me; unfortunately she hung it in the hallway so that boyfriends arriving to pick me up in the next few years got a good look at me. When I asked her to take it down, she exclaimed, “Are you ashamed of your mother’s art work?” (!)

CLAUDE & CAMILLE was not an easy book to write; it would not flow as a novel for a long time. It’s actually not easy to take a life which did not really have a plot and carve one from it. It went through many versions, including one which was greatly from the point of view of Claude’s friend Frédéric. But all my love for him was still poured into the final draft even if his scenes were curtailed to make way for more of the love story! And Camille turned out to be the most fascinating character.

About the author: Historical novelist Stephanie Cowell is the author of Nicholas Cooke, The Physician of London, The Players: a novel of the young Shakespeare, Marrying Mozart and Claude & Camille: a novel of Monet. She is the recipient of the American Book Award. Her work has been translated into nine languages. She is currently working on several projects. Her website is http://www.stephaniecowell.com


  1. Bob Emes says

    I am interested in reading this book! I’ve seen various versions of Monet works in a number of Art Museums. I remember sitting for 20 minutes while glomming a travelling Water Lilies Exhibit in Columbus, Ohio back in ’86 or ’87. It was amazingly beautiful! A wall fixture there Featured the HUGE version arranged on a curved surface. I wish I had snuck a snap or two of that…the private exhibit prohibited photography.

  2. Kimberly says

    I would love to read this book. I saw a Monet exhibit while in New Orleans and it amazed me to see his works in person.

  3. librarypat says

    All the reviews I have read about this book have been wonderful. His art was pivotal and the art world of his time an interesting place to be. It has been on my To Be Read list since it came out.
    The story of Ms. Cowell’s mother leaving the nude in the hallway leads me to believe that artists really do look at the world differently.

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