Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Blog Tour Stop and Review - Black Venus by James MacManus

About The Book:

Published by: St. Martin’s Press
Published on: May 7, 2013
Page Count: 368
Genre: Historical Fiction

A vivid novel of Charles Baudelaire and his lover Jeanne Duval, the Haitian cabaret singer who inspired his most famous and controversial poems, set in nineteenth-century Paris.

For readers who have been drawn to The Paris Wife, Black Venus captures the artistic scene in the great French city decades earlier, when the likes of Dumas and Balzac argued literature in the cafes of the Left Bank. Among the bohemians, the young Charles Baudelaire stood out—dressed impeccably thanks to an inheritance that was quickly vanishing. Still at work on the poems that he hoped would make his name, he spent his nights enjoying the alcohol, opium, and women who filled the seedy streets of the city.

One woman would catch his eye—a beautiful Haitian cabaret singer named Jeanne Duval. Their lives would remain forever intertwined thereafter, and their romance would inspire his most infamous poems—leading to the banning of his masterwork, Les Fleurs du Mal, and a scandalous public trial for obscenity.

James MacManus’s Black Venus re-creates the classic Parisian literary world in vivid detail, complete with not just an affecting portrait of the famous poet but also his often misunderstood, much-maligned muse.

My Thoughts:

19th century Paris was a hotbed of creativity for both artists and writers alike. In his novel, "Black Venus," author James MacManus takes his readers deep into the heart of the era that saw the likes of Manet, Balzac, Dumas, Hugo rise to the top of their professions, while their contemporary, the poet Charles Baudelaire, struggled with infamy and scandal as he embarked on a tumultuous affair with the mysterious Haitian cabaret singer Jeanne Duval.

Before reading this novel, I was unfamiliar with the work of Baudelaire. I'd heard of him, but had never read any of his poetry. After absorbing the fascinating story of his rise and fall through the words of MacManus, I feel that I better understand the workings of the mind of the tormented poet. MacManus' characters are mesmerizing and he captures the chaotic atmosphere of Paris beautifully in this tale. Overall, it was an intriguing read.

I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction.

About The Author:

JAMES MACMANUS is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of Ocean Devil, which was made into a film starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, and The Language of the Sea. He lives in London.

My thanks to Media Muscle and BookTrib.com for including me on this tour and for providing the review copy of the book.  I was not compensated for my opinion.


Beth Hoffman said...

Lately I've been enjoying some historical fiction, and this one sounds terrific!

Sharon Galligar Chance said...

I was a little leary of it at first, but it was a really intriguing story! Very well written!