May 1917 The elegant streets of Boston are thousands of miles away from the carnage of the Western Front. Yet even here, amid the clatter of horse-drawn carriages and automobiles, it is impossible to ignore the war raging across Europe. Emma Lewis Swan’s husband, Tom, has gone to France, eager to do his duty as a surgeon. Emma, a sculptor, has stayed behind, pursuing her art despite being dismissed by male critics. Through her work, she meets a blind artist named Linton Bower. Their friendship leads to scandal, and Emma flees to Paris, where she uses her talents to sculpt face masks for disfigured soldiers.
The Sculptress was an intriguing book based loosely on the life of artist Anna Coleman Ladd, who founded the Studio for Portrait Masks in Paris where she and her team created prosthetic masks for soldiers whose faces were disfigured in combat. To find out more about her life, follow this link to the Smithsonian. https://www.si.edu/spotlight/women-in-wwi/anna-coleman-ladd.
I love discovering historical tidbits like these, and although V. S. Alexander’s premise was fascinating, and his topic well researched, I shook my head over the writing. I found it trite, melodramatic, and repetitive, and the ending was predictable. On top of that, the main character was a despicable person. I hope she wasn’t like that in real life. 3 stars.
Published Date: February 2021
Genre: Historical fiction, women’s fiction
Read-alikes: A Forgotten Place by Charles Todd, A Good Woman by Danielle Steel, Life Class by Pat Barker.