I really appreciate a book that can intrigue me from page 1. That is so delicious! Other books are like eating dry bread; they seem bland and unsatisfying and I don't know why I continue reading. I'm hungry for something sweet, something to captivate me, entertain me, delight me, right away. So Susan Vreeland almost lost me as she painstakingly assembled her cast of characters for Luncheon of the Boating Party. Vreeland's main character, Auguste Renoir, is part of the Impressionist Art Movement in late 19th century France, and Vreeland's book is about the inspiration for and creation of one of Renoir's most famous works.   

There's a lot that goes into creating a masterpiece of art, just as there is a lot that goes into preparing a fancy dinner or a rich story. Based on historical research, Vreeland serves course after course, exploring the culture, the art scene, the food, the sport of boating, the theater and other topics, while simultaneously revealing the struggles and thought processes of a revolutionary artist and his models. If you are patient, Vreeland will tell you a savory story brimming with spirit, courage, and passion. She will also give you a new appreciation for Impressionist art. But you have to be willing to eat a little dry bread before dessert. 

Luncheon of the Boating Party is the August Selection for the Atascocita Reads book club.

Image courtesy of Nrico