Monday 14 March 2022

Book Review The Flames by Sophie Haydock

When I first heard about The Flames book, my interest was instantly peaked. I had to find out more about these four women. Why were they muses, who were they and how did their stories interlink? I was delighted to get a chance to read this brilliant book and my review is as follows:

They say a painting can tell a thousand words, but what if the women shown could tell their own story? There's Adele, who is passionate, fierce, and obstinate, Gertrude, spirited, single-minded, possessive, Vally, determined, independent, proud, and Edith, quiet, conventional, loyal. Or is she? How do their stories intertwine and what was it that led to their fates?

I found the Flames a hugely engrossing read. It tells the story of four of the artist Egon Schiele's muses. Four ladies whose portraits were showcased in intricate detail, but never got to share their story. In The Flames Sophie Haydock gives them the chance to tell their stories and that they were so much more than just a muse. 

I genuinely cannot believe this is Sophie's debut. It is simply exquisite, the setting of time and place was spot on and I found myself utterly swept away. The book is told from each of the four women and each of them burnt so brightly on the page. Although little is known about the four muses, I could easily imagine that these were the women they were. They honestly could have had their own book each, I could have kept on reading and reading about each of them. What was cleverly done though was how each of their stories bled into the other. Without knowing it, they each had some impact on each other and the intriguing interlude between each of their stories helped to bring it all together.

Before reading about them, I had never heard anything about Egon Schiele or about art of the early 1900's, but this fascinated me! As soon as I finished reading, I was straight away googling everything I could! I think that's part of the reason I love historical fiction so much as it teaches me things I don't expect to learn about.

The Flames was a fascinating, tension-filled, emotional debut. I will be eagerly anticipating what Sophie Haydock has in store for us next.

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