Girl in the Afternoon
Born into a wealthy Parisian family at the center of Belle Epoque society, 18-year-old Aimée Savaray dreams of becoming a respected painter in the male-dominated art world; and secretly, she also dreams of being loved by Henri, the boy her parents took in as a child and raised alongside her.
But when Henri inexplicably disappears, in the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, the Savarays’ privileged lives begin to unravel. Heartbroken, Aimée tries to find him, but Henri doesn’t want to be found―and only one member of the family knows why.
As Aimée seeks refuge in the art world, mentored by the Impressionist Édouard Manet, she unwittingly finds her way back to Henri. With so many years gone by and secrets buried, their eventual reunion unmasks the lies that once held the family together, but now threaten to tear them apart.
A rich and opulent saga, Girl in the Afternoon brings the Impressionists to life in this portrait of scandal, fortune, and unrequited love.
Praise for Girl in the Afternoon
"Heart-rending, passionate, and riddled with secrets, Girl in the Afternoon explores a society's changing attitudes toward art, womanhood and freedom, as observed by a bourgeois family trying to protect their own. A compelling, melancholy tale.” -Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet.
"This fabulous book is an embroidery of love stitched in the romantic painterly style of realism. But when you turn the embroidery over, you see the tangled chaos of betrayal in the style of the impressionistic painters. Serena Burdick bridges the two artistic styles with the skill of a real artist." -Michelle Zackheim, author of Last Train to Paris
"Out of the Gilded Age comes this glittering canvas of a novel, full of light and life, shadow and darkness, stillness and movement. A rich portrait of a world and one unconventional family's place in it. Girl in the Afternoon is a love story, a mystery, a tragedy, and a moving study of the human capacity to contain both reckless error and surprising redemption." -Carrie Brown, author of The Stargazer's Sister.
"Intriguing! With a dreamlike quality, Ms. Burdick weaves a provocative tale of family secrets, betrayal, and the renewal of self-discovery." -Heather Webb, author of Rodin's Lover
"In Girl in the Afternoon, Serena Burdick weaves together Paris, la belle Époque, art, and abundant doses of family drama in a tightly-written story that pulls the reader in and keeps the twists and turns coming until almost the last page." -Sally Christie, author of The Sisters of Versailles.
"Burdick's novel begins and ends with similar scenes separated by many years. How this occurs and merges with a young woman's quest for independence and recognition in a world dominated by men is at the heart of a tale brimming over with secrets, betrayals and redemption. Burdick keeps readers riveted, trying to unravel the maze of secrets that tear the characters' world apart. This is a melancholy, bittersweet novel that touches readers seeking emotional depth." -RT Book Review