Title: Black Venus
Author: James MacManus
Publisher: Duckworth Overlook originally Gerald Duckworth & Co.
Publication Date: February 27th 2014
Category: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought it from a closing book store
Rating: 3/5 stars
Source of Featured Image: goodreads.com
An intriguing story about love in Paris between a poet and cabaret singer but it’s not what you think.
‘Black Venus’ is a novel about a nineteenth century love affair between Charles Baudelaire, the scandalous poet and Jeanne Duval as the muse who captured his heart. It is however not your traditional love story where boy meets girl, they fall in love and live happily ever after. It is instead a book about how two different people cope within their relationship and the types of troubles caused because of it.
Throughout the novel, we follow Duval and Baudelaire through their constant battles with the community and with each other. Duval tries to make a living for herself through Baudelaire as he tries to build a positive reputation as a poet. Using each other as a muse for each owns’ benefits, we see how they develop over time into their later years.
It is interesting how James MacManus represents their lives and growth within his novel. The way he clashes the personality of Baudelaire with Duval is quite seamless. And by the end of the novel, we still don’t quite understand their relationship but only what each of them has done for the other. I also quite enjoyed reading about Paris life around them, it definitely gave more perspective into the community of that time and the couple’s life goals. With the main characters, Baudelaire & Duval as historical figures within his novel, they provided great background and depth to the story.
For those who love Paris or want to know more about what life could have been like, I recommend this book to you. If you like reading about love, its challenges and how a poet and cabaret singer can inspire each other during tough times, then this book is for you.
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Next Book I’m reviewing: The Devil Delivered and Other Tales by Steven Erikson