Customer Reviews for

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Average Rating 4
( 65 )
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(39)

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(5)

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(4)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

A reviewer

If I die for any reason other than old age, it will be that I have finally decided to rid myself of a world where shallow, unintelligent people write this book off as a 'rip-off' of Tracy Chevalier's 'lovely' Girl With a Pearl Earring. For the record, I have read bo...
If I die for any reason other than old age, it will be that I have finally decided to rid myself of a world where shallow, unintelligent people write this book off as a 'rip-off' of Tracy Chevalier's 'lovely' Girl With a Pearl Earring. For the record, I have read both books. I was repulsed by the cold-heartedness of Chevalier's story and the unlikable, un-relatable characters, while I was warmed and touched by the innocence, the complexities, and the intrigue of Vreeland's. Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a unique, ingenious story. Several stories, actually. Vreeland pulls together the lives of a dozen people from opposite ends of the social, cultural, and economic spectrums. Each character is developed, has his or her own story and ghosts and past, and yet they are all connected by this one painting that is at once mysterious, charming, and beautiful. This is one of those books you think about long after you finish reading it. It is one of my favorite books, and one I recommend whole-heartedly.

posted by Anonymous on July 6, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Just ok

I cannot believe so many rated this booksohighly. Girl with a Pearl Earring is a way better book. The stories were interesting and had potential, but they were told in a confusing manner. I was wanting the author the weave or relate the stories. I was left wondering w...
I cannot believe so many rated this booksohighly. Girl with a Pearl Earring is a way better book. The stories were interesting and had potential, but they were told in a confusing manner. I was wanting the author the weave or relate the stories. I was left wondering what happened to the math professor and the painting.

posted by marymeister on May 17, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    If I die for any reason other than old age, it will be that I have finally decided to rid myself of a world where shallow, unintelligent people write this book off as a 'rip-off' of Tracy Chevalier's 'lovely' Girl With a Pearl Earring. For the record, I have read both books. I was repulsed by the cold-heartedness of Chevalier's story and the unlikable, un-relatable characters, while I was warmed and touched by the innocence, the complexities, and the intrigue of Vreeland's. Girl in Hyacinth Blue is a unique, ingenious story. Several stories, actually. Vreeland pulls together the lives of a dozen people from opposite ends of the social, cultural, and economic spectrums. Each character is developed, has his or her own story and ghosts and past, and yet they are all connected by this one painting that is at once mysterious, charming, and beautiful. This is one of those books you think about long after you finish reading it. It is one of my favorite books, and one I recommend whole-heartedly.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2001

    Beautifully crafted novel

    I picked up this book because its about a fictional Vermeer painting. My book group will be reading the Tracy Chevalier book soon, also about a Vermeer painting - Girl with a Pearl Earring. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two books. I am very impressed with the book Ms Vreeland has written. Everything about it is excellent, the premise for the story, the writing is evocative and draws the reader into each owners story. The painting is a strong and constant character throughout the book and is a silent witness to the events in the lives of its owners. I have just finished this book, I like so much I'm reading it again immediately.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2001

    As appealing as a bowl of hyacinths

    This is one of the most imaginative books I've ever read. There was nothing about it that disappointed (except it is too short). I agree with those who say it is a book that can be re-read. I had to send it to my niece since she is a fledgling artist. She read it quickly and has told me she is re-reading it in reverse. I found Girl in Hyacinth Blue to be superior to Girl With a Pearl Earring.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2000

    Fascinating and unique!!!

    I absolutely loved this book! I cannot remember reading anything like this before. I really felt like I had an understanding of how art can move people, and enjoyed the snapshots of different time periods. I came away feeling educated as well as entertained. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially folks interested in the arts. It tops my list of reads this year, and I work at a library!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2012

    I loved this book and the concept of following a piece of art th

    I loved this book and the concept of following a piece of art through it's history. It reminded me of one of my favorite movies "The Red Violin".

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" More Than Painterly Prose

    In the opening of this moving work of fiction, an undiscovered Dutch master's painting, circa 1665, is shown in secret to a professor of art. This expert is qualified to classify the portrait as a genuine and theretofore undiscovered work of Jan Vermeer but is reluctant to do so because of the shady auspices of its acquisition: it had been seized from a private home during Nazi occupation. Since the acquisition is less than honorable, ownership of the painting is both a blessing and a curse. This theme is beautifully woven throughout the story.

    The impact upon viewers of this simple portrait of a young girl is immense. Admirers are drawn to the blue of the smock she is wearing, the "pearl" of her eye, the luminescence of the light streaming through the window near her. And, although the subject is depicted engaged in the simple task of hand sewing, it is obvious that there was something else going on when this painting was being created.

    Through eight gorgeous and historically detailed chapters, author Susan Vreeland masterfully follows the ownership of the painting backward through time. As she plants and waters the seed of exploring the human ability to become attached to inanimate objects, we are given a view into the life and relationships of each successive owner.

    The challenge of the first set of characters is an awesome one: how to adequately enjoy something which is, technically, forbidden to own. Immediately, the reader's curiosity is piqued on many levels: Of course, What is the origin of this painting? But also, How does one come to terms with ownership of artistic property gained by questionable means? How can one enjoy it? And, of course, we ask ourselves again and again, if the work is authentic, was it actually done by Vermeer? And, if it was, what was the origin? Who is the unforgettable subject? And, as we may ask ourselves in the case of the famous Mona Lisa, what was the subject thinking while she was posing and just how did the composition come about?

    The challenges of each of the subsequent owners are as awesome as the professor's, and while each has a unique story, all of them are similarly enamored of the same stranger's work. The delight- and the pain- of their individual human drama connects their stories while demanding our attention to a poignancy and delicacy that is unforgettable.

    As the author draws us in tighter and tighter to the humble creation of the painting, we can fully appreciate how one person's work can impact the lives of so many.

    With wonderfully human characters, a highly engaging and thought-provoking story line, and beautiful, painterly prose, *Girl in Hyacinth Blue* is a glorious and fresh work of fiction, and a book capable of entertaining while also having a deep, marvelous emotional impact on the reader.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    To arcticstar

    Go to camp!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    Arcticstar圄

    Arcticstar pads into the forest, sniffing for any prey. He soon gets to the river, and sits down at the bank, watching for fish.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    GoldStone

    Races to res 23

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Eveningkit

    Nevermind im back. "Im BACK!" She squeaked. "Hey Freypaw, turn that frown upside down! Lets look at the good side of the fire: it warms a cold heart, thats why i like it" she mewed cheerfully.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Ice and Flame

    Ice ran out of the bush, grabbing EveningKit by the scruff. "You are gonna get your self killed!" She shouts, her voice muffled by the kit's fur. She ushes the two figures safley into the bush, not caring who they were, just wanting no ine to die tonight.<p>


    FlameWind strokes LittleKit's head with her tail, bringing him and EveningKit into the nest to keep warm. "Thank you, SpiritPool."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Littlekit

    Peers out into the rain

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    SpiritPool and Co.

    Ok...I have to go to bed. Anyways, from tommorow until next Saturday, I will not be on. Skyleaf is in charge until ArticStar gets back. Please tell him I went on vacay.) SpiritPool curled up on the ground, eyelids fluttering. Soon, she was on the verge of sleep. Then, she began to sleep. <p> StormCloud curled up, warm and cozy. He drifted off to sleep.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    deathshadow

    Hello?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Brindleheart

    Smiled and followed

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2012

    ?cnyu

    Fhbm

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 18, 2010

    "Girl in Hyacinth Blue More Than Painterly Prose

    In the opening of this moving work of fiction, an undiscovered Dutch master's painting, circa 1665, is shown in secret to a professor of art. This expert is qualified to classify the portrait as a genuine and theretofore undiscovered work of Jan Vermeer but is reluctant to do so because of the shady auspices of its acquisition: it had been seized from a private home during Nazi occupation. Since the acquisition is less than honorable, ownership of the painting is both a blessing and a curse. This theme is beautifully woven throughout the story.

    The impact upon viewers of this simple portrait of a young girl is immense. Admirers are drawn to the blue of the smock she is wearing, the "pearl" of her eye, the luminescence of the light streaming through the window near her. And, although the subject is depicted engaged in the simple task of hand sewing, it is obvious that there was something else going on when this painting was being created.

    Through eight gorgeous and historically detailed chapters, author Susan Vreeland masterfully follows the ownership of the painting backward through time. As she plants and waters the seed of exploring the human ability to become attached to inanimate objects, we are given a view into the life and relationships of each successive owner.

    The challenge of the first set of characters is an awesome one: how to adequately enjoy something which is, technically, forbidden to own. Immediately, the reader's curiosity is piqued on many levels: Of course, What is the origin of this painting? But also, How does one come to terms with ownership of artistic property gained by questionable means? How can one enjoy it? And, of course, we ask ourselves again and again, if the work is authentic, was it actually done by Vermeer? And, if it was, what was the origin? Who is the unforgettable subject? And, as we may ask ourselves in the case of the famous Mona Lisa, what was the subject thinking while she was posing and just how did the composition come about?

    The challenges of each of the subsequent owners are as awesome as the professor's, and while each has a unique story, all of them are similarly enamored of the same stranger's work. The delight- and the pain- of their individual human drama connects their stories while demanding our attention to a poignancy and delicacy that is unforgettable.

    As the author draws us in tighter and tighter to the humble creation of the painting, we can fully appreciate how one person's work can impact the lives of so many.

    With wonderfully human characters, a highly engaging and thought-provoking story line, and beautiful, painterly prose, *Girl in Hyacinth Blue* is a glorious and fresh work of fiction, and a book capable of entertaining while also having a deep, marvelous emotional impact on the reader.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" More Than a Painterly Story

    In the opening of this moving work of fiction, an undiscovered Dutch master's painting, circa 1665, is shown in secret to a professor of art. This expert is qualified to classify the portrait as a genuine and theretofore undiscovered work of Jan Vermeer but is reluctant to do so because of the shady auspices of its acquisition: it had been seized from a private home during Nazi occupation. Since the acquisition is less than honorable, ownership of the painting is both a blessing and a curse. This theme is beautifully woven throughout the story.

    The impact upon viewers of this simple portrait of a young girl is immense. Admirers are drawn to the blue of the smock she is wearing, the "pearl" of her eye, the luminescence of the light streaming through the window near her. And, although the subject is depicted engaged in the simple task of hand sewing, it is obvious that there was something else going on when this painting was being created.

    Through eight gorgeous and historically detailed chapters, author Susan Vreeland masterfully follows the ownership of the painting backward through time. As she plants and waters the seed of exploring the human ability to become attached to inanimate objects, we are given a view into the life and relationships of each successive owner.

    The challenge of the first set of characters is an awesome one: how to adequately enjoy something which is, technically, forbidden to own. Immediately, the reader's curiosity is piqued on many levels: Of course, What is the origin of this painting? But also, How does one come to terms with ownership of artistic property gained by questionable means? How can one enjoy it? And, of course, we ask ourselves again and again, if the work is authentic, was it actually done by Vermeer? And, if it was, what was the origin? Who is the unforgettable subject? And, as we may ask ourselves in the case of the famous Mona Lisa, what was the subject thinking while she was posing and just how did the composition come about?

    The challenges of each of the subsequent owners are as awesome as the professor's, and while each has a unique story, all of them are similarly enamored of the same stranger's work. The delight- and the pain- of their individual human drama connects their stories while demanding our attention to a poignancy and delicacy that is unforgettable.

    As the author draws us in tighter and tighter to the humble creation of the painting, we can fully appreciate how one person's work can impact the lives of so many.

    With wonderfully human characters, a highly engaging and thought-provoking story line, and beautiful, painterly prose, *Girl in Hyacinth Blue* is a glorious and fresh work of fiction, and a book capable of entertaining while also having a deep, marvelous emotional impact on the reader.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Art Theme

    In Girl In Hyacinth Blue Susan Vreeland presents the reader with fragments that capture poignant moments in the lives of the various owners of an imagined Vermeer painting. The story is told in reverse chronological order tracing the painting from contemporary times back to its creation. Each chapter reveals a new character whose only connection to the proceeding character is the intense love of the painting. The characters are from very different social strata and their reasons for possession of the painting vary greatly, as do their particular personal affiliation with it. In this way, Vreeland gently invites her readers to consider the potentially universal capacity for art appreciation within the human spirit.

    This book explores the nature of individual responses to art by describing how each character finds personal meaning in the painting. For one man it reminds him of his first love, for a young girl it provides solace from her difficult circumstances as a persecuted Jew, for a poor woman it is the one thing of beauty in her home. Not only does Vreeland capture important moments in the characters lives, she also reveals the details of the painting to the reader gradually through the eyes of each viewer. The book culminates in a scene where Vermeer is inspired to create the painting and sets up the composition by positioning all the objects and the model.

    I really enjoyed this book and the way it sparked many thoughts about the role of art in individual lives. It was beautifully written and it was easy for me to engage with each of the characters even though they made short appearances in the narrative. Vreeland made the art work come to life by showing the impact that the painting had on so many different people. In fact the painting seemed more 'real' than the characters. The paintings longevity also got me thinking about the value of inanimate art objects in society. It is obvious that not only has Vreeland done a lot of research, but she has also thought deeply about the nature of art and its potential to influence human life. This little book has such a lot to say about so many topics that it makes an excellent starting point for discussion in book clubs or classrooms.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Terrific

    I really like this book. So much so I have given it to friends who also like it and recommend it. I read it after reading "Girl With a Pearl Earring" which I enjoyed, but found its portrayal of Vermeer rather odd. "Girl in Hyacinth Blue" is a lovely book to curl up with on a cold winter day or a warm summer evening.

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