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Girl in Hyacinth Blue [NOOK Book]

Overview

A Dutch painting of a young girl survives three and a half centuries through loss, flood, anonymity, theft, secrecy, even the Holocaust. This is the story of its owners whose lives are influenced by its beauty and mystery. Despite their unsatisfied longings, their own and others' flaws, the girl in hyacinth blue has the power to engender love in all its human variety.

This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a ...
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Girl in Hyacinth Blue

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Overview

A Dutch painting of a young girl survives three and a half centuries through loss, flood, anonymity, theft, secrecy, even the Holocaust. This is the story of its owners whose lives are influenced by its beauty and mystery. Despite their unsatisfied longings, their own and others' flaws, the girl in hyacinth blue has the power to engender love in all its human variety.

This luminous story begins in the present day, when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer--but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work's inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner's hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland's characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Susan Vreeland is the internationally known author of art-related historical fiction. Her newest, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, as well as three earlier books, are New York Times Best Sellers. Luncheon of the Boating Party reveals Renoir’s masterpiece, the personalities involved in its making, and the joie de vivre of late nineteenth century Paris. Life Studies is a collection of stories of Impressionist painters and contemporary people encountering art. Girl in Hyacinth Blue traces an alleged Vermeer painting through the centuries. The Passion of Artemisia illuminates Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The Forest Lover follows rebel British Columbia painter Emily Carr in her encounters with native peoples and cultures. What Love Sees is a love story of a blind couple who refuse to accept limitations. Three of these books have been winners of the Theodor Geisel Award, the highest honor given by the San Diego Book Awards. Vreeland’s novels have been translated into twenty-six languages, and have frequently been selected as Book Sense Picks. She was a high school English teacher in San Diego for thirty years.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940014237062
  • Publisher: RosettaBooks
  • Publication date: 3/20/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 46,896
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Susan Vreeland is the internationally known author of art-related historical fiction. Her newest, Clara and Mr. Tiffany, as well as three earlier books, are New York Times Best Sellers. Luncheon of the Boating Party reveals Renoir’s masterpiece, the personalities involved in its making, and the joie de vivre of late nineteenth century Paris. Life Studies is a collection of stories of Impressionist painters and contemporary people encountering art. Girl in Hyacinth Blue traces an alleged Vermeer painting through the centuries. The Passion of Artemisia illuminates Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The Forest Lover follows rebel British Columbia painter Emily Carr in her encounters with native peoples and cultures. What Love Sees is a love story of a blind couple who refuse to accept limitations. Three of these books have been winners of the Theodor Geisel Award, the highest honor given by the San Diego Book Awards. Vreeland’s novels have been translated into twenty-six languages, and have frequently been selected as Book Sense Picks. She was a high school English teacher in San Diego for thirty years.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 67 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(40)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2012

    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 what happened to the math professor and the painting.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Definately recommend

    I loved the way this book told the story of how this painting got to where it ended up. Very cool stories of different people and different lives they lead! Definately worth the read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2012

    This is a very good book and I recommend that it should be read.

    This is a very good book and I recommend that it should be read. It tells the story of a Vermeer painting and how it falls into the various lives of each of its owners.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted October 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Vreeland at her veritable best!

    I'm a big fan of historical fiction and Susan Vreeland's rendering of same, so I was probably of a mindset to love this novel before I turned to page one. It didn't disappoint. If one is a lover of the works of the ancient art master Vermeer, one cannot help but be captivated by this author's imagined and highly creative way of bringing the artist as well as his works to life. Definitely a five star read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2014

    Redkit

    A small red furred tom pads in. Where is everybody? He wonders, looking around.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2014

    To arcticstar

    Go to camp!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2014

    Ghj

    Gvzg

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014

    Firebloom

    Firebloom hurries in, gathering a bunch of moss. Once she had enough, she brought it over to the river, soaking the moss balls in water. She pulls them out, holding the moss in her teeth, then dashes back to camp.

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

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  • 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 July 11, 2014

    The two cats

    The lighter one helped thevdarker one into a small rabbit hole.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 67 Customer Reviews

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