Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Girl in Hyacinth Blue

by Susan Vreeland

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Product Details

BN ID: 2940014237062
Publisher: RosettaBooks
Publication date: 03/20/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 88,526
File size: 2 MB

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.


San Diego, California

Date of Birth:

January 20, 1946

Place of Birth:

Racine, Wisconsin


San Diego State University

Customer Reviews

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Girl in Hyacinth Blue 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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!
PennyHend More than 1 year ago
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".
FunkyMonkey68 More than 1 year ago
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.
Grams1DM More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Author could have done a better job closing plotlines - the daughter to marry Fritz (I forget her name), how did she "part with" the painting given to her by her father as an of contrition to her mother? Did Richard ever speak to Cornelius after that? Did Cornelius ever get his "proof"? Did all of Hannah's family perish in concentration camps or did some survive? I understand it was just groups of characters that gave their part in the painting's history, but wanting to know more about each group took over as I neared a chapter's end. The segues between stories were awkward, especially the hyacinth chapter; hers was the most trying to keep reading. Long and painful for 119 pages on my nook. Pity, as I quite enjoy historical and art based fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ArielJMC More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous 18 days ago
What a pleasant surprise to discover this book. Just like the girl in the painting, I journeyed with her. From this perspective, the author places us the reader into the varying lives interwoven with this painting. I could not put the book down. It was just that good!
ethelmertz on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I enjoyed this history of a painting novel and the various roles the painting plays in the lives of the people who are inspired by it. I was a little upset when I realized I was only going to get a snippet of each life.
delphica on LibraryThing 28 days ago
(#39 in the 2003 Book Challenge)This was pretty good, it is a series of chapters about various owners of a particular Vermeer painting over the centuries. Some of the chapters were actually written as stand-alone stories, and as I result I felt the quality was a little uneven from chapter to chapter, but still enjoyable.Grade: BRecommended: To people who enjoyed Girl With a Pearl Earring, also people who like fiction about art and it's impact
williamsLA on LibraryThing 28 days ago
A collection of short stories with a recurring theme. Look for how Vreeland works in the color blue. She evokes Dutch history so much you feel you've visited there.
justine on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Not the best in the whole backstory of art genre, but still very good. I especially like that the focus is on the painting's meaning to the people it belongs to through time like The Red Violin.
Yestare on LibraryThing 28 days ago
This is *so much better* than Girl with Pearl Earring which appeared around the same time and also involves Vermeer. The Forest Lover by her is also excellent
seachild on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The language, no doubt, is exquisitely wrought and affecting. But I find this book too thin and delicate if taken as a novel. The best way to approach this book is through what it really is: a collection of short stories with a recurring motif.
jayceebee on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Blech. I know a lot of people love this book, but I am not one of them!
jennyo on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This book is presented as a novel, but it's really a collection of related short stories involving a fictional painting of Vermeer's. The story begins with the current owner of the painting and then follows its owners all the way back to Vermeer and his original inspiration for the work.I thoroughly enjoyed the book and whipped through it in a day or so. Vreeland did a good job of showing how art touches people and moves them to do things they might not ordinarily do. The last paragraph of the book was heartbreaking, and at the same time, just perfect.
stacyinthecity on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I thought this was a beautiful and wonderful book. It is the story of a painting, and glimpses of the lives it touched along the way as it changed hands for centuries. This is a book that I might need to get for myself to reread it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MahMah More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago