Review: Stolen Beauty by Laurie Lico Albanese

What are the odds that the first few books that I’ve reviewed this month have all been so good? That rarely happens to me but for some reason the stars have aligned and this month has been a fantastic kick off to the new year book-wise!

The last few novels have all been set during war time and I love love love the drama and romance that comes from a war era novel. This novel was full of beautiful language and writing.

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art, and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt’s most remarkable paintings.

In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt.

Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt’s renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond.

Though they enjoy a life where sex and art are just beginning to break through the façade of conventional society, the city is also exhibiting a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism, as political hatred foments in the shadows of Adele’s coffee house afternoons and cultural salons.

Nearly forty years later, Adele’s niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria—and overnight, her beloved Vienna becomes a war zone. When her husband is arrested and her family is forced out of their home, Maria must summon the courage and resilience that is her aunt’s legacy if she is to survive and keep her family—and their history—alive.

At first I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to enjoy this novel. I am not sure why but for some reason the cover just kind of put me off. It seemed a little hokey and didn’t really capture my interest. so I almost passed on this one all together. But as the old adage goes, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. The summary sounded interesting and so I agreed to review it.

This novel has two alternating story lines which worked really well for the flow of the overall story. I felt completely connected and invested in each of the characters stories. Adele was a woman that I could relate to the most I think. She was bold, charismatic and full of passion and an eagerness to learn. For me, I liked her the best, but that said, Maria also had likable characteristics. Maria always seemed to persevere and was able to get what she wanted through strength and hope.

I think one of the most memorable things from this novel was the attention to detail. This novel is very well researched in many aspects… and war are very broad topics and could easily have little nuances glossed over, but in this book the author does a fantastic job describing in full detail the time period and the art. It wasn’t boring or unnecessary either. Each little historic detail helped paint a truly magnificent novel.

I am now so glad that I picked this novel to review…..even though the cover was a little blah for me, the story inside was fantastic and one that readers should not miss out on!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Stolen Beauty by  Laurie Lico Albanese

  • Kindle Edition, 320 pages
    Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Atria Books
    Review copy provided by: Author/Publisher in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4 out of 5

Genre: Romance, war lit, womens fiction, historical fiction

Memorable lines/quotes: NA

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