Vanessa and Her Sister by Priya Parmar
Another instance where the cover art initially completely turned me off. I've found that I'm just not a fan of the trendy hazy, pastel-colored images of random ass women. This kind of art is rarely indicative of the type of story that lies beneath it, but still... publishers insist on it. I WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND!
::hops off soapbox::
Anyway, I was surprised to find that I was completely engrossed in this story about Virginia Woolf's family as told by her older sister, who was a successful artist in her own right but spent her life trying to escape Virginia's shadow. The story of the Stephen siblings and the creation of the Bloomsbury Group is fascinating, engaging and a quick read with its use of journal entries and letters back and forth between some of the most prominent artistic minds of the 20th century.
However, a warning. If you're a huge Virginia Woolf fan, this might not be the book for you. Although Woolf's mental health issues have been well-documented and explain a lot of her erratic behavior, her treatment of her sister might sour you to her particular brand of brilliance.
What if Virginia Woolf's sister had kept a diary? For fans of "The Paris Wife" and "Loving Frank" comes a spellbinding new story of the inseparable bond between Virginia and her sister, the gifted painter Vanessa Bell, and the real-life betrayal that threatened to destroy their family. Hailed by "The New York Times" "Book Review "as an uncanny success and based on meticulous research, this stunning novel illuminates a little-known episode in the celebrated sisters glittering bohemian youth among the legendary Bloomsbury Group.
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