Following their father’s sudden death, the Van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where she will be trained to enter the famous Ballet and meet Edgar Degas. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds employment—and the love of a dangerous young man—as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s Naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change,The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.”
About the Author
The second of five children, Cathy Marie Buchanan was born and bred in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Her father was a teacher, and her mother, a former teacher, was a homemaker.
A defining feature of her childhood was the two-month camping excursion the family made each summer in their VW camper van. By her early teens, she had seen most every province in Canada and most every state in the U.S., and had swum in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea. Her family made the first of these journeys―driving from Niagara Falls to the tip of Mexico and then on into Belize―in 1976, well before Mexico was set up for tourism, and with her two-year-old sister in tow. She believes that her parents’ tendency to throw caution to the wind helped shape her into an adult who would one day exchange the trappings of the corporate world for the writing life.
Often asked if she grew up wanting to be a writer, she answers with a definitive no and will tell you she spent her teenage years disgracing herself in high school English, often getting upwards of 20 percent deducted for spelling mistakes on exams. When it came time to head off to university, one of the criteria she used for selecting courses was not having to write—that is, spell—a single thing. She graduated with a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and then an MBA, both from the University of Western Ontario, and spent the bulk of her non-writing work life at IBM, at first in finance and then in technical sales. Author Website
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