From Publishers Weekly
British journalist Holden (Shell Shock
) delivers a superior novel of suspense in her well-plotted fiction debut. Charlotte "Charlie" Hudson, a former reporter suffering from physical and psychological wounds incurred while covering the war in Kosovo, decides to give up on the book she's writing about Kosovo and begin one on her new passion—handmade art papers and the use thereof by the great 19th-century British painter, J.M.W. Turner. Part of this passion involves a growing romantic attraction to world-famous painter Sir Alan Matheson. Holden weaves pages of esoteric paper lore into a tale that involves Charlie's tenuous mental stability and the growing mystery surrounding the suicide death of Sir Alan's daughter, Angela. Readers who are interested in art history and artists' lives will find themselves enthralled with the depth and scope of information, while those with less intellectual tastes may find themselves guiltily skipping ahead. Holden is the pseudonym of Wendy Holden, who has covered wars for the Daily Telegraph
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The wasp's paper nest, made by bugs chewing tree fibers that mix with the insects' saliva, inspired the ancient Chinese to develop papermaking. From such humble beginnings eventually came richly textured, handmade papers highly prized by centuries of artists. Never one to "stay home and write about nice
things," despite her mother's pleas, British journalist Charlotte "Charlie" Hudson returns from covering the Kosovo war. She has a widely acclaimed book to show for her efforts there--and also hideous flashbacks and nightmares. Desperate for a new focus, she meets well-known painter Alan Matheson--by happenstance? Kismet?--while admiring handmade papers at the Bloomsbury artists' supply shop her artist grandfather had patronized. Alan is interested in her idea for a book about the historic importance of artists' papers and provides her books and academic treatises on the consequence of specific papers for the great English painter Turner. So begins Charlie's transformation in this lusciously textured novel of suspense and discovery, full of emotional nuance as accurately and delicately rendered as Turner's clouds. Whitney ScottCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved