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Davida: Model & Mistress of Augustus Saint-Gaudens Paperback – March 5, 2016
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From the Author
This book required a considerable amount of research, which was possible due to extensive papers, books, and authorities on the subject of Augustus Saint-Gaudens. There are only three factual pieces of information about Davida: her birth first name, her name as a model, and that she was born in Sweden. Therefore I was able to use my imagination and create Davida.
From the Back Cover
Davida is the story of unconditional love between Albertina Hultgren (aka Davida Johnson Clark) and renowned American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens. It was a forbidden love that survived twenty-five years, until his untimely death. She was the ethereal woman; he was strength and exuberance.
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Top customer reviews
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In love triangles like this, the people that suffer most, are the children. Living in the shadows of others, leave those living in the shadow with bitterness, and sometimes, hate. Louis, the child born out of this triangle, suffered all his life from hiding the true state of his birth. His reaction, in the end was his attempt in wiping all the residue of that birth, that was, not only suppressive, but considered illegitimate by the society. He wiped his past in an effort to becoming himself, a new person, with no links to that past.
It is easy to judge Albertina, and also Gus in situations like this, but, as I already said, things like this happen all the time. Man is a polygamous animal. Only a few men can curb that urge. Davida is a well written, intimate, but sad love story.
This story is beautifully written and captivated me from start to finish. I can’t say I like Augustus at all. He seemed very emotionally selfish and inconsiderate but financially extravagant. Albertina on the other hand, I really liked. She was a strong woman but I question her taste in men. However, the story takes place soon after the civil war in the U.S. and the country was a very different place then. Part of the beauty in the writing is the feelings the story invoked in me. Only the most talented writers can do that.
The history is well-researched making it easy to feel the way life moved and changed from the late 1800's to the early 1900's. I had to go look up Augustus Saint-Gaudens' actual works which are amazing. The writing is well-edited; the pace is relaxed, and it is written in third person (which I prefer). It is geared for adult readers due to a couple of explicit scenes.
The book wasn't unrealistically romantic, but it held a true and deep love between Davida and August. It also held the harsh reality of those times. It was real in the sense that Gus loved both Gussie and Davida, just differently. It is sad that society will shame people who do not fit into their mold. I felt for Novy. I can only imagine how much he struggled with his parent's affair as he grew up.
I don't usually read memoirs, even fictional ones, but I found myself fascinated with the purity of the characters and the way their affair was embedded in so much historical events. And I am not one who enjoys history, so that is saying a lot! lol!