The Gallery of Vanished Husbands
By Natasha Solomons
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This novel was published last year in August by Plume. Guess what this is a paperback!! LOL. I saw this one at the library and it captured my interest. For my readers that are a little page shy, this one is only 352 pages.
London, 1958. It’s the eve of the sexual revolution, but in Juliet Montague’s conservative Jewish community where only men can divorce women, she finds herself a living widow, invisible. Ever since her husband disappeared seven years ago, Juliet has been a hardworking single mother of two and unnaturally practical. But on her thirtieth birthday, that’s all about to change. A wealthy young artist asks to paint her portrait, and Juliet, moved by the powerful desire to be seen, enters into the burgeoning art world of 1960s London, which will bring her fame, fortune, and a life-long love affair (Goodreads synopsis).
I was impressed with the thought that went into this novel. The title is great and the use of portrait titles and the artist for each chapter is ingenious. We follow the life of Juliet and the painting of her portrait by each of the painters throughout the book. Each section represents a different period in her life. We are shown how Juliet is tortured between being a good jewish widow and being herself. She wants to please her mother, but at the same time yearns to break free from the old traditions. When she tries to track down her missing husband, she finds that he committed bigamy. This changes her whole outlook. The book is more about Juliet finding herself. This was a fairly quick read for me, but it is not action packed. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.