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The Painted Kiss    by Elizabeth Hickey order for
Painted Kiss
by Elizabeth Hickey
Order:  USA  Can
Washington Square, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Emilie Flöge is twelve years old when she first meets Viennese painter Gustav Klimt. Ever socially correct, her parents quickly engage the artist to give their daughter drawing lessons. It is 1886 and Klimt's artistic star is rising amidst a backdrop of Vienna's grand opera houses and elegant cafés filled with delicious pastries. As Klimt introduces Emilie to the art world subculture, intelligent and fiery Emilie is drawn to the controversy that Klimt sparks. As she grows she encounters artists of all character, patrons with more money than taste, and sultry models who use any opportunity to ensnare the famous Klimt into marriage.

Elizabeth Hickey cleverly paints the story of Emilie and Gustav's relationship, using chapter divisions to add shadow and texture to the work. While the main story moves forward chronologically, these chapters are interspersed with Emilie's flashbacks as an older woman. These portions occur after Emilie has fled Vienna in 1944 in the confusion and fear of World War II. She is the guardian of Klimt's work. A third tactic Hickey uses to illustrate Emilie and Gustav's lives are chapters describing various paintings by Klimt and the models within them. The details in these chapters display much - from the clothes the models wear, often designed by Emilie, to Klimt's oft sexual relationships with both his patrons and his models.

The Painted Kiss provides an insider's peek as to the story behind one of Gustav Klimt's most famed paintings. Filling history's gaps with her paintbrush of a pen, Elizabeth Hickey has created a novel that will delight both those who enjoy art and those who enjoy a good story.

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