The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

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9780142180549: The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

When Juliet Montague's husband disappears, so does she. As far as the conservative Jewish community in which she lives is concerned, she is invisible. She does her best to conform to their rules, but then on her thirtieth birthday she does something unexpected. Instead of the fridge she has scrimped for, she impulsively spends her savings on a portrait of herself.

It is the first in a series of portraits that punctuate Juliet's adult life as she joins London's lively post-war art scene and proves to be an astute spotter of talent. Yet she remains an outsider in both her worlds: a mother of two, drawn to a reclusive artist who never leaves Dorset, and unable to feel free until she has found her husband - a quest that leads her to California and a surprising discovery.

Absorbing, intriguing and richly evocative, this is the tale of one woman's life and an unusual emotional journey, each stage hinged on a painting. It is a bravura performance by a highly talented young author.

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Product Description:

At thirty a woman has a directness in her eye. Juliet Montague did anyhow. She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted to buy a refrigerator.

But in a rash moment, Juliet commissions a portrait of herself instead. She has been closeted by her conservative Jewish community for too long, ever since her husband disappeared. Now she is ready to be seen.

So begins the journey of a suburban wife and mother into the heart of '60s London and its thriving art world, where she proves an astute spotter of talent. Yet she remains an outsider: drawn to a reclusive artist who never leaves Dorset and unable to feel free until she has tracked down her husband - a quest that leads to California and a startling discovery.

Review:

Captivates you with its charm, quirkiness and old-fashioned storytelling ( Daily Mail)

This charming, mesmerising story is ultimately about the triumph of the human spirit, not the caging of it . . . Solomons has created a warm, luscious read that brims with passion and skilfully evokes a bygone era when only married women could be prescribed the Pill, when the sexual revolution was just beginning and when children were cheerfully given cherry brandy as a "sleeping draught". It is a beautifully written tale about a woman who was left socially dead but rose again by seizing life. ( The Times)

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands is a colourful and captivating tale of a woman shedding her skin. ( Stylist)

Natasha Solomons typically binds her themes with her gift as a storyteller. Many times I had to stop and gasp for air at some incredible revelation. But mostly this is a portrait of a woman. Solomons doesn't tell us Juliet is beautiful, but you know she is from the way her head and heart behave and the way the men in her orbit adore her. ( Sydney Morning Herald)

This brilliant novel is infused with empathy and humour. I adored it. ( Irish Examiner)

A luminous book - passionate, rich and touching. ( Sainsburys Magazine)

The loose and liberated art world of the 1960s in the setting for The Gallery of Vanished Husbands, a charming tale by Natasha Solomons. After having her portrait painted, a newly abandoned wife breaks free from her uptight upbringing to find a new love and life. ( Good Housekeeping)

Solomons creates in Juliet a detailed character portrait of a woman who exhibits strength and poise under less than ideal conditions. Each chapter tells the story of one of Juliet's paintings and of important events in her life, and readers will respond to the realistic and beautifully flawed characteristics assigned to her. ( Library Journal)

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