This book has huge potential. It's based on next to no actual historical documentation of the personal life of the woman in this famous painting (as the Acknowledgements say), so the author could have really created a rich and wild personal life story. Instead, she tells the story of a vapid, self-obsessed, angry woman who literally obsesses about her looks through the entire novel, and yet has no emotional reaction to getting old, which she inevitably does. I'd much rather read the story of the (so-called) heroine's aunt Julie and her women painter friends, living it up as creative, free women in Paris at the turn of the century. The author gives us some little side story gems about these women - just enough to draw me in, only to deny me a fully satisfying story. The author does, however, immerse us in the history and politics of Paris in the late 1800's that is fascinating and entrancing.