Book Reviews: Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Girl in Hyacinth Blue
by Susan Vreeland
★★★★

This collection of short stories begins with the reclusive owner of a beautiful painting, which he believes to be a Vermeer. The seven that follow trace the ownership of the painting back through decades. Some touch on the Holocaust, other delve into Dutch history, all the stories are connected by the common thread of the painting and the effect it has on each of its owners.

There are love stories, tales of poor farmers and rich aristocrats, and even one featuring Vermeer himself. I was expecting this to be a boring read (I have no idea why), but I found myself really enjoying each account of the paintings journey through the years. Vreeland gives us a glimpse into eight very different worlds, obviously some of the tales work better than others, but all of them are interesting. She also manages to capture the reader’s attention with the first story and give the collection a sense of resolution with the final one.

10 comments:

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I liked this book a lot when I read it about 8 years ago. I never read anything else by Vreeland though.

Alexandra said...

I remember loving this book when I read it some years ago. Going back now to my review of it on Bookcrossing I can tell you that my favorite stories were the one about the obsessed math teacher and the one about the couple struggling against the floods.

irisonbooks said...

Oh, this sounds wonderful. I'd love to read more on Dutch history, because I usually ignore it :)

Avid Reader said...

Alexandra - Those were two of my favorites as well. I especially loved the couple dealing with the flood.

Iris - I know. Dutch history doesn't exactly pop up in fiction too often, so it was a nice change of pace.

Gerbera Daisy Mom said...

I bought this a year ago at a used bookstore, but haven't read it yet...I think I may have to re think my reading priorities!

Captain Nick Sparrow said...

I keep picking this up and putting it back. Maybe it's time to finally purchase it!

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Every now and again, a short story collection is just the right thing to pick up! This one looks like a nice choice, I might have to check this one out!

Avid Reader said...

It's funny, this sat on my shelf for at least 5 years before I picked it up. I think one of the things I liked the most is that all of the stories are so different (different time period, different characters) that it moves quickly and never feels stale or repetitive.

BookQuoter said...

I am so glad you liked this book. I didn't know what to expect either but it truly surprised me in a very good way!

Vaishnavi said...

I love the cover of the book. I am on the lookout for good collections of short stories so thanks for sharing :)