It must be hard to write a follow-up novel when your debut was so popular; I imagine that Jessie Burton had that very problem after the stonking success of The Miniaturist (which I LOVED, FYI).
The Muse tells the stories of two women, thirty-odd years apart: Odelle, a young woman from Trinidad who has emigrated to London in the 1960s and Olive, the daughter of well-to-do Anglo-German parents living in Spain at the time of the start of the civil war. Linked, possibly, by a mysterious painting painted by a young Spanish revolutionary, the story weaves the two narratives together in surprising and heart-breaking ways. Love, betrayal and identity are dealt with deftly and in a way that just made me want to get home and devour the book (I didn’t quite get the book read in 48 hours like I did with The Miniaturist, but I wasn’t far off!) Burton pulled off the changing between times well as well- it felt natural and understandable, even when I wasn’t entirely sure what the connection was. I’m not ashamed to admit that a few of my plot-twist guesses were entirely wrong, too. But that’s the best bit about a book like this, isn’t it? It’s good to be kept on your toes.
So, does this book match up to its predecessor? It’s very different, but it’s just as enjoyable.