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Stolen Beauty: a Novel
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Published:
Atria Books 2017
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Description
"A powerful and important tale of love and war, art and family...I was transported." —Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

"Albanese artfully weaves Adele's story with Maria's harrowing life under the Nazis, but it's hard to read Stolen Beauty without seeing ugly echoes in today's headlines. Seven decades after World War II, have we learned nothing?" —USA TODAY

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art, and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt's most remarkable paintings.
In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt. Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt's renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond. Though they enjoy a life where sex and art are just beginning to break through the façade of conventional society, the city is also troubled by a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism as political hatred simmers in the shadows of Adele's coffeehouse afternoons and cultural salons.

Nearly forty years later, Adele's niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria—and overnight, her beloved Vienna becomes a war zone. When her husband is arrested and her family is forced out of their stately home, Maria must summon the courage and resilience that is her aunt's legacy if she is to survive and keep her loved ones—and their history—alive.

Will Maria and her family escape the grip of Nazi rule? And what will become of the paintings for which her aunt sacrificed nearly everything?

Impeccably researched and a "must-read for fans of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and Paula McLain's Circling the Sun" (Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Stolen Beauty juxtaposes passion and discovery against hatred and despair, and shines a light on our ability to love, to destroy, and above all, to endure.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/07/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781501132001
ASIN:
B01HMXRYXI
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Laurie Lico Albanese. (2017). Stolen Beauty: a Novel. Atria Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Laurie Lico Albanese. 2017. Stolen Beauty: A Novel. Atria Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Laurie Lico Albanese, Stolen Beauty: A Novel. Atria Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Laurie Lico Albanese. Stolen Beauty: A Novel. Atria Books, 2017.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 18:07:51
Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Laurie Lico Albanese has published fiction, poetry, journalism, travel writing, creative nonfiction, and memoir. Her books include Blue Suburbia: Almost a Memoir, Lynelle by the Sea, and The Miracles of Prato, co-written with art historian Laura Morowitz. Laurie is married to a publishing executive and is the mother of two children. To learn more visit her at LaurieLicoAlbanese.com.
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title
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fullDescription
"A powerful and important tale of love and war, art and family...I was transported." —Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

"Albanese artfully weaves Adele's story with Maria's harrowing life under the Nazis, but it's hard to read Stolen Beauty without seeing ugly echoes in today's headlines. Seven decades after World War II, have we learned nothing?" —USA TODAY

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art, and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt's most remarkable paintings.
In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt. Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt's renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic possibilities on the canvas and beyond. Though they enjoy a life where sex and art are just beginning to break through the façade of conventional society, the city is also troubled by a disturbing increase in anti-Semitism as political hatred simmers in the shadows of Adele's coffeehouse afternoons and cultural salons.

Nearly forty years later, Adele's niece Maria Altmann is a newlywed when the Nazis invade Austria—and overnight, her beloved Vienna becomes a war zone. When her husband is arrested and her family is forced out of their stately home, Maria must summon the courage and resilience that is her aunt's legacy if she is to survive and keep her loved ones—and their history—alive.

Will Maria and her family escape the grip of Nazi rule? And what will become of the paintings for which her aunt sacrificed nearly everything?

Impeccably researched and a "must-read for fans of Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and Paula McLain's Circling the Sun" (Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author), Stolen Beauty juxtaposes passion and discovery against hatred and despair, and shines a light on our ability to love, to destroy, and above all, to endure.
reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        January 1, 2017
        Two haute bourgeois Austrian-Jewish women see their world upended by fin de siecle libertinism, the onset of the Nazi regime, and the theft of all they hold most dear.Sparking off the same source material as the film Woman in Gold (2015), Albanese conjures the voices of Adele Bloch-Bauer and her niece Maria Altmann, whose lives overlapped briefly but whose biographies are forever conjoined by a work of art. Here, as in life, handsome, clever, and rich Adele is an intellectually famished, aspiring salon hostess whose tolerant husband, an uncultured but benevolent sugar-beet magnate, indulges her interest in the philosophical debates of the day (though the novel imposes no burden on readers to wrestle with them). She eventually persuades him to commission Gustav Klimt--monk-cloaked, lupine, and a notorious seducer with multiple illegitimate children--to do her portrait. It takes him three years to complete. While conscious of ugly talk rippling through the Ringstrasse--a failed and embittered applicant to Vienna's Art Academy, who will one day come to power in Germany, is glimpsed briefly at one of Adele's salon meetings--Adele is forced to pull back from their potentially scandalous relationship for reasons less social than private. By turns breathless and rueful at the memory of the erstwhile affair--"His gaze was intoxicating. I'm embarrassed to remember how little it took to keep me talking"--Adele will take up other causes and proteges. One is her young niece Maria, whose story commences in 1938 and makes for a gritty, suspenseful counterpoint (with a few historical liberties taken) to the lip-smacking linzer torte of Adele's bildungsroman. Less worldly than her aunt (who was long dead by the time Hitler comes to power), Maria is shocked when the Gestapo turns up at her home to oversee the transfer of Jewish property into Aryan hands. But she quickly readjusts her inner compass, proving wily and doughty in ways Aunt Adele would approve. Taking the lead from her husband--an amateur opera singer hooked on female adoration--she organizes their escape, not a hot-second too soon. Though given shorter shrift here than the romance/suspense plots, Maria's nervy and unprecedented campaign to seek restitution for her family's looted art collection--including the shimmering Klimt portrait of Adele hidden in plain sight in Vienna's most prestigious gallery--provides a satisfying coda: "The Nazis were inside my uncle's palais....If you're lucky, life teaches you to survive." Fans of romantic suspense with an art historical bent will appreciate the vigor of Albanese's reimagining of the family saga behind the masterpiece long regarded as Vienna's Mona Lisa.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from February 1, 2017

        Maria Altmann was a "love-struck newlywed" when Adolf Hitler invaded Austria, and with her opening sentence, Albanese (The Miracles of Prato) draws readers into a world of glamour, art, intrigue, power and fear. Maria and opera singer husband Fritz soon learn their money and talent are of little use to the Third Reich, especially with Jewish blood in the family. Even more compelling is the interwoven story of Maria's aunt, Adele Bloch-Bauer, muse to artist Gustav Klimt and a woman ahead of her time in turn-of-the-century Vienna. Klimt's commissioned gold-leaf portrait of Adele is of high interest to the Nazis and will inspire Maria to find inner strength to survive the war and save her family's legacy. VERDICT In this complex yet utterly readable novel, historical characters are brought to life against the setting of a city on the verge of artistic greatness and societal collapse. Albanese treats thorny moral issues with clarity and depth. Fans of Philippa Gregory, Tracy Chevalier, and those who enjoyed the film Woman in Gold starring Helen Mirren won't be able to put it down.--Christine Barth, Scott Cty. Lib. Syst., IA

        Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        December 15, 2016
        In fin de siecle Vienna, unconventional possibilities abound, intellectually and romantically, when wealthy, beautiful, Jewish Adele Bloch-Bauer meets painter Gustav Klimt. In an alternating 1930s story line, the brutality of the Anschluss shatters the idyllic existence of Maria Altmann, Adele's niece. The titular stolen beauty is Klimt's famous portrait, Adele Bloch-Bauer I, looted by the Nazis. Facing uncertainty and loss, the women are connected through the painting.The novel's focal points are the characterizations of the two women, one born strong and the other struggling to be. Unlike similar women's war fiction (e.g., Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale, 2015), this novel profits from the added emotional level of this being, essentially, a true story. The real Maria Altmann was dauntless in restoring to her family that which had been taken from them; the historical Adele Bloch-Bauer was exceptional as the queen of Vienna salon society. Best read with a tablet or computer handy to study the paintings, Albanese's novel will appeal to readers interested in such themes as love, self-discovery, and women's empowerment and to fans of the historical, art-based fiction of Susan Vreeland and Tracy Chevalier.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

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"A powerful and important tale of love and war, art and family...I was transported." —Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author

"Albanese artfully weaves Adele's story with Maria's harrowing life under the Nazis, but it's hard to read Stolen Beauty without seeing ugly echoes in today's headlines. Seven decades after World War II, have we learned nothing?" —USA TODAY

From the dawn of the twentieth century to the devastation of World War II, this exhilarating novel of love, war, art, and family gives voice to two extraordinary women and brings to life the true story behind the creation and near destruction of Gustav Klimt's most remarkable paintings.
In the dazzling glitter of 1903 Vienna, Adele Bloch-Bauer—young, beautiful, brilliant, and Jewish—meets painter Gustav Klimt. Wealthy in everything but freedom, Adele embraces Klimt's renegade genius as the two awaken to the erotic...
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