Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse
Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse by Arthur D Hittner
HBL Note: Starting your email with "I’m a sucker for historical novels involving art..." is a sure-fire way to capture my attention. Rather than absently scanning through the seeming hundreds of emails I receive each day, my brain refocused as I thought to myself...wait, me too! Tell me more! The email was from Art Hittner, author of Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse. He said his interest in historic novels led him to my site and specifically my post on 5 Books to Read About Art and Artists. He talked about how he and his wife were longtime art collectors and how he had researched and written quite a bit on the subject of art. He wrote, "Realizing that much of what I’d written (all non-fiction) would have little chance of reaching a wide audience, I decided to try my hand at historical fiction in an effort to bring that period to life and (hopefully) share my passion with a broader audience." The result was Artist, Soldier, Lover, Muse. He went on to say, "Because you obviously enjoy art-themed novels, I’m reaching out in the hope that I might interest you in reading and perhaps reviewing my novel for your blog."
My answer was, of course, yes! I want to read this novel. But because my reading schedule is backed up well into August, I'm bringing you this book feature. I want you to know about it before I'll be able to read and review it. I'm hoping one of you will love works of historical fiction and art as much as I do and pick this one up. If you do, let me know how it is!
From the publisher:
Freshly graduated from Yale in 1935, Henry J. Kapler parlays his talent, determination, and creative energy into a burgeoning art career in New York under the wing of artists such as Edward Hopper and Reginald Marsh. The young artist first gains notoriety when his depiction of a symbolic, interracial handshake between ballplayers is attacked by a knife-wielding assailant at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. Yet even as his art star rises, his personal life turns precarious--and perilous--when his love for Fiona, a young WPA muralist, collides with his growing attraction to the exquisitely beautiful Alice, an ex-chorus girl who becomes his model and muse. Alice is the girlfriend of Fiona's cousin, Jake Powell, the hotheaded, hard-drinking outfielder for the New York Yankees whose jealousy explodes into abuse and rage, endangering the lives of all three. While Henry wrestles with his complicated love life, he also struggles mightily to reconcile his pacifism with the rabid patriotism of his Jewish-Russian emigre father. As war draws near, Henry faces two difficult choices, one of which could cost him his life.