French Girl with Mother is a provocative, propulsive thriller that marries the spirit of James Salter with a hint of Patricia Highsmith and the velocity of The Art Forger.
Nathan is a young artist traveling across Europe in search of the emotional fire that has been missing from his work. He’s been deemed by his mentors and critics as technically skillful but uninspired — criticisms he fears to be true. On a Paris street, he witnesses the volatile breakup of a young French woman and her beau. Nathan pursues a meeting with the woman and it very quickly becomes evident that her provocative charisma and scathing beauty just may conjure the electricity he has been seeking for his work. So when the woman invites him to her parents’ crumbling, centuries-old chateau in the country to allow him to sketch her, he accepts, knowing that this proposition is both ill-advised and exciting.
Once enveloped by this isolated estate, a door opens to a world Nathan is not prepared for. The arrival of the young woman’s family — her mother, a volatile, voracious former ballerina, her father, a mysterious businessman with secrets of his own, and her uncle, who just might be trafficking in art forgeries — triggers a series of dire events. Very soon Nathan is caught in a web of sexual treachery, family secrets, betrayal, and crime.
French Girl with Mother is a sexy, page-turning novel that also examines provocative questions about art and its inspirations. Who is the muse? Who is the artist? And, most important, whose power will win out?