Title: In the Full Light of the Sun
Author: Clare Clark
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publish Date: July 9, 2019
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Hedonistic and
politically turbulent, Berlin in the 1920s is a city of seedy night
clubs and sumptuous art galleries. It is home to millionaires and mobs
storming bakeries for rationed bread. These disparate Berlins collide
when Emmeline, a young art student; Julius, an art expert; and a
mysterious dealer named Rachmann all find themselves caught up in the
astonishing discovery of thirty-two previously unknown paintings by
Vincent van Gogh."
My Two Cents:
"In the Full Light of the Sun" is a story loosely based a true story of greed and art. In 1920s and 1930s Berlin, the city teems with drama. It is both a place of extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Whispers of instability fill the air. This book centers on three people: Julius, Emmeline, and Rachmann. All are drawn to art in different ways but have very different motives when it comes to a treasure trove of previously unknown Vincent Van Gogh originals. Looks can be deceiving though and things can often be too good to be true.
Art? Check! Historical fiction? Check! I was immediately drawn to this book by the promise of art and historical fiction. I was further drawn in by the promise of Vincent Van Gogh specifically as he is one of my very favorite artists. I loved the little bits of insight that we get into Van Gogh from the bits and pieces of correspondence and biography included in the book. You get to see Van Gogh in a bit of a different light, which I loved.
The characters were pretty good. I did wish that we got to understand what made each of our main characters tick a little bit more. We often see the characters in the book through the lens of their interpersonal relationships but not about their motivations. The characters still felt relatively unknown to me by the end of the book.
The story itself was interesting! I have always been fascinated about the idea of unscrupulous people trying to make a quick buck off of fake paintings. There have been a couple high profile cases, to include one specifically having to do with Van Gogh paintings in 1920s/1930s Germany but this book is not a fictionalization of that specific case. I loved the detail about how the mystery of the paintings was unraveled in the book.
This book would be a great jumping off point to learn about some of the real cases behind the story's inspiration.