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I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira is a historical fiction book about the relationship between the French Impressionism painters Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.

The book immerses you into the world of the impressionists in Belle Epoque Paris in the 19th Century.

Cover of the book "I always loved you" by Robin Oliveira
Art Historical Fiction about Degas & Cassatt & the Impressionists

Mary Cassatt, an American painter leaves conservative America for the more liberal and creative Paris. It is in Paris where she lives most of her adult life.

She meets Degas in the 1870s and they become very close. Neither one marries. Little is known about their relationship and it is speculated that perhaps Degas and Cassatt were romantically involved. Who knows!!

For Robin Oliveira, the author, this provides her with an opportunity to imagine their possible relationship.

Degas drawing - A portrait of Mary Cassatt
Edgar Degas drawing of Mary Cassatt

Creatively the author captures for you Mary Cassatt’s passion for the impressionism art movement despite the fact that the art world scorned and ridiculed the impressionists. 

She clearly portrays to you the frustration and disappointments they all endured by breaking all the artistic norms.

In the book, you can read about Degas‘ use of the “petit rats” (the young training ballerinas) as his models for many of his paintings and for the iconic sculpture “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen.” She portrays his struggle for absolute perfection.,

Were Cassatt and Degas romantically involved? The author chooses to makes art and not their relationship the most dominant obsession of their lives.

Edgar Degas portrait of Mary Cassatt
Edgar Degas painting of Mary Cassatt

I highly recommend! Enjoy!

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For more wonderful art historical fiction books about Edgar Degas and the other Impressionism painters, check out my other recommendations below.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations of art historical fiction books related to the impressionists from the 19th century not on this list! I look forward to hearing from you.