Monday, February 9, 2015

Rodin's Lover Blog Tour: Review

Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 320

Genre: Historical Fiction


A mesmerizing tale of art and passion in Belle Époque France.

As a woman, aspiring sculptor Camille Claudel has plenty of critics, especially her ultra-traditional mother. But when Auguste Rodin makes Camille his apprentice—and his muse—their passion inspires groundbreaking works. Yet, Camille’s success is overshadowed by her lover’s rising star, and her obsessions cross the line into madness.

Rodin’s Lover brings to life the volatile love affair between one of the era’s greatest artists and a woman entwined in a tragic dilemma she cannot escape.

What Did I Think About the Story?

While I am familiar with Auguste Rodin and his art I am sad to say I had never heard of Camille Claudel before reading Rodin's Lover. Given her extensive talent this is a shame but, sadly, not surprising as her exclusion from the history of art (at least what is taught on the very basic level most of us experienced in school) is most likely due to the very issues she faced during her lifetime, namely that she was a woman creating her art in a world run by men and in the shadow of one of the great artists of their time. I absolutely love the idea of bringing Camille out of Rodin's shadow and into the hearts of everyday readers, something that Heather Webb does with aplomb.

One of the first things the reader learns about Camille and something that stays true to the very end is the fact that her greatest joy and passion in life comes from her creating sculptures out of the rich clay of the earth and that she wants nothing more in life than to be free to do her art and nothing less than to be tied down to the conventions of the day or to a man who might try to control her. It is impossible not to feel for Camille as she fights against her mother's uncaring remarks and determination to marry her off to a man that might stifle her unseemly (as her mother sees it) passion for sculpture as well as her fight to make her voice heard against the boom of the many other voices in the dog eat dog art world. But through it all she is absolutely determined to do whatever it takes to become one of the greatest artists of her day and it is this drive and one track mind that is both one of her greatest assets and her ultimate downfall.

Camille's relationship with Rodin is complicated to say the least. Both are equally passionate and obsessive about their art and their drive to make names for themselves. They are also both unable to stop thinking of the other and are driven together and apart time and time again as they war with their feelings and goals for the future. Both are consumed by each other and their art but neither are able to fully dedicate themselves to the other (especially in Rodin's case since he refuses to set aside his long time mistress and the mother of his son). What separates these two is that Rodin is able to rationally step back, in time, and extricate himself from unhealthy situations even as his heart breaks while the stress and heartache inherent in their lives begins to push Camille over the edge into madness. This vicious descent into madness - characterized by paranoia, rage, depression and even internal voices - is brilliantly presented in trickles throughout the novel until it becomes all consuming and the reader is left breathless at the end of it. Ms. Webb did an amazing job of layering this downward spiral against the every day occurrences to really highlight how close to the edge of insanity those who live by their passion get and the delicate balance needed to not tip over.  

I also very much enjoyed getting the small glimpses at other huge names in the creative world swirling around Camille at the time, such as Monet, Emile Zola and an unhappy, bitter Victor Hugo at the end of his life. These names and many others helped draw the reader into that vibrant yet harsh creative world they all lived in and, for me, made it easy to see how one as sensitive and driven as Camille could lose herself under the weight of talent and ridicule.

One of the saddest aspects of the story was how everyone seemed to leave Camille, if not completely than enough that she was alone to battle her personal demons while funneling her emotions into her sculptures. Yes, Rodin loved her and supported her, both monetarily and creatively, but he didn't seem to see how far gone Camille was. Not even her brother, one of the few people Camille truly loved and trusted, saw the pain Camille was going through or did his best to help her. Her story is both inspiring and tragic and I don't think I will ever be able to forget her.

Rodin's Lover is an exceptional look at a brilliant artist not appreciated as she should have been during her time. While the novel ends somewhat abruptly without going into the end of Camille's life, the story it does tell is so compelling I found it impossible not to look up more about her. This, for me, is the mark of wonderful storytelling and I fully recommend Rodin's Lover to any reader who loves an unforgettable character both blessed with and brought down by her own talent.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I love it, especially when I discovered that the woman on the cover is Camille! To me she comes across as determined and unwavering while also slightly sad, characteristics that marked Camille in the story. The colors, the design the's perfect to me!

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of Rodin's Lover in exchange for an honest review. Be sure to continue below for more information about the author, the book and the rest of the blog tour!

Advance Praise for Rodin's Lover

“Rodin’s Lover is a textured historical novel that captures the indomitable spirit of artist Camille Claudel, a woman whose mighty talent was nearly eclipsed by her potent love for fellow artist Auguste Rodin. Can two passionate, creative talents thrive together or will one flame inevitably consume the other? Webb gracefully explores this ignitable relationship while illuminating Claudel’s untold heartbreak and evocative artwork. A story of human emotion, once raw and malleable, now preserved to lasting stone.” ~ Sarah McCoy, New York Times, USA Today and international bestselling author of The Baker’s Daughter
“Rodin’s Lover is the story of Camille Claudel–one of history’s boldest and most brilliant artists. Forced to choose between a torturous love affair and the art that consumed her, Claudel is an audacious and authentic character who deserves to be remembered. RODIN’S LOVER is epic and unflinching–a book you won’t soon forget.” –Deanna Raybourn, NYT bestselling author and Rita Winner of City of Jasmine waltz
“Rodin’s Lover is an evocative portrait of the talented and explosive Camille Claudel who struggled between passion as the lover of Rodin and recognition as an innovative sculptor in her own right. From smoky cafés to clay-streaked ateliers, Heather Webb has created a vivid picture of Belle Époque Paris.” –Jessica Brockmole, author of Letters from Skye
“Dazzling!….. In Rodin’s Lover, author Heather Webb brings to life, with vivid detail, the story of brilliant and tormented sculptress Camille Claudel and the epic love affair with the legendary sculptor who worshiped her. Deeply moving and meticulously researched, this book will capture your heart, then hold it tightly long after the final page.” –Anne Girard, author of Madame Picasso
“A rich, sensuous novel…[was] written with great empathy for the very human Rodin and his lover, this novel of the visceral world of the 19th century Paris ateliers, of clay-stained dresses and fingernails, lithe models who vow to remain and then go, family love which stays through all difficulties and talent which endures, comes vividly to life.” –Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille: A Novel of Monet
“Rodin’s Lover is a taut and engrossing look at sexism in the arts through the eyes of a lesser known figure, Camille Claudel, inspiring the reader to examine what’s changed and what hasn’t.” –Julie Kibler, bestselling author of Calling Me Home

Buy the Book


About the Author

Heather Webb grew up a military brat and naturally became obsessed with travel, culture, and languages. She put her degrees to good use teaching high school French for nearly a decade before
turning to full time novel writing and freelance editing. Her debut, BECOMING JOSEPHINE, released January 2014 from Plume/Penguin. Her forthcoming novel, RODIN’S LOVER, will release in winter of 2015.

When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world.

For more information, please visit Heather’s website. She loves to chitchat on Twitter with new reader friends or writers (@msheatherwebb), on Facebook, or via her blog. Stop on by!

Rodin's Lover Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 19

Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book

Tuesday, January 20

Review at Broken Teepee
Spotlight at Boom Baby Reviews

Wednesday, January 21

Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, January 22

Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Friday, January 23

Review at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Monday, January 26

Review at Poof Books
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, January 27

Review at Library Educated
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, January 28

Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, January 29

Review at Book Babe
Review at The Book Binder’s Daughter

Friday, January 30

Review at Book Drunkard

Monday, February 2

Review at Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, February 3

Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, February 4

Review at Brooke Blogs

Thursday, February 5

Review at A Book Geek

Friday, February 6

Review at The True Book Addict

Monday, February 9

Review at A Literary Vacation
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, February 10

Spotlight at Historical Fiction Connection

Wednesday, February 11

Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Thursday, February 12

Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight at Historical Readings & Reviews

Friday, February 13

Review at The Maiden’s Court



  1. Great review! This makes me want to read this book even more...or even sooner!! :) Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Lynn!! Oh I hope you do get to read it and you love it as much as I did! If you do read it let me know what you thought!

  2. Very nice review.

    I like how you have questions and then give your response.

    I like covers. This one is awesome.

    I read Becoming Josephine by Ms. was good.

    Have a good week, and thanks for sharing.

    Stopping by from Carole's Books You Loved March Edition. I am in the list as #10.

    My book entry is below. A Memory of Violets is going to be a favorite for this year.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Entry

  3. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for stopping by! I'm off to read your entry now. I'm so glad you loved A Memory of Violets...I have that one and am excited to read it once I get the chance.
    Have a great week!