Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Freebie: I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira

Congratulations to Rhonda Lomazow, winner of last week's Friday Freebies: The Promise by Ann Weisgarber and The Fountain of St. James Court by Sena Jeter Naslund.

This week's book giveaway is a hardback edition of the new novel by Robin Oliveira, I Always Loved You.  Oliveira, the New York Times bestselling author of My Name Is Mary Sutter, has written a fascinating novel about Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas’s great romance.  Here's how the publisher describes the book:
The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary’s fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships. In I Always Loved You, Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Belle Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.
John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner, had this to say about the book: "In artfully crafted prose as penetrating and radiant as an Impressionist masterpiece, Robin Oliveira’s moving portrait of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas is a poignant reminder that beneath the majestic sweep of history and ideas are men and women with yearnings and trepidations as urgent and palpable as our own.  I Always Loved You evokes, in brilliant detail, the nuances of culture, art, and society in the cafés and salons of late-nineteenth-century Paris while bringing to life the spellbinding whirl of artists, writers, and savants who made La Belle Époque legendary."

At her website, Oliveira explains the inspiration behind I Always Loved You: "I have always loved ballet and Edgar Degas's paintings of the ballet.  The inspiration for the book came when I learned that at the end of her life Mary Cassatt had not only burned all the letters that she had ever received from Edgar Degas, but that upon his death, she had retrieved from his studio all the letters that she had ever written to him and later burned them, too.  Because of this, the nature of their relationship has always been a puzzle to biographers and historians.  Were they in love?  What happened between them?  Had they ever been lovers?  This type of gap in the historical record is the entry point for historical fiction—at least it is to me."

If you’d like a chance at winning a copy of I Always Loved You, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on May 15, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on May 16.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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