Water Lily Dance

Written by Michelle Muriel
Review by Viviane Crystal

Missouri, 2014: “I have to find what’s missing so I can move beyond those memories, find what they stole from me, what I lost. Maybe that’s why it’s called loss.” This is the core of Sophie Noel’s journey in this warm, passionate, and life-changing story. Sophie is the daughter of a famous artist, Josephine du Lue, and both are obsessed with Claude Monet’s art and his famous Water Lily Garden.

Paris, 1865: It’s also about Camille, Monet’s wife, a woman torn between her needs and the love of the man who preferred to be alone, so enmeshed was he in the art he was creating, an art that moved beyond the acceptance or rejection of Paris’s famous Salon Judges.

Light and color are everything to these three women. Monet is Sophie’s imaginary friend and as important to her as he was to Camille, long gone. But Sophie has also lost her father, brother and her mother and is paralyzed by grief.

Monet’s goal is perfectly described: “I wish to record our time, nature as it happens before my eyes. Not as a day – in moments, with feeling in the vibrant palette God provides.”  Lavender, blue, pink and yellow were colors adored by Monet and all three women, along with light shining on and through water and objects in water – lily pads, toads, etc. Muriel’s novel lets readers dance and drink with them in the famous Mirabelle ball of Paris, enjoy the talks and fun with friends Renoir and Bazille, and visit Monet’s exhibitions with Sophie, beauty personified. Imagination is at the heart of this superb novel, imagination that builds, rends, and immortalizes. Muriel offers a story beyond words – exquisitely sad, loving, and healing historical fiction.