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Critical Praise

"Diliberto's writing brings Virginie to life...creating a complex woman who recognizes that her beauty is her most precious commodity....Highly recommended."

——Library Journal

"Lively and provocative...Diliberto has created a heroine who is as capricious and vain and as compelling and seductive as [Sargent's] portrait suggests."


"What a delicious book this is, half verifiable public history, half imagined private confession. Anyone who has ever stood before a painting trying to imagine its "real story" -- and better yet, a story about art, love, war, and beauty, gorgeously costumed, unfolding in fascinating times and settings -- will find Gioia Diliberto's speculations both provocative and plausible, a very satisfying treat for their inner gossip!"

——Rosellen Brown, Author of Half a Heart

"Imagining her way into mesmerizing terrain, Gioia Diliberto has conjured a compelling memoir "by" Virginie Gautreau, the Madame X of John Singer Sargent's notorious portrait. Diliberto's heroine is a startlingly contemporary woman who begins life in New Orleans and whose beauty and sexual courage take Paris by storm at the dawn of the Belle Epoque. Madame X, the masterpiece that nearly ended Sargent's career, reigns serenely now, a jewel in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art -- like Diliberto's beguiling novel, a cautionary reminder that an intelligent woman can turn scandal to her own ends."

——Honor Moore, Author of The White Blackbird