The only thing that makes a good story better is if the story happens to be about one of the greatest social scandals in history.
A well-told art history story is such a rare and delicious treat that when you come across one, it's worth talking about non-stop to anyone who will tolerate you.
Enter Strapless, the story of how painter John Singer Sargent ruined a young woman's entire life by omitting from her portrait a dab of black paint roughly the size of a dime.
This isn't just the story of a painting, though. This is a peek into the lives of high society Parisians and the birth of high society in New Orleans. It's also a historical look at the fashion industry, which was largely responsible for keeping France afloat during the war. Who knew?
You'll want to keep you iPad nearby so you can paintings the author references, and look up notable characters on Wikipedia. Good companions for this book are Sargent: Portraits of Artists and Friends and Sargent's Daughters: The Biography of a Painting.
And, if you insist, plane tickets to New York City and tickets to The Met where you can see the scandalous portrait of Madame X for yourself. Otherwise, come see us this weekend in between chapters. We have amazing new art for fall, and we'd love to help you find your new favorite. Promise, no scandals.