Title: Stolen Beauty
By: Laurie Lico Albanese
Call #: AF Lico Albanese
Artist Gustav Klimt is probably best known for The Kiss, although it is his Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer that is the root of this novel and an international legal drama decades later. Adele Bloch-Bauer is an independent and modern woman who desires knowledge, culture, and free-thinking, characteristics best kept suppressed during the late 1800s and early 1900s. When she meets Gustav Klimt, she discovers someone who speaks to her soul through body, mind, and art as the world around her crumbles with anti-Semitism. Interwoven through Adele’s story, is the tale of her beloved niece Maria Altman during the time when the Nazi took over Austria. As her family is pulled apart, Maria draws inspiration from her aunt’s memory to get through this trying time and find a way to escape. Maria’s story extends far beyond the time of the Nazi into the late 1990s as she tries to reclaim her aunt’s famous portrait that had been seized by the Nazi’s and became a symbol of Austria.
Stolen Beauty is a fascinating work of historical fiction. Both Adele and Maria are captivating characters that draw you in with their strength and perseverance through the unrest of the world around them. This is a must-read for art lovers and fans of historical fiction.
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