Avon, Oct 13 2009, $14.99
In 1888 in Arles, France, prostitute Rachel Courteau takes a needed time out from her brothel life that she embraced out of necessity when her parents died. She hides in a garden from the nasty cracks of the good citizens, but soon falls asleep. She is awakened by a thirty something red haired male who has secretly sketched her nap.
Rachel assumes her visitor, the crazed artist Vincent Van Gogh is another client. He arranges a tryst but brings with him wildflowers. He begs her to let him paint her instead of sleeping with her as she expected. As their relationship blossoms in spite of his increasing bouts madness, she meets his friend Gauguin while wondering if she can ever be free of being a fille de maison as increasingly she believes it will not be with Van Gogh consumed by his lunacy.
Rachel is the key to this terrific look at the life of Van Gogh as she brings freshness to the artist and the period. As Sheramy Bundrick notes in her afterward, there is little known about the real Rachel so the author took liberties with her, but tried to remain true to what is considered factual about Van Gogh; she succeeds. Fans of historical biographical fiction will want to read SUNFLOWERS, as art professor Sheramy Bundrick captures the essence of Vincent Van Gogh’s Lust for Life (by Irving Stone) through Rachel’s first person perceptions of the artist and his work especially SUNFLOWERS.