Book Review – The Muralist

Book:  The Muralist

Author:  B.A. Shapiro

This book is a historical fiction novel with fictional characters interacting with real-life persons and events.

I read this author’s other novel entitled The Art Forger a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the same love for this book.  The main character, Alizee Benoit, is an American artist living and working in New York.  She had been hired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which was a government project to put the unemployed to work during the depression.  Her parents had been killed in an explosion when she was a young child and all her other family was in France.

The story flips between the current day and the beginning of World War II prior to America joining the war.  I enjoyed learning more about the occupation of France and how America, under the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt, told the world that they were open to Jews immigrating to America where in fact, the government official in charge of approving visas, was deliberately not approving them because he was anti-Semitic.  Eleanor Roosevelt played a substantive role in the story whereby she befriends the fictional character, Alizee, and tries to assist her in bringing her family over from France.

The reason I only gave this book three stars was because I just wasn’t all that interested in Alizee’s backstory and artist’s life.  I didn’t find the character at all compelling when compared to the character in The Art Forger.  While I am glad I read the book because I learned more about the United States’ role in pre-World War II, the character’s story just didn’t intrigue me enough to rate it higher.

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