Ma Jolie and El Diablo or a review of Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

 Eva Gouel (Marcelle Humbert)

Marcelle Humbert (1885-1915) came to Paris with fierce determination and starry eyed dreams of becoming a star. She was working at the Moulin Rouge hiding in the wings backstage sewing costumes for stage actresses during their performances. She longed for the spotlight and found it upon meeting Pablo Picasso. With him she became his third muse, lover, and the woman he truly wanted to marry. For it was with her that he found peace and faithfulness; at least for a little while! She became his ‘Ma jolie’ (my pretty one) in every sense of the word. Their affair began in 1911 until December 1915 upon her sudden death from Tuberculosis or cancer.
Within the pages of, ‘Madame Picasso’ Eva Gouel now stands in the spotlight out of the shadows of Moulin Rouge and into Pablo’s studio. She walks off his canvas radiating energy, youth and innocence coming to life with every word on every page. Author, Anne Girard stays loyal to Pablo Picasso’s life as a womanizer and pulls no punches representing his relationship with Gouel during parts II and III of the novel. They seem to be true soul mates. He feels she understands his needs and temperament. She tames this ‘El Diablo’ of a Spaniard. He in turn takes her innocence, bringing out the woman inside the girl, loving her so deeply, so intimately with such dedication to each other amongst rumors, heated affairs, jealous friends, and alongside the backdrop of World War I France.
I was greatly impressed by the skill and research Anne Girard makes with the life of Eva Gouel (Marcelle Humbert). There is little written or known about this young woman except her short time with one of the greatest painters of all time. Her Author’s Note is of great importance. I highly recommend the beautifully written, ‘Madame Picasso’ by Anne Girard to readers curious about how Ma Jolie tamed her El Diablo!
 Pablo Picasso in 1915 The year Eva Gouel died (note the guitar painting)

Lastly, there are many characters in this novel based upon real artists who became a very important circle of friends during World War I France. For instance, I was introduced to the poetry of Guillame Apollinaire. The author uses it throughout the novel. He apparently led a very interesting life involving the theft of the Mona Lisa! Also, apparently a lot of parties took place at the home of one Gertrude Stein. Oh, if those walls could talk!
 Pablo Picasso Ma Jolie guitar painting

 I hope everyone interested in Picasso during one of his briefest yet most meaningful relationships decides to buy Madame Picasso by Anne Girard. I can’t imagine being bored or disappointed by it!

 Thank you for my review copy in exchange for my review,  Harlequin MIRA Publishers

To anyone wanting to pre-order Madame Picasso by Anne Girard the publishing date is August 26, 2014 available to buy,  Amazon

 Here is a song that kept running through my mind as I was writing my review. To me, it represents the relationship between Picasso and Gouel, El Diablo Amor by Joshua Kadison.


Kevin Marsh said…
Such a lovely photograph of Eva Gouel. A sad story, she died so young and by all accounts Picasso was quite taken by her. C'est la vie you might say!
Thank you Kimberly for sharing this story.
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Kevin,
Yes, she was beautiful wasn't she! Too bad it was a sad ending but a lesson to live your life to the fullest and try and appreciate every moment we have. Enjoy France my friend.
Thank you for stopping by and commenting :)
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Yves,
Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Welcome to my blog :)
Heather Webb said…
What a fabulous review, Kimberly. I can't wait to read this book!
Kimberly Eve said…
Hi Heather,
So glad you liked my review. I know you will love Madame Picasso. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you soon :)