This is a book about love, passion, art and madness. Set in the last few years of his life, this is a book about Vincent Van Gogh and a woman who loved him. Told from the perspective of Rachel, a prostitute in Arles, France who imagined something better from her life, Sunflowers tells the story of the two lovers fighting against obsession and oncoming madness. Rachel struggles to keep her love and the hope it has given her afloat as the eccentric artist becomes more engrossed and depressed with his art and lack of success.
Beautifully written and well researched, Sheramy Bundrick does a great job in writing one of my favorite novels. This book would be great for fans of historical fiction similar to The Paris Wife and Call Me Zelda.
In July 1888, in a public garden in Arles, France, Vincent van Gogh meets a young woman who will change his life forever. He came to Arles to escape the strains of Paris and find a different light for his painting. Meeting Rachel was the spark he needed to rededicate himself. Feeding off the energy of this fascinating woman, fighting the hopelessness deep inside him, Vincent throws himself into his work, .
Rachel, desperate to flee the shame of village scandal, is drawn to the loneliness she senses in this strange man. Filled with dreams and a love of life, Rachel strikes up an unexpected friendship with the mysterious foreigner. As she and Vincent grow closer, Rachel comes to believe that the man everyone gossips about could be the love she longs for.
But as time passes, she gains a deeper insight into a man struggling with personal demons. Can Vincent′s growing attachment to Rachel save him? And will Rachel find the strength to stand by a man she has come to care for deeply, even as he spirals into darkness?
Sheramy Bundrick is an art historian and professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Sunflowers is her first novel.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Bundrick’s well-executed historical-fiction debut will appeal to readers interested in artists and the dark forces that shape their fates.”
Sheramy Bundrick, an art historian writing her first novel, is up to the task. She conjures a poignant but ill-fated romance in 1888 Arles, France, between the mentally fragile painter and an obscure historical figure, a prostitute named Rachel. Fans of Girl With a Pearl Earring, take note.
— USA Today