Staff Recommendation: Jessie Barton’s second novel, The Muse, is a captivating story set
between 1960’s London and 1930’s Spain. Intelligent and ambitious Odelle
Bastien arrives in London from Trinidad in the summer of 1967. After a
difficult and wearisome start working in a shoe shop she eventually
finds employment in the Skelton Institute, an exclusive art gallery.
Marjorie Quick, the gallery’s eccentric co-director, sees her potential
and becomes a mentor to Odelle. She encourages and sponsors her creative
writing talent. When a lost masterpiece is brought to the gallery by
Lawrie, a friend of Odelle’s, the mystery behind it draws them all into
a closer relationship. The picture dates back to the early years of the
Spanish civil war. The tale of how and where it was created and how
Lawrie came to inherit it is an exciting and complex tale of romance,
mystery and art.