Random fact about Heather: I’m not a huge art history person. Personally, I’d rather read art than look at a painting. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the beauty or recognize the skill involved (skills that I definitely do not have!); it’s just that I don’t feel the draw that many do to study and love art. So when someone talks to me about the works of Rembrandt or Degas or Manet (not Monet because he I can appreciate as evidenced by the poster hanging in my basement), I sort of blank stare until I can google their paintings and jog my memory as to what they are known for. Don’t ask me what Van Gogh did, unless you’re talking about Starry Night (I love that painting) or anything he did on his episode of Doctor Who, because I won’t be able to tell you. I’ll just ask you if he’s the one who cut off his ear–he is, I googled it ;). I’m just not that into art. It’s sad but true. However, a book where art comes to life and starts to decay, and a quest to fix everything before it’s too late…I can handle that!
If there is one thing that stands out about Starry Night, it’s the imagery. Even for someone like me who is not an art aficionado, it works. I could see everything that happened and put myself in these far away places that I’ve never visited. Since I love movies like Night at the Museum and Jumanji, this was right up my alley. I was constantly googling the different paintings just to more fully immerse myself in the story. It was utterly gorgeous, and despite my typically apathetic relationship with art, it was actually my favorite part of this novel.
Where Starry Night fell short was in the over all development of plot and characters. Clio and Julien came across as very flat, and while I wanted them to get their “happily ever after,” I was never fully invested in their story. I kept having to remind myself that Julien was French and that seemed a little strange to me. It’s not that I expected him to say, “Oui, oui” all the time or something. He just sounded very American. There was also way too much insta-love going on. The overall plot was enjoyable, but it was rather predictable and left me wanting more depth or a twist or something.
Overall, Starry Nights is an intriguing glimpse into France and its rich artistic collections. While it fell short in many ways for me, it was a very enjoyable read.