Monday, March 25, 2013

"Portraits of an Artist," by Mary F. Burns

All five-star reviews for this compelling work of historical fiction from Mary F. Burns. "Set in the Europe of 1882, the writing is richly subtle and each character exquisitely drawn. In the end of this fascinating novel, it is the portrait of the young artist himself, still an enigma, which lingers in the reader's mind. Wonderful writing!"

Portraits of an Artist: A Novel about John Singer Sargent, by Mary F. Burns

"John Singer Sargent painted some of the most compelling and psychologically revealing portraits of his day, while remaining an enigma to those who knew him. Burns skillfully brings the subjects of his portraits to life, telling their stories in their own voices as the mystery of who Sargent really is, and the culture that both supported and constrained him, is gradually and artfully revealed.”
-- Laurel Corona, author of Finding Emilie, Penelope’s Daughter, The Four Seasons

John Singer Sargent was an enigmatic figure in his private life—he never married, but was intimate with many of the fin de si├Ęcle celebrities in Paris, London, Venice: Henry James, Oscar Wilde, Edward Burne-Jones, Sarah Bernhardt. In 1882, Sargent was twenty-six and rising rapidly to fortune and fame, especially in Paris—but by the end of 1884, he had retreated from the City of Lights, disgraced and grieving, to make a new home in London. During these years, Sargent produced what are considered to be his finest paintings, especially the Daughters of Edward Darley Boit and Madame X, haunting portraits with dark psychological depths that engage and puzzle the viewer. Mary F. Burns’ second work of historical fiction—Portraits of an Artist—imaginatively portrays the motivations and passions behind Sargent’s creative force and brilliant art.

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Meet the Author

Mary Burns' debut historical novel "J - The Woman Who Wrote the Bible" was published in July 2010 by UK/US publisher O-Books. She has written a second historical set in Paris, 1882, about the painter John Singer Sargent, titled PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST, which is available now (as of Jan. 28, 2013) online and in stores from The Sand Hill Review Press. She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders) which is set in an old-fashioned neighborhood of San Francisco, and features amateur detective Cynthia Montrose and her lovable English bulldogs Roscoe and Kiwi.

Ms. Burns began to concentrate on creative fiction with a short story that won a prize at the 2000 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference. Before that, she had written and performed poetry in various San Francisco cafes. In 2004, she was an invited participant at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers conference in Lake Tahoe, California. In July, 2005, her short story "The Sound of Dreaming" won the JerryJazzMusician Short Fiction contest, and is featured on their website ( In December 2005, her short story "Learning to Fly" won first place in the 15th Dame Lisbet Throckmorton short fiction contest, at

Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois, grew up in the western suburb of LaGrange, and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English; she also holds a law degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

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