Rosemary is fifteen and gloriously free, on her own for the very first time. Part of an exchange program for aspiring artists, she arrives in sunny southern France with a single goal: she doesn’t plan to leave, ever. She wants a new life, a new family, and a new identity. But her situation, crafted from lies big and small, is precarious.
Desperate to escape haunting images from her past and a stage one helicopter parent, Rosemary struggles to hide her lack of artistic talent and a communication disorder that has tormented her all her life. She believes her dream of a new start will come true, until she unwittingly finds herself enveloped in a decades-old mystery that threatens to ruin her only chance for success. Determined to stay, Rosemary must choose whether or not she’ll tell the biggest lie of all, even if it means destroying the life of someone she cares about.
Dramatic, heartwarming, and full of teenage angst, The French Impressionist perfectly captures the struggle of those who feel they have no voice, and also shows the courage it takes to speak up and show the world who we really are.
*I received this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
You know when you get those books, the ones that you're really excited about when you read the synopsis and then you start reading, all excited only to have your hopes quickly dashed. That was sort of this book for me. I thought the premise of this book was great, but unfortunately, that's where it stopped.
Rosemary, to begin with, was not a very likable character. I found it hard to root for her when I didn't particularly like her.
My main issue with this book, however, was that I just didn't buy into it. Rosemary comes from this family where she's been drastically overprotected her whole life. Her mom never lets her be alone, she picks her one friend and locks her in her room each night. So, my issue is, how exactly does a girl with a parent so protective, end up getting her mom to agree to her going away, alone, to an art program? If her mom won't even let her go to school unless she works in that school, and she won't let her be alone with her friend, how did she pull that one off? It makes no sense to me. I know she mentions how her mom's boyfriend helped to convince her mom and they hadn't told her it was in France, but still. If he can help her sneak off to France while convincing her mom to let her go away to an art program, how come he can't convince her mom to just ease off a little?
Speaking of the mom's boyfriend, this is one of the things that made me really dislike Rosemary. He helped her, had been nice to her, yet she was willing to spread horrible rumors about him in order to escape her mom's overprotection. Urg!
Moving onto her time in France, I found it annoying at best. The whole mystery thing seemed to lack any real plot or mystery to it, mostly it was just random and dull.
Her speech impediment was never really fully explained or handled in any way. It was just strange. If you're making this a part of your character, then make it a part of your character!
The synopsis talks about her wanting to escape haunting images from her past, but once again this wasn't developed. What images? What bad things happened in her past!? Why tempt us with descriptions of a novel that sounds great, then don't put any of it in there! URG!
I didn't understand why they had Gavin at all, his character didn't really add anything and if it was supposed to be a romance, it was way underdeveloped.
The whole theme seems to be that this book had such potential, but there were things in it that weren't needed and added nothing. Then you had good parts that were entirely left out. It was hard to read by the end.
Which leads me to my final point. The ending. What was that ending!? How is it that suddenly every character, even the random ones connected to the weak mystery plot, were there at the end? How did her mom manage to track her down? Yes by now she'd told her friend that she was in Nice, not Paris like everyone previously thought, or still in America like her mom thought, but I'm sorry, how did her mom manage to track her down to the exact apartment in Nice, with no other details than that she was in Nice? If there was a viable reason, it was never given.
The ending was rushed, random and didn't really pull anything together. I was left feeling frustrated. I wanted to love this book, I just couldn't. This was definitely not the book for me, which was a shame because it had such huge potential.