March New and Noteworthy Historical Fiction

Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier.
The author of Girl with a Pearl Earring turns her focus this time on 18th century London. The plot centers on young Jem, the fresh-from-the-country chairmaker’s son and Maggie, a poor, sexy firebrand. Their coming-of-age story is to be the inspiration for Songs of Innocence and Experience by Willilam Blake, who makes a cameo appearance as a neighbor. “An easy pleasure to read”.

The God of Spring* by Arabella Edge
“Sparkling, …gorgeous” novel (indeed high praise from the reviewers at Kirkus) of the birth of the classical painting The Raft of Medusa, by French artist, Theodore Gericault.
Six years after winning the Gold Medal at the Paris Salon, Gericault was casting about for a subject to paint and was soon consumed by the Medusa disaster of 1816, when a frigate carrying 400 went aground off the coast of Africa. “This is a thoughtful and richly imagined story about the darker aspects of the artistic process and the costs of obsession”. A good read, especially for art lovers.

* = starred review.