My Favorite Author
August 09, 2010
When I was asked to write about my favorite author, I felt it would be impossible to choose just one. I have always enjoyed reading; my earliest memories involve a book. How do I choose just one? Since my favorite books all seem to be historical fiction, I chose Tracy Chevalier, one of several excellent authors of this genre.
Tracy Rose Chevalier was born October 16, 1962 in Washington, D.C. After a lengthy illness, her mother died when she was eight. "From kindergarten to eighth grade, I went to public schools in Washington, D.C. and had the experience of being a white student in a school that was 90 percent black. So, I got a little taste of what it's like to be a minority. When I was 13, we moved to the suburbs--what a shock it was to walk into eighth grade classes to a sea of white faces! Sometimes, I wonder if that's why I tend to write about outsiders--people put in situations where they are foreigners."* She graduated from Oberlin College and became a reference book editor. Her career as an author began when she quit her job, moved to England, and earned an M.A. in creative writing. She later married an Englishman and became the mother of one son.
Girl With A Pearl Earring was the first book I read by her. This novel is about Griet, a young girl hired by Johannes Vermeer to clean his studio. She is eventually convinced to pose for a portrait, and in doing so, causes problems for the artist. I was completely absorbed by the characters and tightly constructed storyline. I could see her characters as being real. It is apparent she has done considerable research into the history of this period. Lady and the Unicorn is another wonderful novel by her and shows the same level of research. This book is based on six tapestries by unknown artesians, that today hang in the Cluny museum in Paris. Her careful attention to detail made it real; I could smell the aromas and feel textures she described in this book.
If you enjoy learning something, as well as being entertained, I highly recommend you read one of Ms. Chevalier’s books. I don’t think you will be disappointed.
*"Tracy Chevalier." Authors & Artists for Young Adults, Volume 46. Gale Group, 2002. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2010. http://galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/BioRC