Storybook Reviews: Excerpt – Monet and Oscar by Joe Byrd
At the end of WWI, Oscar, an American soldier, decides to remain in France and sets out to find his father, an impressionist painter whose identity he never knew. Through a twist of fate, Oscar is offered a job working in Monet’s world-famous garden at Giverny. Thus begins a beautiful story filled with art, love, passion, self-discovery, and reconciliation with the past.
Judge, 29th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
I enjoyed your story. You've got a great foundation here. You do a good job taking the reader through Oscar's story with a nice ending that ties up all the threads.
The plot is engaging. It immediately drew me in as I follow Oscar through his quest of trying to find his biological father. Because I cared about him, I was emotionally engaged in the story. I grew angry and frustrated with Isabelle, yet you captured what it was like for a young woman in that time period. There are several plot lines that kept my interest throughout.
This book is exemplary in character appeal (or interest) and development. All main characters (including antagonists) are unique and fully fleshed out with compelling, layered motivations and traits. Secondary characters are unique and have a meaningful purpose.
I enjoy how you have Oscar evolve through what he experiences while working for Monet. The plot with Isabelle and Genevieve was particularly emotional and sad and it changes him. You do a good job showing those changes. Oscar is very likeable and I immediately cared about him. The secondary characters were also well drawn out. From what I've read, you captured Monet's personality beautifully.
I enjoyed meeting Oscar and sharing his quest in trying to figure out who his father is. You do a good job bringing Monet back to life and adding characters and plots that kept my interest throughout.
Reviews on Goodreads
Julie on Goodreads
I absolutely LOVED this book so much!!!! If I could hug it I would, but I have the Kindle version...LOL. If you are a lover of detailed and descriptive writing, flowers and art in any form (specifically Impressionism and Claude Monet), and a good love story, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU!
Joe Byrd did such an outstanding job researching Claude Monet and it shows through and through in this book. The beautiful details of Monet's property in Giverny make you feel like you are there walking around it; from the Japanese bridge, to the water lily pond, to Monet's studio.
The book follows Oscar Bonhomme who has recently been released from a military hospital with injuries from the war. His mother died while he was recovering and he is on a mission to find out who his father is. His mother never told him. She only provided him with one clue; he was an Impressionist painter. Oscar is given a job opportunity to be one of Monet's gardeners prior to leaving the hospital and he accepts.
Following Oscar's journey was exciting and I loved all of the gardening details along the way, along with his dramatic, rocky, steamy relationship with the beautiful and fashionable Isabelle.
Denise on Goodreads
This is the most enjoyable novel, that I have read this year. It is the first novel, where I actually stopped reading every once in awhile and took the time to imagine, what the characters, especially Oscar, really looked like, considering all the trials he had been through, especially being a soldier in the trenches, wounded and suffering from PTSD. And thought about how his life affected his character and how this shaped his relationships with others. The author's rich details, especially the foods they enjoyed, the clothes they wore, the outings they took for relaxation from their hard, every day work had me fully immersed in their world. Having a love of gardening and a love of art, made this book the perfect read for me.
Jane on Goodreads
Just a delightful, entertaining read. The book is primarily about love - friendship love, filial love, romantic love, community love - woven carefully throughout. And the knowledge I gained about Monet was just the icing on the cake. I also think it could be converted into a screenplay quite well.
Amy on Goodreads
The talents of Joe Byrd shines through in his debut, Monet and Oscar. I thought this read was pretty good. As an artist, I enjoyed the historical details and learning more about Claude Monet. It was entertaining to get a glimpse of the author’s vision of how he lived. I was instantly drawn to the character of Oscar. I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen with him next. It was an interesting and unique story to read. I really liked it.
Karen on Goodreads
MONET & OSCAR is a wonderful historical fiction novel with mystery, romance, and adventure. There were twists and surprises throughout that kept the story moving and me turning the pages. I recommend this book for readers of historical fiction, those who would enjoy a satisfying tale featuring one of the greatest Impressionist artists, and even someone who would love to experience this time and place in France without leaving home to do so.
R.K. Emery on Goodreads
Wow, this is REALLY well done. The author brings you plenty of history, you think you will get some with Monet being in the title, but the number of figures the characters come in contact with will astound you. It's great that Joe Byrd has so cleverly painted this story. It's full of rich history as well as a storyline that will completely draw in the reader from the start. Well done!
Amy on Goodreads
This amazingly well written story had many twists and turns that I simply couldn't put it down. Definite page turner and a truly beautiful story! 5 stars