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Susan Vreeland Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

What Love Sees (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Girl in Hyacinth Blue (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Passion of Artesisia (2001) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Forest Lover (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Luncheon of the Boating Party (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Clara and Mr. Tiffany (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lisette's List (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

What English Teachers Want (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Susan Vreeland is an American author of fiction novels. She was born in 1946 and in her lifetime became internationally known for her works involving historical fiction revolving around art, a theme that has occupied many of her novels. Her well-received novel The Passion of Artemisia was published in 2001 and was a fictionalized foray into some true historical aspects of the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi’s life.Four of her books are New York Times Best Sellers, including Clara and Mr. Tiffany.

Her first fictional novel published was titled What Love Sees. It was published in 1988. Over ten years later, Girl in Hyacinth Blue was published. That story focused on a Vermeer painting that had existed through the centuries. Later books written by Vreeland also focus on art, including The Forest Lover. This 2004 novel focused on the exploits of Emily Carr, a British Columbian painter that interacted with native peoples and cultures.

Her 2007 novel Luncheon of the Boating Party also dealt with the topic of art and artists. It follows the reveal of a masterpiece by Renoir. Along the way, the reader gets to see the personalities that were involved in its creation, as well as get to experience the lively nature of a creative and youthful Paris in the late nineteenth century. Her 2004 collection Life Stories also features art, compiling a variety of stories about Impressionist painters as well as contemporary individuals coming into contact with art.

She has been the winner of the Theodor Geisel Award three times from the San Diego Book Awards. Susan Vreeland’s books have also been translated into over twenty-five languages. Her books are often selected as Book Sense Picks. Before writing full time, she worked as an English teacher in a high school in San Diego for three decades. This informed her first and only nonfiction novel, What English Teachers Want, published in 1996. She is also the author of the 2014 novel Lisette’s List.

What Love Sees is Susan Vreeland’s first fictional novel. It is the story of a couple who are blind but refuse to be limited by their conditions. The novel is inspired by Vreeland’s experiences in real life with a couple and family in 1983 and she put that inspiration to paper for the purpose of sharing their lives.

The main character of this novel is Jean Treadway. She is a cultured and young New England woman who lives in the lap of luxury. She is fortunate enough to have wealthy parents and she has quite the lifestyle that you would expect for a young woman for whom money is no object. Although her parents allow her to spend and fulfill every material need that she has, they are also fairly protective but also keep a close eye on her.

When Jean is introduced to Forrest Holly through arranged correspondence, she doesn’t know what to think. He is a poor rancher in southern California and at first glance, they couldn’t seem more different. Forrest has a deep and rooted spiritual foundation, and Jean has a preference for a nice lifestyle. But they do share at least one thing in common: they are both blind and have had to adapt to it all of their lives.

But as Jean gets to know the rancher more, she discovers that they really do have a lot more in common than expected. Just like Jean, Forrest has always been determined to live a normal life just like anybody else and also raise a family. They don’t want to let their lack of sight stop them from having the same shot at life that everyone else seems to have.

They each were unique in their blindness as well. Jean was actually one of the first women in the nation to use an official Seeing Eye dog while walking the streets in the late thirties, something that came to be standard practice as more and more humans relied on their four-pawed companions for sight cues. Forrest also used animals, but his Seeing Eye animals were a bull and his horses that he would use to guide himself around the ranch in the forties.

Jean and Forrest started off as strangers, but they quickly develop a easy rapport. But while they are not present beside each other in spirit, they find a correspondence when they listen to the letters that they write each other. The folksy humor and the earnest nature of the simple rancher are enough to slowly win her heart, and the two eventually fall in love.

As they connect to each other, even though they are from different backgrounds, the pair slowly discovers that they cannot bear to be apart ever again. They come together, get married, and have four children together– each their own person. Together as a unit, they persevere through challenges and frustrations that come up through life and support each other throughout everything. Pick up this charming debut novel from Vreeland and follow the amazing origin story of a couple and a family unlike any other.

Girl in Hyacinth Blue is Vreeland’s second fictional novel. This interesting second novel from Vreeland takes the reader to the world of the talented painter Vermeer. Based on the real artist, when a painting begins to change ownership and hands, long-forgotten and hidden, repressed information beings to come to the surface. A celebration of Vermeer and his life’s work, this novel is a stunning and art-focused story that varies in the best way from What Love Sees and is a masterful blend of truth and fiction that is interlaced with a true appreciation for the artist.

The characters in this novel all have an admiration and love for this one painting by Vermeer, and the way that they intersect can be surprising. Full of moments that seem brought to life, readers will enjoy this introspective and reflective novel from Vreeland that focuses on the appeal of beauty, its transformative power, what lasts among the ticking of time, and the things in our lives that are simply unforgettable. Pick up the Girl in Hyacinth Blue and see for yourself!

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