Danika reviews The Last Nude by Ellis Avery

This book is so good. Like emily m danforth, Ellis Avery has managed to shoot near the top of my list of authors to watch out for after only reading one book of hers. The Last Nude is a beautiful, evocative story of a bittersweet romance between a painter and a model during 1920s Paris. I say that I don’t usually like historical fiction, but after reading Sarah Waters’s books and The Last Nude, I may have to change my mind. Avery based her story around the biographical fact that Tamara de Lempicka had a brief relationship with her model, Rafaela, and produces six paintings of her during that time. As well, the last painting Lempicka was working on before she died was Beautiful Rafela. Avery imagines their whole relationship in exquisite detail. 1920s Paris is carefully rendered, and there are cameos from 1920s celebrities, authors, and fellow queer women, such as Gertrude Stein. The famous French bookstore Shakespeare & Company also plays a role. The Last Nude is also just written beautifully. Rafaela is a very compelling narrator. She’s only 17 and falls head over heels for Tamara–she is passionate and very likeable. The Last Nude also convinced me to seek out Lempicka’s paintings, to provide context to the story. I highly recommend The Last Nude, and I can’t wait to pick up Avery’s previous novel, The Teahouse Fire.

5 Replies to “Danika reviews The Last Nude by Ellis Avery”

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