"Based on a real story" can be the biggest challenge to an author. One the positive side, the "real story" delivers many of the elements of a novel, such as plot, setting, and characters. However, real life is nothing like a novel. Reality tends to be chaotic and meaningless, while a novel is orderly and structured. This novel follows the life and times of Camille Pissarro, the reader might not.
Given the subject, the book could have been a harsh commentary on the brutality of the time, but instead it is a poignant love story. Page by page, Hoffman is a wonderful writer and a pleasure to read. However, I found the book a bit hard to follow.
We arrived in Marseille, where we spent a few days at a hotel on a bluff overlooking the cold Atlantic.I can't imagine why this city was moved from the warm Mediterranean to the cold Atlantic.