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The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

The Gallery of Vanished Husbands

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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

July 2014 Book of the Month.

A lovely, unpredictable read where you really do not see what’s coming next. There is a lot going on, lots of strong, diverse characters, lots of humour, lots of life. I loved it. It takes time to unfold to find its direction but when Juliet uses her savings designed for a new fridge on a portrait instead and slowly enters the vibrant post war art world, we know where we are going. She ends up running a gallery and making a name for herself. Mesmerising, charming and full of warmth, it is about a Jewish woman, deserted by her husband, so left socially dead, rising to make something of her life. Wonderful stuff.

If you like Natasha Solomons you might also like to read books by Sadie Jones, Ian McEwan and Paul Torday.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Sarah Musk - 'What an intelligent, interesting, well-written book...Natasha Solomons writes beautifully...I would recommend this book to anyone who loves strong, clever central female characters.' Read full review >
  • Edel Waugh - 'Art could be more than just beautiful, it could let someone express themselves completely.... I recommend this to everyone who likes a book with a bit of a mystery.' Read full review >
  • Angie Rhodes - 'With a great cast of unusual characters and a story that meanders dreamily..., you can't help but be caught up in the magic of this lovely novel.' Read full review >
  • Joanne Nuttie - 'This book intrigued me, it's nothing like I've ever read before, but from the start I wanted to know more.' Read full review >
  • Nicola Kingswell - 'A beautifully written tale of art, Judaism, family and relationships set in 1950’s and 1960’s London.... I adored this book and savoured every word.' Read full review >
  • Jane Brown - 'I really enjoyed this book. I had not come across this author before and was so glad I have now found a great new author.' Read full review >
  • Jocelyn Garvey - 'I really liked this book and became totally involved within it. There are moments of sadness and moments of fun, but overall it is a well told story of survival and love.' Read full review >
  • Joan Sidwell - 'This is a fairly gentle and at times very humorous book....  The details of a Jewish upbringing are extremely interesting and enjoyable, the narrative flows well and doesn’t lose its pace.' Read full review >
  • Jayne Burton - 'Was looking forward to reading this and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read it in one go as really needed to find out what happened in her life.' Read full review >
  • Teresa O'Halloran - 'If you love women's fiction, and enjoy a bit of romance then this could be the book for you. Not too taxing on the brain it would make an excellent beach read.' Read full review >
  • Glenda Worth - 'A warm novel which is a gentle read but keeps you wanting to read more.' Read full review >
  • Judith Cooper - 'I found this book a lovely read, slow moving at times but none the less a very well written and thought provoking novel that I would recommend to others. Read full review >
  • Kate Thacker - 'Natasha Solomon does emotion but giggling laugh out loud humour too, great book!!' Read full review >
  • Clare Turner - 'The book is skillfully written and although an easy read, it really repays slower and more reflective reading. The characters are well drawn and entertaining, especially Juliet’s family, and she herself is never dull!' Read full review >
  • Julie Collins - 'Juliet's story, whilst not always a happy one, will resonate with anyone who has ever felt like an outsider.' Read full review >


The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons

At thirty a woman has a directness in her eye. Juliet Montague did anyhow. She knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted to buy a refrigerator. But in a rash moment, Juliet commissions a portrait of herself instead. She has been closeted by her conservative Jewish community for too long, ever since her husband disappeared. Now she is ready to be seen. So begins the journey of a suburban wife and mother into the heart of '60s London and its thriving art world, where she proves an astute spotter of talent. Yet she remains an outsider: drawn to a reclusive artist who never leaves Dorset and unable to feel free until she has tracked down her husband - a quest that leads to California and a startling discovery.


'Captivates you with its charm, quirkiness and old-fashioned storytelling' Daily Mail

'This charming, mesmerising story is ultimately about the triumph of the human spirit, not the caging of it ... Solomons has created a warm, luscious read that brims with passion and skilfully evokes a bygone era when only married women could be prescribed the Pill, when the sexual revolution was just beginning and when children were cheerfully given cherry brandy as a sleeping draught . It is a beautifully written tale about a woman who was left socially dead but rose again by seizing life.' The Times

'The Gallery of Vanished Husbands is a colourful and captivating tale of a woman shedding her skin.' Stylist

'Natasha Solomons typically binds her themes with her gift as a storyteller. Many times I had to stop and gasp for air at some incredible revelation. But mostly this is a portrait of a woman. Solomons doesn't tell us Juliet is beautiful, but you know she is from the way her head and heart behave and the way the men in her orbit adore her.' Sydney Morning Herald

'This brilliant novel is infused with empathy and humour. I adored it.' Irish Examiner

'A luminous book - passionate, rich and touching.' Sainsburys Magazine

'The loose and liberated art world of the 1960s in the setting for The Gallery of Vanished Husbands, a charming tale by Natasha Solomons. After having her portrait painted, a newly abandoned wife breaks free from her uptight upbringing to find a new love and life.' Good Housekeeping

'Solomons creates in Juliet a detailed character portrait of a woman who exhibits strength and poise under less than ideal conditions. Each chapter tells the story of one of Juliet's paintings and of important events in her life, and readers will respond to the realistic and beautifully flawed characteristics assigned to her.' Library Journal

About the Author

Natasha Solomons

Natasha Solomons is the author of the bestselling Mr Rosenblum's List and The Novel in the Viola, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Natasha Lives in Dorset with her son and her husband with whom she also writes screenplays. Her novels have been translated into 17 languages.

Author photo © David Solomons

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Book Info

Publication date

19th June 2014


Natasha Solomons

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Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division


352 pages


Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Family Drama
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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