Spotlight & Giveaway: Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick

Posted July 14th, 2016 by in Blog, Spotlight / 32 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Serena Burdick to HJ! 

Hi Serena and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Girl in the Afternoon!

Girl in the AfternoonBorn into a wealthy Parisian family at the center of Belle Epoque society, 18-year-old Aimée Savaray dreams of becoming a respected painter in the male-dominated art world; and secretly, she also dreams of being loved by Henri, the boy her parents took in as a child and raised alongside her.

But when Henri inexplicably disappears, in the midst of the Franco-Prussian war, the Savarays’ privileged lives begin to unravel. Heartbroken, Aimée tries to find him, but Henri doesn’t want to be found—and only one member of the family knows why.

As Aimée seeks refuge in the art world, mentored by the Impressionist Édouard Manet, she unwittingly finds her way back to Henri. With so many years gone by and secrets buried, their eventual reunion unmasks the lies that once held the family together, but now threaten to tear them apart.

A rich and opulent saga, Girl in the Afternoon brings the Impressionists to life in this portrait of scandal, fortune, and unrequited love.

Fun Facts about Girl in the Afternoon:

  • GIRL IN THE AFTERNOON emerged on a spring day in Brooklyn as my sister and I sat watching our children disappear into the maelstrom of a Park Slope playground. My sister, who is a visual artist, was insisting that I write a novel set in Paris at the time of the impressionists; while I, the little sister, fiercely resisted, countering that I knew nothing about nineteenth century Paris. Do your research, she said. I have no story, I replied. Find one, she said. The lesson here is that big sisters are full of good advice.
  • I took literary license by including one fictional painting of Edouard Manet’s, Jeune Femme. All of his other paintings are accurate to the year they showed at the Salon de Paris.
  • Jacques was not a part of the original story. He came to me suddenly, in the very early stages, and I often wonder how I could have written the story without him. It was one of those glorious moments when a character appears out of nowhere and your connection to the story deepens and begins to make sense.
  • I’m obsessed with costumes, so I made sure that part of my research involved sifting through the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s massive database of nineteenth century clothing. In every scene I dressed my characters from actual photographs or paintings I found. There’s nothing like 19th Century French gowns for inspiration!


Enjoy an exclusive excerpt from Girl in the Afternoon: 

Three chairs down from Aimée sat Madame Savaray, who hadn’t eaten a thing and sat rigid listening to a woman discuss the deportations to New Caledonia in an unreasonably loud voice.
“I’d rather be shot to death than deported,” a bold young man declared. Madame Savaray gave him a withering look, thinking him ridiculous. At any other time she would have said so out loud, but the nation’s troubles, for now, weren’t nearly as concerning as hers.
Two weeks ago, Madame Savaray had been out walking, under a bleak winter sky, when the truth of Henri’s leaving hit her, and with such clarity that she stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk. People steered around her, a few knocked into her, but she couldn’t move for some time, and when she did it felt as if a boulder had risen in front of her and somehow, dress, shoes, bad knees and all, she had to find a way to climb over it. If she’d been a younger woman, if she hadn’t come to understand what people were capable of over the years, it would never have occurred to her. It was unthinkable. It’s what desperation looked like. One could argue a war had been going on and they were all desperate. But this went back long before the war to a time when she knew, in her mother’s heart, just how dark her son’s marriage would turn out to be.
As she sat listening to these people all claiming to know the truth about one thing or another, she felt tremendously lonely holding this secret. When dessert arrived, she excused herself to her room. There was a slight throb in her knee, but she found the pain oddly comforting, familiar and reassuring, a pain she knew how to tolerate and endure.

Excerpt. ©Serena Burdick. Posted by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.


Giveaway: Print copy of GIRL IN THE AFTERNOON by Serena Burdick



To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What fictional character have you felt the most personal connection with, and why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Meet the Author:

Serena BurdickSERENA BURDICK graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in California before moving to New York to pursue a degree in English Literature at Brooklyn College. Her passion for theater, writing, the visual arts, Edouard Manet and the Impressionist movement combined to inform her debut novel, GIRL IN THE AFTERNOON: A Novel Of Paris. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two sons.


32 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Girl in the Afternoon by Serena Burdick”

  1. Mary Preston

    I think Eleanor from Jane Austen’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY; I sometimes feel like I’m the sane, sensible one among all of my siblings.

  2. isisthe12th

    So many, I always picture myself in the story. I would have to say my latest Gabriela Santos from Dragon Mates Thrilled Reckless Desires Book 2 By J.K. Harper ♡ I just finished it this morning, check it out. New release! Fantastic read. Thank you

  3. debby236

    I enjoy reading but know it is fiction. I really cannot say as I identify with any of them.

  4. Laurice Mcclung

    I don’t exactly identify with her but I admire Claire from The Outlander Series because she is able to adapt to her situation and put her knowledge to use.

  5. Yvonne Rodz

    For me it would Willow Tate from Perfectly Imperfect by Harper Sloan. I did not go through everything she did but I deeply identified with her body and confidence issues. It’s a great book.

  6. Amanda Frank

    It’s hard to say. I tend to find at least a little bit of me in a heroine in every book I read. Maybe Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Series or Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice.

  7. lindamoffitt02

    I’m Sorry I always have trouble with these questions I read a lot and then forget about Characters But I do know I would Love to be like the vigilantes in Fern Michaels SisterHood Series

  8. gemiinii90

    Charley Davidson (Charley Davidson by Darynda Jones) because she is very independent, strong and super funny. I see many characteristics of myself in her.

    Betul E.

  9. conniefischer

    Flossie Jayne in “Tiffany Girl” by Deanne Gist is a character with whom I feel a great affinity. She is someone who doesn’t sit back and settle for what she has been brought up to believe is her lot in life. She reaches for something more and works hard to achieve it. Had I settled for my supposed lot in life, I would never have experienced the things that I have. Never say never. Just go for it! 🙂

  10. JenniferC

    For me, if it’s a female main character in the book, I try to identify with her in some way. It’s what helps me connect to the book.

  11. Kathleen Shaputis

    From early on mine has been Catherine of “Wuthering Heights.” A little wild, impetuous, with a love for the finer things in life, to be treated like a duchess, but my soul is always in the moors.

  12. Banana cake

    Bethany in Phantom Waltz, it is nice to see disabled characters, I don’t see them very often.

  13. diannekc

    I really can’t think of any fictional characters that I identify with, when I’m reading a book I’m reading a story based on a fictional character.

  14. Patricia B.

    I felt I would have beens friends with Tamsen Donner and joined the doomed party on their way to California. Gabrielle Burton’s Impatient with Desire is a fictionalized account of the ill-fated wagon train party that died in the Rocky Mountains, as told from the viewpoint of the leader’s wife, Tamsen. I didn’t finish the last 2 chapters for several weeks because I knew she was going to die and it broke my heart.

  15. Cynthia Powers

    Hard to choose just one, but probably Jo March in Little Women. I sympathize with her wanting to make her own way creatively, because I’m like that, too.

  16. Texas Book Lover

    I can’t pick just one. I tend to feel like I’m living the lives of the characters I’m reading about if a book is really good.

  17. Meredith Miller

    I can’t think of any. I read to escape. I don’t think reading about anyone too similar to me would be interesting!

Please leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.