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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the smash bestseller Orphan Train a stunning and atmospheric novel of friendship passion and art inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s mysterious and iconic painting Christina’s WorldLater he told me that he’d been afraid to show me the painting He thought I wouldn’t like the way he portrayed me dragging myself across the field fingers clutching dirt my legs twisted behind The arid moonscape of wheatgrass and timothy That dilapidated house in the distance looming up like a secret that won’t stay hidden To Christina Olson the entire world was her family’s remote farm in the small coastal town of Cushing Maine Born in the home her family had lived in for generations and increasingly incapacitated by illness Christina seemed destined for a small life Instead for than twenty years she was host and inspiration for the artist Andrew Wyeth and became the subject of one of the best known American paintings of the twentieth centuryAs she did in her beloved smash bestseller Orphan Train Christina Baker Kline interweaves fact and fiction in a powerful novel that illuminates a little known part of America’s history Bringing into focus the flesh and blood woman behind the portrait she vividly imagines the life of a woman with a complicated relationship to her family and her past and a special bond with one of our greatest modern artistsTold in evocative and lucid prose A Piece of the World is a story about the burdens and blessings of family history and how artist and muse can come together to forge a new and timeless legacy


10 thoughts on “A Piece of the World

  1. says:

    Andrew Wyeth his painting Christina's World would immortalize this young woman and her life In fact many of his paintings would feature this farm where he would visit and paint in the summers for twenty years a farm that Christina's family had owned and lived in for generations Cushing Maine how the family came here and whom there ancestors were is an interesting back story in itselfAlthough Wyeth makes an appearance here and there for the most part this is the story of Christina her family and her life After almost dying as a child of an undiagnosed illness her legs would never be right twisted making her stumble as she walked As she aged the effects of this illness maybe undiagnosed polio would get much worse leaving her with a shrinking world Wonderfully written we are immersed in the life of this farm the changing seasons the never ending chores and into the heart of a young woman At times Christina is hard to like having had a slim chance of a life outside of the farm it is taken from her by an act of cowardice something she resented and could never forget She is often bitter frustrated and often seems too proud Struggling though she is she does not want anyone's pity nor their help Going back and forth we see how a young Betsy who will become Wyeth's wife is introduced into her life later bringing Wyeth Wyeth will bring bit of color and life into Christina and her brothers Al's world on the farm Another fantastic and touching story by this author Bringing to life the story behind a painting and the life of a young girl who always wanted than she was given but accomplished so much despite her handicap Someone who would eventually make peace with her handicap and grow to appreciate the beauty of the place she lived Memorable and movingARC from publisherPublication date February 21st


  2. says:

    At times I thought of Helen Kellerwishing Christina Olson of this story had half the opportunities Helen Keller did I was aching at times for Christina This was a gut wrenching sad story I shed tears a couple of times and found myself thankful for a relief of the 'smallest' gesture of expression of sibling love The touch of a hand between Christina and her brother Al was one of the most beautiful moments in this novel to me There were a couple other 'golden box' beautiful scenes that helped balance the grief bitterness Author Christina Baker Kline created a highly imaginative FICTIONAL MEMOIR This would make an excellent book club pick Sara and I are buddy chatting this together as there is so much the reader wants to talk about Many themes to exploreA discussion about the famous painting Christina's World by Andrew WyethThe history of the HathornOlson house in Cushing MaineChristina's lifelong suffering possibly Charcot Marie Tooth disease affected EACH family member Shame resentment lost dreams family challenges social class are some of the themes issues explored This novel grapples with real uestions that are difficult to answer I think of my mother opening her front door to a Swedish sailor the stuff of fairytales Repunzel letting down her hair Cinderella sliding her foot into the glass slipper Sleeping Beauty awaiting a kiss All were given one chance to step into a happily ever after – – or at least must've seemed that way But was it the prince who attracted them or merely the opportunity for escape? A very emotionally charged novel Real Raw 5 strong stars


  3. says:

    I had read several good reviews for this book by people whose opinions I trust so I expected that I would like it too I was surprised by how much I liked it and how very readable it was I found it very hard to put downI was not familiar with Andrew Wyeth or his famous painting entitled Christina's World but it made for an excellent story Poor stubborn Christina with her deformed limbs and constant pain was nevertheless a wonderful character As the book progressed I began to wonder how on earth the author was going to arrive at any conclusion without completely devastating the reader The author turned out to be much cleverer than meMy copy of this book came from my library and I was the first person to borrow it So I read from a nice shiny copy with a beautiful cover depicting the house from the story And then right at the very end there was a picture of the painting Christina's World and I could see for myself what all the fuss was aboutBeautiful the painting and the book


  4. says:

    Andrew Wyeth spent his summers in Cushing Maine with his family It is here where he first met Christina Olson who later becomes the inspiration for his painting “Christina’s World” Christina lived a tough life along with her brother Al on the neighboring farm Their dilapidated home lacked modern day conveniences and had fallen into disrepair Andrew encounters the Olsons through their neighbor Betsy and he decides to express their lives via a painting As Andrew puts paint to canvas the details of the Olson’s hardships come to light The story unfolds with Christina’s as a young girl A childhood illness left her with difficulty walking and no cure for her bone disease As she grew older the effects worsened leaving her crippled making her farm chores difficult A bright student the opportunity to further her studies to become a teacher were dismissed early by her parents Her future only left her with two choices to marry or maintain the farm Sadly she had very few opportunities to make romantic connections leaving her with no escape Christina is not the most likable character but by reading the book you become sympathetic to her disposition Andrew Wyeth developed a relationship with her over many years and was able to capture a different side of her in this painting Andrew Wyeth painted the portrait but the author writes a beautiful story by bringing it to life Intertwined in the story is how she met Wyeth who through his masterpiece shows the world her softer side of someone having suffered so much both internally and externally The author showcases a very moving and impactful novelBook giveaway on my blog until 224


  5. says:

    I wanted to showboth the desire and the hesitationYou know it well It's the famous painting by Andrew Wyeth in which a young girl's image is set within the Maine landscape of house of barn and of an ocean of endless grass Wyeth seems to reveal nothing as he casts her likeness from behind Yet her thinly posed arms are stretched outward in familiar motion This is indeed Christina's WorldGeneration after generation of the Hathorne clan have lived and farmed on this plot of land in the small rural town of Cushing Maine History and family lore tell us about the original family's journey from Massachusetts to leave behind the dark pall of the Salem witch trials Living on the coast of Maine brings with it death and drownings and the lack of a male heir The Hathorne's have been daughtered out until Christina's mother marries a Swedish sailor who happened to be iced in during a terrible storm Change steps in and with it comes the reference to the now Olson HouseChristina suffers through relentless fevers that affect her muscles and mobility as a child We pull back the curtain and experience the first episodes of Christina's stubbornness laced with the clutches of fear Her father bundles her up and takes her on a long journey to a doctor who may be able to help her Christina refuses to even subject herself to examination The stage is now set and the spotlight focuses on her lifetime as a solo act no matter how many move in cadence alongside herThe artist Andrew Wyeth and his young wife Betsy become taken with the land that Christina and her brothers own Christina invites than just two unexpected individuals into this world of hers He and Betsy weave in and out of the storyline as he creates his renowned painting Wyeth although not the main focus here has a jagged backstory as well Christina Baker Kline presents a splendid perspective on the life of Christina Olson Kline opens the window within and shines light on the thought that there is much complication depth and intensity to a life even in the most simple of environments and surroundings What appears on the surface of oils and canvas or classrooms or church pews or back seats on buses are voiceless souls seeking a word of validation Kline reveals that complexity through ChristinaBeautifully written A Piece of the World speaks of simpler times But in actuality the progression of time reveals but one thingthe desire to matter and the desire to make a difference one day at a time


  6. says:

    ”Over the years certain stories in the history of a family take hold They’re passed from generation to generation gaining substance and meaning along the way You have to learn to sift through them separating fact from conjecture the likely from the implausible Here is what I know Sometimes the least believable stories are the true ones”Their home at Hathorn Point in Cushing Maine was on land claimed by three men two brothers Samuel and William Hathorn and William’s son Alexander They packed their belongings and fled Salem Massachusetts for Maine in the middle of winter At Hathorn Point they built a tent made of animal skins to see them through the winter months Log cabins followed and eventually a house A house and land that would be handed down from Christina’s grandmother Mamey to her mother and then to their children A place that would indeed become Christina’s worldBetsy James is 9 years old the first time she appears at Christina’s and from that day on she remains a recurring and welcome presence in Christina’s life and in her home Betsy acknowledges Christina’s physical barriers as one would acknowledge that her eyes were green it is simply the way she was made Christina feels at ease with young Betsy Now 17 Betsy arrives one day at Christina’s door and mentions that her friend Andrew would like to paint a picture of her house It doesn’t surprise Christina that Betsey is there or has brought her friend Andrew the son of NC Wyeth the famous illustrator artist of such books at Treasure IslandWe all know the picture Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth or enough people know it that according to Andrew’s son Jamie Wyeth also a well known artist the two most popular uestions at the Museum of Modern Art are ‘Where is the ladies room?’ and ‘Where is Christina’s World?’ It was the first painting I ever loved and it remains my favourite For me it represents the yearning for some elusive home to belong to something bigger than ourselves and yet hesitant timid afraid to try for something that is right there and simultaneously seems so out of our reach A wistfulness A desire restrained by uncertainty; a tug on our heartstrings for home the pull of our longing for ”He did get one thing right Sometimes a sanctuary sometimes a prison that house on the hill has always been my home I’ve spent my life yearning toward it wanting to escape it paralyzed by its hold on me There are many ways to be crippled I’ve learned over the years many forms of paralysis My ancestors fled to Maine from Salem but like anyone who tries to run away from the past they brought it with them Something inexorable seeds itself in the place of your origin You can never escape the bonds of family history no matter how far you travel And the skeleton of a house can carry in its bones the marrow of all that came before”Christina was born with a degenerative disease which hampered her mobility even as a young child leaving her freuently stumbling and falling Eventually it would progress from occasionally stumbling to the point where it was easier not to try to walk Some believe she had a form of polio recent studies indicate it might be Charcot Marie Tooth disease however she was never diagnosed during her lifetime Needless to say it made life on a farm difficult even in her younger years Perhaps it made her dreams as a young woman fragile Her wish to be seen for herself a woman with wants and desires and not simply for her misshapen unreliable bodyChristina Baker Kline has woven together a story based on some facts much research and with A Piece of the World delivers a tender poignant account of the story behind the painting that rings true What Andrew Wyeth wrought on canvas Christina Baker Kline has portrayed with her prose The night I fell in sorrowI knew I was aloneA dozen good time friendshipsBut my heart is still unknownI couldn't reach for rescueI hid myself from youI couldn't stand to see meFrom your point of viewI knew I'd disappoint youIf I showed to you this childWho is crying out inside meLost in the wildI feel you behind meLaughing in the waterWash away the tearsI feel you behind meBut how did you find me here? David Wilcox How Did You Find Me Here?


  7. says:

    What she wants most what she truly yearns for is what any of us want to be seenChristina Olson lived her life mostly as a shut in born with a degenerative disease that will take the use of her legs in childhood The famous painter Andrew Wyeth befriends her and will use her home and land to paint some of his most famous works including the painting that now resides in the Museum of Modern Art Christina's World A story told through Christina's eyes as she bravely deals with the hardships of her disease and the effects it takes on her life She was a strong and determined woman who through the progression of her disease would use just her arms to pull herself along the floor I was obviously heartbroken for her but as the story progressed I became frustrated with her inability to accept help as she even declined a wheelchair and the way she treated her family and friends This was a very intriguing and well researched story that historical fiction readers and art enthusiasts will enjoy For those of us who like to know the background or story of a particular piece Christina Baker Kline writes an in depth story about Wyeth and Christina's friendship and how the painting came into fruition I will never be able to view Christina's World again without thinking back to this novel


  8. says:

    45 stars I loved The Orphan Train and happily I enjoyed this just as much 'Christina's World' is a work of art that has been made special to me after learning the story behind it I don't know that I particularly liked Christina but at the same time I felt a deep connection to her We can all be tied to anchores and while some are able to pull themselves free others let it pull them under I think in the end Christina found her world and I hope through it all a bit of contentment My recommendation grab a blanket a cup of tea and enjoy this beautifully poignant novel


  9. says:

    45 starsI love the painting Christina's World It's one of the few pieces of art I feel a strong connection to and I was thrilled to find out the author wrote this historical fiction book on the real life Christina who inspired the painting Art is so subjective as each person takes away something different but in my opinion this book really captured the essence of who I imagined the girl in the painting to be and also reading about her makes me look at it in other ways as well Really a fantastic readGenerations of Christina Olson's family have lived on a farm in Maine With a mysterious illness that makes getting around difficult it seems likely Christina will never be able to escape this uiet small town life Artist Andrew Wyeth meets Christina and is taken by her so much so she serves as inspiration for the iconic American painting Christina's WorldThis historical fiction book is a good mix of fact and fiction While historians know some things about Christina she much like the girl portrayed in the painting remain somewhat of a mystery I thought the author did a tremendous job in showing just what it was about Christina that could inspire such an incredible piece of art She was such an easy character to feel for and when her heart breaks your heart breaks I feel like this is such a wonderful companion piece to the painting and I highly recommend reading it


  10. says:

    35 starsUnlike most people I was not a huge fan of Orphan Train So I wasn't sure how I'd like Kline’s latest book And the beginning was so slow and dry I thought well here we go again But stick with it and you will be rewarded The main character is Christina the subject of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World It seemed to take forever before I felt invested in Christina Not until her relationship with Walton did she come across as three dimensional The meat of this book is all in the second half as Christina’s condition worsens her parents fail and all her siblings but Al move away I wish there had been interaction between Wyeth and Christina as what there was constituted my favorite parts of the book He is one of the few that appreciates her for who she is and how she lives her life without pity So while I would only give the first half a 2 ½ 3 the second half is a solid 4