Thank you so much Smith Publicity for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.
Seventeen years ago, Iris was forced to abandon Gus, the love of her life, and her career as a top model in Paris. She has created a new life for herself and her daughter, Lou, in California. However, when the news of Gus’s unexpected death reaches Iris, her tenuously reconstructed life is thrown into chaos. A celebrated art and fashion photographer, Gus has left his estate to Lou, with one condition: Iris must travel to Paris and recover a missing collection of his work. Iris soon discovers that she’s not the only one after the photographs. An old enemy is staking claim to them, and a notorious tabloid is threatening Iris with brutal–and very private–images of her past life. To protect her daughter from scandal, Iris needs to confront the demons that caused her to flee Paris, her career, and her life with Gus.
“Fashion is a language. With magazines I can express my point of view, make statements about and what I believe in. Fashion photography is my creative path. A great fashion picture is a feeling with a fantastic girl. It’s about creating dreams. But it’s important to know what you stand for. Otherwise you’re just shooting girls in dresses.” –Gus
This is a deeply personal story with a backdrop of the thrilling, yet dark and perilous underside of the fashion world.
Iris is a retired fashion model and a single mom to her teenage daughter, Lou. She has given up the top model life in Paris to settle down to a quiet life in La Arboleda until one day she receives a package from Gustavo’s estate. Gus, who is her ex-boyfriend and fashion photographer, has passed away. He left everything to a daughter he has never met. Iris hasn’t seen Gus since abruptly leaving Paris but now has to return to sort through the estate and revisit a painful past.
The narrative alternates between the present day and the past during Iris’ life as a model. I really enjoyed reading the 1990s Paris setting and learning about the in-depth world and cruel nature of fashion photography. Melian is a former model, agent, and producer extraordinaire, so it was wonderful to get the insider perspective on this exclusive, secretive lifestyle. Although some of the writing might appear disjointed, the book moves at a quick pace with an unexpected ending. WILDCHILDS is memoir meets fiction, which gives Melian range to explore emotions and feelings of her characters, adding depth to an already fascinating story. I really enjoyed this rather unique coming-of-age novel where a young model had to make difficult decisions in a very adult world.
My rating is 3.5 out of 5 stars!
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“I don’t want to turn women into sex-crazed vamps panting over a perfume bottle. I despise that. I don’t want to work on the lightweight, the forgettable. I want to make beautiful images of strong and powerful women who don’t need to reveal skin to feel sexy. Women should not need to show off and flaunt their femininity. That’s what I believe in, what I want to prove through my images.” –Iris
About the Author:
Since the early 1980s, Eugenia Melian has worked as a model, agent, producer, and music supervisor in Milan, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles. She has discovered, managed, art directed and produced some of the most talented artists of our time, with career highlights that include launching the careers of iconic photographers Tony Viramontes and David LaChapelle, and co-producing Malcolm McLaren’s cult album Paris. Catherine Deneuve, Françoise Hardy, LouLou de la Falaise, Sonya Rykiel, Rocco Siffredi, Helmut Newton, David Bailey, Faye Dunaway, Marlon Brando, Prince, Tilda Swinton, Guerlain, Vogue, Daft Punk, Blur, Stella McCartney, Janet Jackson and The Face are among the long list of luminaries and brands she has collaborated on projects with and represented. Eugenia currently lives in northern California, and in September 2018 will release her debut novel Wildchilds.