A dazzling and spellbinding debut about a mysterious painting, the secrets it keeps, and the two women connected across centuries by a quest to discover the truth - for readers of Geraldine Brooks, Tracy Chevalier and Maggie O'Farrell.
London, 1991: Alex Johns, an art intern at the Courtauld, believes a hidden secret lies within Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas
- one of the most written about paintings of all time. Her mother died in mysterious circumstances while trying to uncover its secrets and Alex is troubled by memories of her own encounter as a child with the girl in the painting - the Infanta Margarita - who continues to haunt her. Alex must take up her mother's work and find evidence to uncover the truths within the canvas.
Madrid, 1656: The Infanta Margarita senses that those around her believe the royal household is cursed. She wonders why her father, the King, is a pale shadow of himself and why the Queen is distressed. What threatens the royal offspring? She struggles to fight for her own destiny as the forces around her seek to marry her off and send her from the home she loves. A treacherous trail through the art world, the church and 17th century Spanish court via drawings, letters and cryptic notes has Alex trying to piece together what happened in King Philip's court... But with powerful players who will do anything to stop these truths coming to light, will Alex live to share them or is she, too, cursed?
In the tradition of Tracy Chevalier's Girl With a Pearl Earring and A.S. Byatt's Possession, Andrea Hotere's The Vanishing Point slowly reveals the secrets in the painting that have been closely guarded for centuries.
Writer Anthony Byrt introduces and interviews author Andrea Hotere for ArtNow Essays here
. Learn more about the novel, Hotere's research process and more, and read an extract from the novel's prologue.