Judith Krantz gave the public what it wanted in 1982 with Mistral’s Daughter, which was promptly made into a TV miniseries for which the story is ideally suited.
The story begins when Maggy Lunel, illegitimate and orphaned, arrives in 1920’s Paris to make her fortune as an artist’s model.
Maggy Lunel becomes Julien Mistral’s model and mistress, the subject of his first successful paintings, then loses him after his first successful show.
Maggy becomes the mistress of an American who dies suddenly leaving their daughter, Teddy, for her to raise.
She goes to work, eventually opening a modeling agency.
On a photo shoot in France for Maggy’s agency, Teddy meets and falls for Mistral and bears him daughter, Fauve.
When Teddy is accidentally killed, Mistral gives Fauve to Maggy to raise.
When Fauve is a teenager, Mistral invites her to spend summers in Provence.
Maggy can find no reason to refuse without telling Fauve about her own sexual relationship with Mistral.
Although it’s a page-turner, Mistral’s Daughter wouldn’t suffer if it had fewer pages.
The novel’s happy ending suggests all the wrong done by an artist is automatically cancelled by his art.
The popularity of that ethical assertion doesn’t make it true.
Mistral’s Daughter by Judith Krantz
Crown Publishers ©1982. 531 p.
1982 bestseller #5. My grade: C-
© 2019 Linda G. Aragoni