The book is dedicated to the personal and professional lives of several Impressionist artists: Manet, Monet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Renoir, Degas, Sisley, Morisot, and Cassatt. Roe's writing style is very informed, but also lively and engaging. I thought that she gave fairly equal treatment to all of the artists mentioned, with the exception of Alfred Sisley, who didn't receive a lot of discussion (which I would expect, since he's not very well-known).
One of my favorite things that I learned from the book was that Degas traveled to New Orleans. He delayed his return to Paris for three months so that he could paint this picture of a cotton office:
Degas, Cotton Merchants in New Orleans, 1873
I think this might be my new favorite work by Degas. It's fun and interesting subject matter, and I love the white, fluffy cotton.
Overall, Roe's book was pretty good. It's not the most compelling thing that I have ever read, but it was interesting to learn more about the personal lives of the Impressionists. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the Impressionists, but I do think it would be easier for the reader to be somewhat informed about Impressionism before reading Roe's book.
Have you read The Private Lives of the Impressionists? Did you like it?