Sketching with Renoir

 by Nicole d’Entremont

“The delicate threads of everyday life and desires are examined keenly in Sketching with Renoir by Nicole d’Entremont. With her ability to evoke a physical setting using appeals to all our senses, d’Entremont has a way of showing the souls of characters caught between the said and unsaid in a way that makes us understand them fully.

Ev, the protagonist, is driven by her passion for painting:

Now, she did not see the trees but saw, instead, the line of his hand and arm, the profile of his face, the setting sun behind him casting long shadows on the grass, there was a riffle of wind, a tinge of late summer warmth, the musk of goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace. How to get it all into a painting?

The elegant prose guides us through world events, like the storm of New Year’s Eve in 1947 and the power of a tiny memento from the tragedy of World War I: one small button that demands attention and induces the man who treasures it to undertake a profound change.

In Sketching with Renoir, Nicole d’Entremont creates an emotional journey with vivid characters who take the reader with them.”

—Rosanna Staffa, author of The War Ends at Four

Sketching with Renoir builds a world out of the closely imagined observation of a particular place. Through a series of interwoven narratives, Nicole d’Entremont has created an evocative portrait of small-town life in postwar America, perfectly capturing that era’s sense of hope and possibility as well as the restless searchingness that was always latent beneath. At the center of the story is Evelyn Boudreau, who follows her inner longing in faith, family, and art, and whose quiet dignity underpins her private revelations. As we enter into the rhythms of one community’s works and days—the passing of the seasons, the births and unexpected deaths—we experience fiction’s perennial moral question: how to make a life, both as it is and as we would want it to be.”

—Michael Centore, editor of Today’s American Catholic


Nicole d’Entremont is the author of two novels,  City Belief and A Generation of Leaves. Her short story “Fives” appeared in Littoral Books’ 2021 North by North East 2: New Short Fiction by Maine Writers. She lives on Peaks Island, Maine.