WI Flyers Book Club – The Muse – discussion questions

On a hot July day in 1967, Odelle Bastien climbs the stone steps of the Skelton gallery in London, knowing that her life is about to change forever. Having struggled to find her place in the city since she arrived from Trinidad five years ago, she has been offered a job as a typist under the tutelage of the glamorous and enigmatic Marjorie Quick. But though Quick takes Odelle into her confidence, and unlocks a potential she didn’t know she had, she remains a mystery – no more so than when a lost masterpiece with a secret history is delivered to the gallery. The truth about the painting lies in 1936 and a large house in rural Spain, where Olive Schloss, the daughter of a renowned art dealer, is harbouring ambitions of her own. Into this fragile paradise come artist and revolutionary Isaac Robles and his half-sister Teresa, who immediately insinuate themselves into the Schloss family, with explosive and devastating consequences… Seductive, exhilarating and suspenseful, The Muse is an unforgettable novel about aspiration and identity, love and obsession, authenticity and deception – a masterpiece from the million-copy bestselling author of The Miniaturist.

  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?
  • The Muse weaves together stories set in 1960s London and 1930s Spain. How evocative did you find these settings and what did you learn about life at that time? Did you prefer one of these plot strands to the other?

Jessie Burton is the author of three novels, The Miniaturist, The Muse, and The Confession, all instant Sunday Times bestsellers. 

The Miniaturist and The Muse were Sunday Times no.1 bestsellers in both hardback and paperback, New York Times bestsellers, and Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime. The Miniaturist went on to sell over a million copies in its year of publication, was Christmas no.1 in the UK, National Book Awards Book of the Year, and Waterstones Book of the Year 2014.  In 2017 it was adapted as a two-part miniseries on BBC One, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Alex Hassell and Romola Garai, screened over Christmas, and now available on DVD and streaming services.

Her novels have been published in 40 languages.

Jessie’s first book for children, The Restless Girls, was published in September 2018, with Medusa​ to follow in 2021. ​Her story ‘Daphne and the Doughnuts’ appeared in The Book of Hopes, a collection of children’s stories published in 2020, from which all profits go to the NHS. 

As a non-fiction writer, she has written essays and reviews for The New York Times, Harpers Bazaar UK, The Wall Street Journal, The Independent, Vogue, Elle, Red, Grazia, Lonely Planet Traveller and The Spectator. Harpers Bazaar US and Stylist have published her short stories