Author to discuss ‘Stolen Beauty’


The “Woman in Gold” seen in the 2015 British-American film of that name comes alive again in the novel “Stolen Beauty,” by Laurie Albanese. 


Robin Kall, the “fairy book mother” behind Reading with Robin and the Point Street Reading Series, will host a light breakfast and discussion with the author on Feb. 22.

Impeccably researched and a “must-read,” “Stolen Beauty” intertwines the tales of two remarkable Jewish-Viennese women across more than 100 years. It juxtaposes passion and discovery with hatred and despair, and sheds light on our ability to love, to destroy, and, ultimately, to endure.

The novel brings to life the intimate and triumphant stories of the women, who are bound by blood and by Gustav Klimt’s iconic golden portrait, “Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” This portrait represents the glory of  fin de siècle Vienna, its destruction during World War II, and the courage and tenacity of its rightful owners.

“Stolen Beauty” is the first novel to bring Adele Bloch-Bauer to life in fiction. Bloch-Bauer was an important patron of the arts, a social influence in Jewish Vienna and an early independent woman.

In the novel, Bloch-Bauer, the model for what is perhaps the most iconic painting since the “Mona Lisa,” narrates her own awakening (sexual, artistic, intellectual and political). Her niece, Maria Altmann, narrates her own tale of struggle and triumph.

Laurie Lico Albanese is the author of two novels and a memoir, and co-author of another novel. Her travel and general interest stories have appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and elsewhere. She will talk about Adele Bloch-Bauer, the real woman behind the gold, the height of Jewish Vienna, Klimt’s place in that world, and the anti-Semitism that was already evident in Vienna. She will also show art slides to illustrate her discussion.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and there will be complimentary bagels and pastries at the event at Temple Beth-El, in Providence, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9 a.m.

RSVP to the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island at 401-421-4111, ext. 100, or

The event is sponsored by the Jewish Alliance, Temple Beth-El and Reading with Robin.

Laurie Albanese will read from her book Feb. 21 at the Point Street Reading Series. See page 5.

LARRY KATZ is director of Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.