Self Discovery, Revealing Photos and Georgia O’Keefe in Queen of the Owls by Barbara Linn Probst

Queen of the Owls

Why I am Excited About This One…

Last year I read author Barbara Linn Probst’s second novel, The Sound Between the Notes and really enjoyed it. It is about a mom who gives up her career as a pianist when her son is born and years later wants to reclaim her identity as a musician but is unexpectedly battling a hereditary disease that impacts her fingers. When I heard Probst came out with a compelling new novel, The Color of Ice, which takes place in Iceland and is about a photographer, a glass blower and the impact of past relationships, I invited her to join Book Nation on Dec. 6th to discuss it. (Hope you can make it! If you would like to attend, send an email to Loving her topics, her characters and the relationships she creates, I went back and read her debut novel, Queen of the Owls. It is exciting to find an author who delights me with every book they write and Barbara is one of them! (Others are Lisa Genova, Nadia Hashimi, Celeste Ng, Amor Towles, Amy Bloom and more!)

If you are a Georgia O’Keefe fan, interested in art, photography and its intended meaning, Queen of the Owls is a must read for you. Elizabeth, a wife and mother in the field of academia is writing her dissertation on Georgia O’Keefe, examining her Hawaii paintings and also exploring Alfred Steiglitz’s nude photos of O’Keefe. Richard, a handsome, professional photographer and Elizabeth meet in Tai Chi and spend some time after class discussing artwork and photography. While Elizabeth’s marriage is struggling and her attraction to Richard begins to grow, he suggests they have a photoshoot where she re-enact the O’Keefe’s poses and he capture them on film, allowing her to get into the artist’s mindset. Feeling an intense desire for Richard along with the motivation to explore Georgia O’Keefe’s creativity and sense of expression as it appears in the photos of her, Elizabeth abandons caution and agrees. But things don’t turn out exactly as Elizabeth had expected.

Empowering and revealing photos exuding an openness and confidence Elizabeth never felt before have an impact way beyond what was expected. Georgia O’Keefe’s artwork and how it differs over time, from before and after the artist’s stint in Hawaii reveal a change worth examining. Opposite points of view regarding the rights of a photographer versus a subject cause disagreement. Queen of the Owls is a thought provoking, lovely escape; from what it means to feel complete, to taking control of one’s life, fulfilling physical and intellectual desires, expression, art and relationships…there is much to think about.

I hope you decide to read all three of Barbara Linn Probst’s novels and allow yourself to go along on the journeys of her characters as they explore second chances, discover themselves, manage their relationships and appreciate art in many forms. Whether it is photography, glass blowing or musical expression, your interest will be peaked and you will want to learn more. To join Barbara and Book Nation on Dec. 6th at 7pm on Zoom to discuss The Color of Ice, please send an email to requesting the link. It will be sent out the day before and the day of the event.

Barbara Linn Probst

About the Author:

I’ve embraced many sides of life. I’ve been a teacher, therapist, qualitative researcher, educational advocate, “serious amateur” pianist, and full-time mom. I’ve run a not-for-profit organization, mentored PhD students, counseled families, done webinars and radio interviews on how to nurture out-of-the-box children, and much more!

I’ve had many homes. I’ve lived in a cabin in the California redwoods, a firehouse, a converted sauna in the heart of Greenwich Village—and lots of places in-between. I now live on a historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley.

I’ve looked and listened. I’ve traveled from Iceland to Israel, Scotland to Spain. I’ve spent time in Italy, Egypt, Alaska, Costa Rica, Turkey, France, and along the backpacking trails of the U.S. and Canada.

I’ve spoken up. I’ve given talks to dozens of parent groups, professional organizations, and academic conferences all over the country. 

Through all of it, I’ve never stopped writing.

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