On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art, today worth over $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye.
Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting - a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum - in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire's studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.
Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late 19th century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
©2012 Barbara Shapiro (P)2012 HighBridge Company
"A clever, twisty novel about art, authenticity, love, and betrayal. B. A. Shapiro knows about Degas, and she knows about art theft and forgery, and she also knows how to tell a gripping story." (Tom Perrotta)
I loved that it kept me guessing. There was one aspect of the plot line that I had figured out fairly early on, but knowing or suspecting that did not have much effect on my enjoyment of the story. Several times I thought I knew what would happen next only to be surprised by the turn the story took.
I don't recall looking at any reviews until after I had listened to the book. I was shocked at some of the comments about the narration. I loved Xe's narration. Her "old lady" voice was particularly nice. It conjured up a vivid image of the character in my mind. I thought she did an outstanding job with it and the reason I saw the aforementioned comments is because I was looking to see what other else she had done that I could listen to.
This story is fantastic, but Xe Sands is incredible! I wish she performed every novel with a female protagonist.
The way in which it was written, how it jumped between present day happenings and the letters of Isabella Gardner.
Obviously Claire. But in general I found Xe Sands performance of all characters to be one of the best I've heard on Audible so far.
Holy goodness. This was an excellent read. It was thrilling and easy to read. I enjoyed the characters and plot. It was predictable, yet unpredictable all at the same time.
The audiobook was a delight. The narrator did a fantastic job without being too theatrical. I would highly recommend to young adults and adults alike. Not an overly romantic novel, even though the plot may suggest so.
The story is very realistic and the character building exquisite. Taking a heroine with all her flaws and making the reader fall in love with the character is done extremely well.
Loved the ending and loved that the clues were all there for those who love to figure out the ending (me) but still kept me listening till the end.
The voice of Xe brings out the emotions well and made it a great listen. One of the few where I felt the voice made the book better to listen than read high speed!
I enjoyed the story overall. The love of art is very apparent. It was almost too much in the first 17 chapters with all the ohhh and aww over the painting. And went a bit too technical for those who do not have the same understanding for art as the main character. However I found myself relating to Claire, she just wanted to be accepted and important in a world that wrote her off. That I got. I liked the ending, I thought she was going down. I wish there was more on the aunt, her feelings although detailed brief were a lot more transparent than Claire's were. Overall a worth the time read.
Even though I have always wanted to take an Art Appreciation course, I didn't expect to really like this book. But my sister recommended it highly. Well, I was hooked!! Maybe not right away, but it did happen. I learned much about art and the art world. That was crucial to the story. Yes the ending was slightly predictable but was still more than wonderful!! This was one of those books that I truly did not want to end.
Parts in the end dragged on slightly (the never ending drama between Claire and Aiden, pursuit by law enforcement authorities) but it was worth it overall.
The story was well written and interesting and concerned something I knew little about. I found the complexity of forging works of art incredibly compelling - and it could have been dull. There were nice twists and turns in the plot which kept me reading and listening since I had both the e-book and the audio book. What I did not like was that the story was told in present tense. This was much more apparent and awkward sounding when listening than when reading print. Everything that happened was actually in the past and the protagonist (Claire) was doing the recounting. If someone else, the author, say or a fictional narrator, were telling the story, it could be told effectively in present tense, but not in 1st person and present tense about things that have already happened.
Have to say Claire. She was a person "in-the-making" - young and finding her way in the world. She was honest with herself and not afraid to show her youthful naïveté.
In general, the narration was OK. However, the men all sounded alike and had a croaky, gravelly voice. They sounded like old men and I think they were supposed to be fairly young. This is one of my recurrent narration complaints - men trying to sound like women and women trying to sound like men Sometimes more than one narrator is called for.
It would make a great movie!....so yes. I'd love to see the art-work or copies of it (pun intended) that was being spoken about. Also like to see the process of forging or copying art. The men would be played by male actors, so they'd sound like men. And be young and good-looking, too.
I'd give this 3 1/2 stars if possible..it's not quite 4 IMO. All in all, an enjoyable read.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.