Regular price: $24.47

Free with 30-day trial
Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,023
  • 4 Stars
    1,102
  • 3 Stars
    441
  • 2 Stars
    101
  • 1 Stars
    47

Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,035
  • 4 Stars
    837
  • 3 Stars
    374
  • 2 Stars
    118
  • 1 Stars
    67

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    992
  • 4 Stars
    898
  • 3 Stars
    401
  • 2 Stars
    90
  • 1 Stars
    45
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • D
  • Aliso Viejo, CA, United States
  • 11-28-12

Engrossing forage into art forgery and intrigue

This a page turner throughout: a fascinating, imperiled protagonist, plenty of twists, and good pacing. The background on art forgery, Boston, and museum politics is enlightening and never extraneous to the character's perspective. As an oil painter, I also appreciated the artistic vision of the characters, as well as the personal history of famous painters which wove throughout the story.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Constance
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 08-08-13

Very Entertaining Art and Crime Story

Any additional comments?

Not a towering literary feat, but a good strong story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Wonderful writing about impressionist art and forgery techniques. Art lovers will particularly like this book, but even if you don't think of yourself as an art love you might want to try this---it could well turn you into a fan of the impressionists. Highly recommended.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 01-02-13

The Art Forger

On March 18, 1990, two thieves broke into the The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and stole thirteen work of art, including five works by Edgar Degas - four drawings and a painting. This book imagines the trajectory of the painting, described as one in Degas' Bathers series. [The painting taken from the Gardner was not in the Bathers series.]

Claire Roth is a professional art forger, and works for the fictional reproductions. Her specialty is Degas, although she can copy other masters and genres. Claire is an artist in her own right, but she has been a pariah in the art community for three years. The reason she has been cast out is a key part of the story.

Claire is aproached by art gallery owner Adrien Markel to make a reproduction of the stolen Degas painting, and Markel promises her a one woman show in exchange.

Edward Degas, Isabella Stewart Gardner, and Gardner's great grand niece are key players.

I would listen to the narrator of this book, X.E. Sands, read a grocery list. She is just that good, and she was an ideal choice to narrate this book.

I found that the plot, although definitely a tangled web, was predictable in the last third or so. I would have liked to have known more about Gardner herself, and I hope B.A. Shapiro writes more about her, either fiction or non-fiction.

This is B.A. Shapiro's first novel. It's made several best seller lists, and is an Indie Book Dealer Best of 2012. I learned more about oil painting than I ever expected to know - or even thought I'd be interested in. The book isn't teachy, but I learned a lot.

[If you found this review helpful, please let me know by pressing the 'helpful ' button.]

149 of 160 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Dina
  • LAKE ZURICH, IL, United States
  • 01-29-13

Alternative Foray Into the Art World

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This book had all the elements of a good story...interesting premise, intriguing characters, mystery, romance, etc. I liked the foray into the art world from an alternative perspective (forgery). It wasn't perfect...the characters weren't as deep as I would have liked and, of course, their morals were a bit off, and there were parts that were not plausible. But, all in all, it was an enjoying read.

What did you like best about this story?

Alternative art perspective.

What does Xe Sands bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She read the main character as tired and depressed.

If you could take any character from The Art Forger out to dinner, who would it be and why?

The main character, Claire. I would want to know what in her childhood, upbringing caused her to be a "pretender."

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Sometimes Reads Like Chic-Lit

The story line is excellent and original - but I mostly napped or fast-forwarded through the Part 1, and the action doesn't really start until Part 2. I usually yawn through interludes where old correspondence is read when such letter-reading interludes are employed merely to add texture. In this case, I became tired of listening to Ms. Gardner's shopping escapades and travels with brand name artists and art critics and I didn't think it mattered to hear about the details of Degas life as seen by someone who knew him. Other readers might love this, so it's just one of my proclivities, or negativities, as the case may be.

There are some sexual diversions, which are brief and succinct, thankfully, because this is not chic-fic, but there are also some passages which are outright pollyanna-ish - there could have been a better way to expand on the moments that the protagonist is finally becoming successful, instead of having her sound like Dorothy clicking her heels, "not in Kansas" any more.

I also think that including sex and romance with the "deal with the devil" is predictable and overdone, but perhaps that helps sell books and to fund the ongoing flow of audiobooks for our consumption and enjoyment, who can figure, except editors and marketing gurus.

The writer masters the true-crime parts of the story effectively, mixing the facts of the actual art heist smoothly with fictional inventions and story arc.

I generally like Xe Sands as a narrator - but for this book I thought she sounded too girlish and neither ironic nor "noir" enough for this story. Her voice occasionally gives an innocence, sensuality and enthusiasm which I didn't think worked with the plot line.

I am giving this a 4 instead of a 5 because of the disconnect between story and reader. I wish I could give it a 4.5, because said disconnect is not a huge factor and only occasionally affected my listening groove.

43 of 52 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kaye
  • Birmingham, Al
  • 12-23-12

Good Story. Not such a good narrator

Would you consider the audio edition of The Art Forger to be better than the print version?

I very much liked this story however I almost stopped listening in the beginning as the narrator sounded very whiney and annoying. If you stick with it past the first few chapters the narration improves though could be better.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

It kept me interested, not necessarily on edge of seat.

What three words best describe Xe Sands’s voice?

Whiney, annoying

30 of 37 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • sharon
  • Auburn, ME, United States
  • 12-30-12

Wiil buy the paperbook

I wanted to love this book - but I could not get past the narrator's voice.

37 of 46 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ethics and the Art World

This is a yummy read. It went all kinds e of unexpected places and reminds us that the art world is no better than the people in it. I had some problems with the heroine. She suffers seriously from a case of the emperor;s clothes. There are some true things you just can't say. But the bits about Degas are delicious, wicked and very fun.
I took one star off because I could see where the end was going , but it did manage to give it a good unexpected twist. It's a very good read.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • William
  • Winston Salem, NC, United States
  • 12-08-13

Mixed Bag

While parts of this book were quite interesting, the narration was not very good. All of Ms. Sands' male characters sounded the same, like they had strep throat as well as a hangover. The big surprise at the end was pretty obvious for the last three hours of the book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Art Forger

The story of an artist's passion and the history of the art world were entertaining and engaging. Sadly, there really wasn't enough character development for me to care all that much about what happened to the people in the story. The two leads don't seem to have much in common and Claire comes across as emotionally stunted. The slow, breathy, whiney narration does NOT help with this.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Hiro
  • 06-16-17

Great story and narration

The author came up with a highly entertaining and captivating fiction based on the biggest unresolved art heist in history.
The voice and style of a narrator is always controversial and a big problem for audiobooks. It's so personal. You can't satisfy everyone.
I liked it a lot.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • 04-12-16

Enjoyed it enough that I listened twice

Interesting tale, well told. I am not an artist but I enjoyed the art references.