Updated: Aug 14, 2019
What would any of us be willing to do to secure our ambition?
On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history. Claire Roth a struggling young artist is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.
Claire makes a living reproducing famous artwork for a popular online retailer and she is desperate to improve her situation. Claire is lured into a 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 missing Degas paining is delivered to Clare 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 were secrets hidden since the late 19th century maybe the only evidence that can now save her life.
“Without light nothing can been seen. And with it, still so much is unobserved.”
THE ART FORGER was as captivating as a Degas painting. The story cleverly weaves a plot that includes both facts and fiction that seems ripped from the headlines real. But only a few parts are real. The famous art collector and museum founder Isabella Stewart Gardner, her museum in Boston, and the 1990 art heist are of course real. But the specific After the Bath painting referenced here, and the art forgery and surrounding events, are not real. I alway appreciate when an author who is writing historical fiction clearly identifies what is and isn’t factual. Author B. A. SHAPIRO did a great job of this at the end of the book.
Claire Roth’s character is superbly developed. She’s impressively talented and ambitious but she can’t catch a break, that is until she meets Aiden Markel. She’s vulnerable and in need of money and she finds herself making a Faustian bargain to secure her own art show...her future. Don’t judge her to harshly...she draws you into the story and teaches you a thing or two about art. She keeps you on the edge of your seat...is she good enough to forge a Degas? What if she is?
If you like art, you’ll love this book. It’s entertaining, compelling and clever. B.A. Shapiro is a bestselling author of The Muralist (2015) and The Art Forger (2012), both stories of works of art, mystery, history with a little romance thrown in. I listenEd to the audio version of the book, and Xe Sands does a fabulous job with narration.
Publisher Algonquin Books/Highbridge Audio
Published October 23, 2012
Narrated Xe Sands