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Review: The Art Forger

January 13, 2013

The Art Forger

Claire Roth paints reproductions of famous artwork for a living and she’s good at what she does – probably one of the best – so she’s not all that surprised when gallery owner Aiden Markel comes to her when he needs a painting copied.  She is surprised, though, when she learns that it’s a Degas that was stolen from the Gardner Museum several years ago.  Against her better judgement, she agrees to paint the forgery in return for a show at Aiden’s gallery.  Claire is suspicious of the Degas from the start and, when things go awry, she acts on her suspicions and finds herself trying to solve a hundred year old mystery.

The Art Forger, by B. A. Shapiro, has a little something for everyone – some art, some mystery, a little literary fiction, a little historical fiction, and even a little bit of romance – and I loved it!  I started this book over the holidays when things were busy but was still captivated by it from the very start.  Even though I only got to read it for short periods to begin with, I was hooked and couldn’t wait to get back to the book.

Claire is a wonderful character.  An artist at heart, she’s struggled to make a living with her passion, so has turned to painting reproductions.  Her mastery at them has caused her a few problems, though, so she’s faced some moral dilemmas along the way.  She had a difficult relationship in the past and has decided to avoid relationships for a while.  She does have supportive friends, though, that help keep her working toward her goals.

I was captivated by the art in this book and loved all the details Shapiro included.  She clearly did her research and I was fascinated by all of it.  It seems like painting a good reproduction is more complicated than painting an original!

The mystery aspect of the story was based on a real crime.  Thirteen pieces of art were stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990 and they’ve never been recovered.  Knowing the theft was real made the story come alive for me.  I found myself googling the theft and longing to go to the Gardner Museum as I read this book.

In case you couldn’t tell, I thought The Art Forger was wonderful and think most people will enjoy it   Book clubs would find a lot to discuss within its pages.  This is a gem of a book!

Review copy provided by Algonquin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
46 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2013 5:34 am

    Sounds good.

  2. January 13, 2013 6:53 am

    Wow. you sound really passionate about this one! Actually I think I’d be interested in learning about the real Gardner Museum theft. Unbelievable that they were never found!

  3. Beth F permalink
    January 13, 2013 6:56 am

    I knew you would love it!

  4. January 13, 2013 7:06 am

    So glad you liked it. I have it on audio and hope to listen soon. Thanks for posting the trailer. Fascinating!

  5. January 13, 2013 8:04 am

    Sounds great and I love it when an author does their research.

  6. sandynawrot permalink
    January 13, 2013 9:28 am

    I loved this book too, and I really didn’t expect to because I am a bit of an idiot when it comes to art. I won’t publish my review until February because of my black out, but it will be the first one out of the hatch.

  7. January 13, 2013 9:28 am

    I liked The Art Forger a lot, but didn’t love it. Definitely agree it appeals to a wide range of readers and would make a great book club choice!

  8. January 13, 2013 10:16 am

    I’m glad you enjoyed this so much! A bunch of us read it at the bookstore and had lots to say! 🙂

  9. January 13, 2013 10:47 am

    What an intriguing premise. I will have to look for this one.

  10. January 13, 2013 10:51 am

    I really liked this one too! I’m glad to hear it worked so well for you.

  11. January 13, 2013 11:55 am

    Sounds good – I just added it to my wish list!

  12. January 13, 2013 11:58 am

    Many are agreeing that it is a gem of a book! I have it on audio and plan to listen soon.

  13. Patty permalink
    January 13, 2013 1:46 pm

    I loved the trailer!

  14. January 13, 2013 2:15 pm

    This is one of the books I want to read this year! So glad you loved it. I had read one mixed review, but ultimately I will need to pick it up and see for myself.

  15. Beth Hoffman permalink
    January 13, 2013 2:37 pm

    I just finished this book last night and absolutely loved it! I even found myself Googling Isabella Gardner because I was so fascinated with her personality and art-buying history. Terrific review, Kathy!

  16. January 13, 2013 2:46 pm

    Yours is the second positive and glowing review I’ve read this week. I’m so adding it to my reading list for 2013!!

  17. January 13, 2013 2:52 pm

    I love when you introduce me to new books! This sounds like a winner!

  18. January 13, 2013 4:50 pm

    Oh to be good enough to forge. I can only dream. Thanks for your great review.

  19. January 13, 2013 5:10 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful literary mystery to read! I will have to check it. The fact that it is based on a real crime makes it more appealing to me.

  20. bookingmama permalink
    January 13, 2013 5:30 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. This book was outstanding!

  21. January 13, 2013 5:56 pm

    I’m so happy you loved this book, Kathy. When I read about it last fall, I marked it down as a book I definitely wanted to look into more. And, of course, I forgot about it. Your reviews reminds me why I was interested….a mystery, art, romance…a terrific package!
    Thank you for this great review!

  22. January 13, 2013 7:28 pm

    Wonderful review, Kathy! The trailer is very enticing. I think I need to read this book!

  23. January 13, 2013 8:00 pm

    I’ve had this one on my to-read list for a while – need to find a copy!

  24. Angie S. permalink
    January 14, 2013 5:35 am

    Sounds fascinating! I love it when a book makes me want to learn more. There have been a few of these lately that has made me want to Google and delve deeper into some of the stuff written within its pages. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention!

  25. January 14, 2013 6:45 am

    I am sure this would be the perfect book for me, but I have not managed to upgrade it from my wish list to my reading pile yet – soon!

  26. January 14, 2013 7:48 am

    20 years and not one single piece has been recovered! Amazing. I love art history and your review has convinced me to give this book a try. Off to see if it’s available on audio through my library.

  27. January 14, 2013 9:28 am

    Wow! This one sounds like an awesome read. Will definitely have to kindle it sooner rather than later. I’ve had it on my TBR list, but I think I need to bump it up. Great post!!

  28. zibilee permalink
    January 14, 2013 1:03 pm

    I just pulled this one off the shelf, and I can’t wait to get to it. It sounds like there is a lot there to love, and I am excited that you loved it. I haven’t seen a bad review of it yet!!

  29. January 14, 2013 2:47 pm

    I think the idea of reproducing works of art as your job would be so fascinating!

  30. January 14, 2013 3:03 pm

    I loved this book too. The Isabella Gardner Museum is a must-see for anyone who gets to Boston. Wonderfully intriguing place.

  31. January 14, 2013 5:38 pm

    The Art Forger is on my “to read” list. Do you think it would be a good choice for our couples meeting, when we invite our husbands to read and discuss the book or is it a woman’s book? Any other really good discussion books for both men and women?

  32. January 14, 2013 8:21 pm

    I”m glad to see you really enjoyed this book. I received an unsolicited copy, but there was something about this one that made me keep it, rather than pass it on. I’ll have to make time for it at some point.

  33. January 15, 2013 12:11 am

    I have read nothing but good things about this one. One day I will get to it.

  34. January 15, 2013 8:40 am

    I really think I have to push this one further up on my to-read list. Especially since, as you mentioned, this one would work well for my book club. I feel like we’ll need something fresh and new to read after the run of classics we’re about to go on!

  35. January 15, 2013 10:55 am

    Oh dear. I have the next pick for book club and I have such a stack I want to suggest (or bring to vote) that I am panicking with indecision. But this one might be a good option… I know I already want to read it.

  36. January 15, 2013 2:44 pm

    I really LOVED this book! The history behind the museum and the painting were so fascinating! Thanks for sharing the trailer – I had not seen that.

  37. January 15, 2013 4:29 pm

    I really like that this book seems to have a little bit of everything and I’ve heard such good things about it.

  38. January 15, 2013 5:13 pm

    Great review! I agree this was a story that had something for everyone. I think that’s one of the reasons why it’s such a popular read.

  39. January 15, 2013 7:47 pm

    Agreed. We are now revisiting every Degas book and paintings in other books. Clearly we have nothing on Claire’s learned eye.

    We love art but this has brought it back toto dinner conversation over and over again. So glad we found the same gem.

  40. January 16, 2013 3:29 pm

    This one is coming up for my book club, and now I’m even more excited to get to it!

  41. swright9 permalink
    January 16, 2013 10:21 pm

    Sounds like good one for Book Club. nice review.

  42. becca7931 permalink
    January 17, 2013 4:51 pm

    I want to read this one so badly! I’ve read nothing but good things about it. Great review, Kathy.

  43. January 18, 2013 2:24 pm

    So glad you loved this one! My book club is reading it at the end of the month and I’ll be curious what everyone things. For me it was a case of too much hype, though I still enjoyed it.

  44. January 18, 2013 10:31 pm

    Bought this for myself before the holidays — is on my to read in 2013 list!

  45. January 21, 2013 10:27 pm

    So glad you loved it. It sounds like it has a little bit of everything. I think I need to add this to my wish list!

  46. May 24, 2013 11:05 am

    Thanks for your great review. The trailer was terrific. I just ordered this book from B&N and cant wait to receive it!

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