This week I read The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. This book has it all: suspense, romance, a historical mystery, art, and the heartbreaking tale of a real-life historical art heist. Whew! I highly recommend you read this one, and it is on the Indie Bound Most Wished For List. :D
Early on March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers tied-up two guards at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and stole thirteen works of art with an estimated value of 500 million dollars. In spite of a five million dollar reward for any information concerning the heist, not one of the works has been recovered. This was truly a tragic day in art history.
Claire Roth is a young artist who has a shady past. Talented beyond belief with an MFA after her name, she can't get a show at any of the trendy Boston galleries because she has been blacklisted. She has taken a job with reproductions.com making a small living painting high-quality reproductions of masterpieces. Enter Aiden Markel, owner of the renowned gallery Markel G. Aiden brings one of the stolen paintings from the Gardner Museum to Claire's studio, and gives her an offer she can't refuse: paint a copy in exchange for a private show at Markel G. Claire immediately suspects that the painting (a Degas) is indeed a forgery rather than the original, but she keeps this information from Aiden. The plot from this point on has many twists and turns, and I found it difficult to put the book down! I especially loved learning about the intricate process of painting a forgery that would fool the experts. I also enjoyed the history (and fiction) about Degas and infamous forgers.