A Fine Imitation

A Fine Imitation

A Novel

Book - 2016
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Set in the glamorous 1920s, this is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite's restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin. Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus--the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home. Then Emil Hallan arrives at The Angelus to paint a mural above its glittering subterranean pool. The handsome French artist moves into the building, shrouds his work in secrecy, and piques Vera's curiosity, especially when the painter keeps dodging questions about his past. Is he the man he claims to be? Even as she finds herself increasingly drawn to Hallan's warmth and passion, Vera can't suppress her suspicions. After all, she has plenty of secrets, too--and some of them involve art forgers like her bold, artistically talented former friend, Bea, who years ago, at Vassar, brought Vera to the brink of catastrophe and social exile. When the dangerous mysteries of Emil's past are revealed, Vera faces an impossible choice--whether to cling to her familiar world of privilege and propriety or to risk her future with the enigmatic man who has taken her heart. A Fine Imitation explores what happens when we realize that the life we've always led is not the life we want to have.
Publisher: New York :, Crown Publishers,, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101905111
Characteristics: 295 pages ; 25 cm

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marthabwaters
Mar 29, 2016

This debut novel is addictive and readable, even if there are moments that the author's inexperience shows. It's set against the glamorous setting of wealthy New York in the 1920s, and told in chapters alternating with flashbacks to the protagonist's Vassar days in 1913. While the ending resolution comes a bit abruptly and is pretty neatly tied up, and there are occasional developments that are too clearly telegraphed in advance, it's still an impressive effort for a first novel, and one that is sure to appeal to fans of glamorous period pieces in the vein of Beatriz Williams' and Lauren Willig's books.

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