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Claire Roth is a recent MFA graduate and painter living in Boston with a controversial past. She makes ends meet by painting reproductions. When one of the city’s best art dealers commissions her to copy an Edgar Degas painting After the Bath that was one stolen in the unsolved heist from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and offers her a show of her own paintings at his gallery Claire makes a bargain that sets all kinds of action in motion. Shapiro’s book is ambitious told in three threads—the current, three years in the past and through letters of Gardner’s to her Boston niece. I liked how she set up the story but thought she had trouble making her ending very plausible and many of the characters involved got a little clichéd in the end. But, I’ve read a lot about the real Gardner heist and visited the museum so enjoyed this novel visit and play on that event despite the flaws.
posted Jul 2, 2013 at 7:22AM
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Reproduces famous works of art for a popular online retailer; desperate to improve her life situation; she agreed to forge one of the masterpieces stolen from a museum in 1990.