BookBrowse Reviews The Art Forger by B A. Shapiro

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The Art Forger

by B A. Shapiro

The Art Forger by B A. Shapiro
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2012, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2013, 384 pages

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Thirteen works of art are stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there's more to this crime than meets the eye.

B. A. Shapiro's The Art Forger is a top choice among BookBrowse readers. 15 out of 16 reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars! Here is what they say:

Ms. Shapiro picked up her palette and came up with an enthralling picture story of the world of artists, paintings, greed, copying and forging that will keep her readers on the edge of their seats. (Barbara S.) I loved this book! From the moment I started reading I was absorbed in the story and I could not put it down! I was eager to learn the secrets of Claire's past and see how that past played a role in the choices she struggled to make as the mystery of the art forgery unfolded. The author has also instilled in me a new appreciation and interest in art. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to the next offering from Shapiro (Joann M). The book pulls the reader into the world of art, only some of it is not pretty. But it is a page turner. Not a mystery per se but certainly suspenseful (Patricia H).

The book offers a fascinating look at the world of art:

This novel is well-written with an excellent plot that includes mystery, romance and well-drawn characters that you come to care about. The narrator is Claire, a young artist who makes her living painting reproductions of art masterpieces by Edgar Degas and others, and the reader will learn a lot about how artists apply paint to canvas; and as part of the mystery of the novel, the reader comes to understand the technical process of "layering", "glazing" and "rendering", as well as how an artist uses line, shadow and movement. Further, the reader will learn about the history of art forgery and that some art experts today think that the best forgeries are still hanging on museum walls...a page turner that I highly recommend. (Barbara M). The Art Forger was a learning experience for me. The passion of the artist, the difficulty of attaining success, and the manipulation of the market are all here (Barbara H). By the time I finished reading The Art Forger, I was tempted to find local classes on art history and forgery just to learn more. This isn't a quick read but is definitely a memorable and enjoyable read. I strongly recommend it (Vivian T).

Some readers were especially captivated by the history rendered in The Art Forger:

Some of the story is based on actual events and people, which always enhances a mystery for me. And there is a strong, undaunted female lead! (Lesley F) One frustration: because so much of the story is based on fact, I spent a lot of time on the Internet trying to separate truth from fiction - and maybe that's not such a bad thing either (Mary G). The Art Forger is a very good mystery filled with fascinating facts about the art industry. It revolves around reproductions, art forgery and a missing masterpiece. The fictional story is based on a real event - the largest art heist ever in which 13 works of art from such masters as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Degas were stolen from the Gardner Museum in Boston. I loved the main character, Claire...The development of the additional characters was well done - the obsessive collectors, devious painters and art dealers. I appreciate the author's extensive study in the world of masterpieces (Karen R).

Who should read this book?:

I read the book quickly, and the last 100 pages without stopping. Even though I had many other things to do, I needed to see how it ended! Book clubs would find much to discuss here - art history, art thefts, and ethics (Andrea S). I think book clubs would like this book and would find a lot to discuss (Nancy M). With a protagonist I genuinely liked, enough plot twists to keep me turning pages, and a reality-based framework, this book was hugely enjoyable to read. Shapiro kept me entertained and intrigued from page one. I have already given it to my husband to read, and will highly recommend it to others (Kenan R).

The art heist that forms the basis of this novel made news when the FBI identified the thieves responsible, in March 2013.

This review was originally published in October 2012, and has been updated for the May 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



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