A Fine Imitation

Amber Brock. Crown, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-101-90511-1
In her debut novel, Brock delivers an absorbing tale of art, deception, romance, and forbidden desire. Vera Bellington lives with her cool and distant husband, Arthur, in a beautiful Park Avenue penthouse in Gilded Age Manhattan. Bored and lonely amid the swirl of society gatherings, Vera finds what seems to be a kindred spirit in Emil Hallan, the European artist hired to paint a mural to adorn the walls of the apartment building’s swimming pool. But while movies and speakeasies are diverting, Vera can’t shake the sense that something’s not quite right about Arthur—or Emil, for that matter. As she lingers at home night after night while Arthur works late, Vera’s interest in the enigmatic Emil begins to grow. The novel moves between the Prohibition years and Vera’s days at Vassar College, reflecting on her regrets about love and friendship lost there. Bea Stillman, Vera’s rambunctious college classmate, is now working as a secretary for an art dealer when Vera happens to come into her gallery. With Vera’s married life and finely crafted social facade disintegrating, she finally begins to reckon with the events that pushed Bea away a decade before. Though Vera’s glitzy surroundings may feel a bit artificial, and the threads are tied up a little too conveniently, the novel still offers escape, suspense, and satisfaction. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 05/03/2016
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-14-752651-9
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-101-90513-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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