cover image Artifice


Sharon Cameron. Scholastic Press, $19.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-338-81395-1

Cameron (Bluebird) entwines the world of fine art and forgeries with a Dutch Resistance mission to smuggle Jewish children out of the Netherlands in this tightly plotted, suspenseful novel, set in 1943 Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Following her mother’s death, 18-year-old Isa DeSmit, who was brought up in the pre-war bohemian art society by painter parents, must manage the house (once also their gallery), while navigating her father’s erratic, absent-minded behavior. Lacking money for taxes and coal, Isa sells her father’s forgery of a Rembrandt to high-ranking Nazis, unwittingly beginning a dangerous entanglement with Nazi soldier Michel, who claims to be planning desertion. Allowing Resistance workers Truus, her childhood friend, and rigid Willem, Truus’s boyfriend, access to her home as they rescue Jewish babies entangles Isa, together with Michel, in their cause, which plunges her deeper into selling—and eventually creating—more forgeries. Painterly prose (“the deep deep cobalt of regret”) filled with rich intrigue depicts constantly shifting issues of trust in this complex, absorbing tale, based on historical figures, as detailed in the author’s note. All characters cue as white. Ages 12–up. (Nov.)