The Art Forger

Thoughts tafbybas The Art Forger by Barbara Shapiro, Algonquin Books 2012, 368 pages, eBook, for book club.

I knew I should have written this review right after I read it! It’s now been two and a half weeks and I’ve forgotten a lot. And that is despite my friend on vacation reading it and asking me if it was worth it! I just told her to keep reading. I think she may have decided it wasn’t worth it…

If you like art and you like mysteries and even a bit of historical fiction, you might like this book. It has a touch of romance which was only half believable. It has a lot of Boston which was fun since I live near Boston.

I am a big fan of Impressionism, a fan of Degas and his ballet girls and a huge fan of John Singer Sargent. WAIT! that was in the other book I read, The Forgotten Garden. Sorry, coinky-dink theme connections, sort of.

So, this book is about Claire who is hired to copy a painting. Not just any painting but a Degas painting worth many millions that was stolen in the crime of the century. So the risks are high. A bit of a con game, a mystery, a who-done it, and a good girl trying to prove her innocence by outing a whole ‘nuther crime.

Especially odd or interesting – I couldn’t decide – were the imagined personal letters of Isabella Stewart Gardner, the eccentric art collector who originally owned the painting eventually stolen in the 1990s that our girl Claire was copying/forgering and thus a key element of the mystery. I have been to the museum twice since moving to Massachusetts and if I got anything at all out of this book, it is the desire to visit again very soon.

Three slices of pie.

For a bit more negative review, visit Nancy* the BookFool and read her thoughts.

For a bit more positive review, visit Kathy the BermudaOnion and read her thoughts.

* On page 100, Claire meets the art gallery guy at the Oak Room in the Copley Hotel. Nancy and I met Simon Van Booy in the very same Oak Room (click to see post/photo)  in September 2011.

HIdeinWhitetoSkipLine

Copyright © 2007-2013. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

21 Responses to “The Art Forger”


  1. 1 bermudaonion(Kathy) February 27, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    I generally don’t enjoy books with too much detail but I thought this one was great. I want to visit the museum after reading it. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much as I did but I appreciate the link love.

    • 2 Care February 27, 2013 at 8:34 pm

      I think it may have suffered some from too much jumping around to build the back story; once we hit the last third, the action and pacing picked up and ran to a satisfying enough conclusion. I liked it, just didn’t love it. :)

  2. 3 Ali (Worducopia) February 27, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Chris brought this home from the library (he’s an art history kind of dude), I wonder if he’ll like it. I’d rather read The Song of Achilles. ;)

  3. 5 Ruthiella February 28, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I do like novels with letters and where I learn things (art, Degas)…I will keep this one in mind when at the library next.

  4. 7 Laurie C February 28, 2013 at 6:10 am

    The Art Forger didn’t wow me either, but I liked it OK. Claire never really came to life and some of the plot was a real stretch, but the local connection to the museum was nice.

  5. 9 Ti February 28, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Doesn’t sound like a keeper to me. Thoughts on this book are all over the place across the blogisphere.

    • 10 Care February 28, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Guess it depends on what you like from reading. I think I am more of the reader who wants to explore the ‘deeper meaning’. This was a solid three pie slice read for me.

  6. 11 jennygirl February 28, 2013 at 11:47 am

    I adore the museum but don’t go as much as I like. This would be great to read to make myself go to the museum again. Thanks Care :)

  7. 13 Amy March 1, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Oh wow, you met Simon Van Booy, lucky you!

    I was interested in reading The Art Forger because I adore The work od John Singer Sargent and Degas…my main reason for visiting NYC’s Met and other museums! But I read mixed reviews of thew book and then couldn’t decide. I don’t know a lot about Isabelle Stewart Gardner but I knew she’s real and I don’t always like it when authors connect ‘false facts’ to real people such as the personal letters of Gardner. I’m curious about the book, though, so I’ll probly read it at some point!

    One things fer sure…the next time I get up to Boston, MA area, I’m going to this museum.
    I enjoyed your post, thank you!.

  8. 15 Turn the Page Reviews March 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Sounds interesting- love the Boston area and historical fiction. I am going to put this on my to read list-thanks!

    • 16 Care March 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Overall, it was well-received by the club. And some thought it much better than they expected which is always better than the other way around. Give it a shot!

  9. 17 Arti March 1, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    I read this book about a month ago. At first I really liked it, it read like a very artsy and literary work. But as I was half way through, I developed some negative feelings, don’t know why… it begins to shift style and genre, and at the end, finished off like any other ordinary mystery story. Also, I was trying to click the link to the ‘negative’ review but the link doesn’t lead me to that specific post.

    • 18 Care March 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm

      OH! Sorry about that – I wondered if the link would work because it is her review on goodreads and I bet you have to be friends to see it. She didn’t put a review on her blog. Hopefully she will read this!

      • 19 Bookfool, aka Nancy March 4, 2013 at 12:35 am

        Just posted my review with a few alterations: The Art Forger

        I like your review better than mine. Thanks for the reminder that I’d already posted a review at Goodreads! I’d totally forgotten. I also appreciated the reminder of that scene in The Oak Room. Such a great memory!

  10. 20 Bookfool, aka Nancy March 4, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Crap, that link didn’t work. I’ll try, again. The Art Forger

    If that doesn’t work, I’m going to bed. :)


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