This book is my second by BA Shapiro. I have also read The Art Forger and really enjoyed that. I’m not an artist in any way, but I do have a working knowledge of art, artists, periods, and have studied some important works through my education. And even if art isn’t your thing, these books are still excellent stories.
It’s the summer of 1922, and nineteen-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris—broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium, including her own family, believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she creates a new identity, a Frenchwoman named Vivienne Gregsby, and sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence—and exact revenge on George.
When the eccentric and wealthy American art collector Dr. Edwin Bradley offers Vivienne the perfect job, she is soon caught up in the Parisian world of post-Impressionists and expatriates—including Gertrude Stein and Henri Matisse, with whom Vivienne becomes romantically entwined. As she travels between Paris and Philadelphia, where Bradley is building an art museum, her life becomes even more complicated: George returns with unclear motives . . . and then Vivienne is arrested for Bradley’s murder.
B. A. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own. In The Collector’s Apprentice, she gives us an unforgettable tale about the lengths to which people will go for their obsession, whether it be art, money, love, or vengeance.
This book was one that, even though it isn’t really a thriller, I couldn’t put it down and wanted to see how Vivienne manages this double life. The art descriptions are fantastic, the story moves quickly, and Vivienne is a great heroine.