I have a lot of feelings about this book, but a lot of them aren’t good.
The goals of this book were to be a character-centered romantic tale of art. Take that “romantic” word however you’d like, it appears in different ways. Annie buys a painting from a junk shop that just so happens to end up being one of Watteau’s lost pieces of art. Ends up, everyone wants it – and by everyone, I mean everyone from art dealers to rappers to shah’s to prime ministers. But the painting might quite possibly have some shady history as well. The book isn’t all about art – it’s also about Annie recovering after having her life essentially ruined by an ex boyfriend and finding a way to live again.
There are so many weird pieces to this book, and I was intrigued by its description. I really wanted it to be good. But then the painting talked. No, I’m not kidding. The painting has it’s own voice in this book – it even calls itself “moi” all the time (and says other single French words) which was just painful to read. And honestly, that wasn’t even the worst part of the book because at least the painting had a few interesting things to say about it’s history. No, the worst parts of the book centered around the characters who were introduced at the very beginning as would-be bidders on the painting at auction. But honestly, they’re just boring. To be truthful, I may possibly have skipped over most of the sections speaking about half of these characters (most of which I don’t even remember their names, and I just finished the book…) There are a couple of characters who actually contribute to the plot, but a large majority of them don’t do anything except to make this already overworded book even wordier. You could probably remove about 200 pages of content from this book and then it may be decent. Because really – the basic plot IS interesting! But there’s just so much else unneedingly going on that it really just ruins it.
I really think that the author (who has a background in art and philanthropy) had a good idea, but it was almost like she all of a sudden became pretentious and threw in a whole bunch of unnecessary information to seem smart or something. If she had just stuck to the basics, this book would have gained a lot more of a following. Maybe create an abridged edition and remove various dukes and Russians and give information about the painting without making it talk? Yeah, I think I’d like that book.
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.