A Fine Imitation

A Fine Imitation

by Amber Brock

Overview: Set in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite's restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.

Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus—the most coveted address on Park Avenue. But behind the sparkling social whirl, Vera is living a life of quiet desperation. Her days are an unbroken loop of empty, champagne-soaked socializing, while her nights are silent and cold, spent waiting alone in her cavernous apartment for a husband who seldom comes home.

Then Emil Hallan arrives at The Angelus to paint a mural above its glittering subterranean pool. The handsome French artist moves into the building, shrouds his work in secrecy, and piques Vera's curiosity, especially when the painter keeps dodging questions about his past. Is he the man he claims to be? Even as she finds herself increasingly drawn to Hallan's warmth and passion, Vera can't suppress her suspicions. After all, she has plenty of secrets, too—and some of them involve art forgers like her bold, artistically talented former friend, Bea, who years ago, at Vassar, brought Vera to the brink of catastrophe and social exile.

When the dangerous mysteries of Emil's past are revealed, Vera faces an impossible choice—whether to cling to her familiar world of privilege and propriety or to risk her future with the enigmatic man who has taken her heart. A Fine Imitation explores what happens when we realize that the life we've always led is not the life we want to have.

Rona Simmons (05/21/16): I’ll call A Fine Imitation “Downton Abbey Meets Nights from Rodanthe (or any other romance novel you care to substitute). I love the time period (1920s) for all that was going on in the world and the mark it left on everyone, rich or poor, privileged or middle class. And though this book stayed with its upper class characters, they seemed to live in a bubble of extravagance and ignorance of the world events. Perhaps that was the author’s intent. They lived an imitation of real life. And indeed there are any number of imitations to unveil in the story.

With the author’s build up to scandal and shocking events to be revealed (tortuously slowly), I expected more from the last half, but found it a mad rush to tie up all the loose ends. That half might have been the better part of the story had it been given its own space. * I received an advance readers copy from librarything in exchange for an honest review *
Rating: ***

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