“On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art worth today over $500 million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. It remains the largest unsolved art heist in history, and Claire Roth, a struggling young artist, is about to discover that there’s more to this crime than meets the eye.Claire makes her living reproducing famous works of art for a popular online retailer. Desperate to improve her situation, she lets herself be lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting — one of the Degas masterpieces stolen from the Gardner Museum — in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when the long-missing Degas painting — the one that had been hanging for one hundred years at the Gardner — is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery.Claire’s search for the truth about the painting’s origins leads her into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.”
Claire Roth is a fiercely independent and yet damaged character, someone with whom readers will fall in love given her vulnerability and resolute pride. Her past harbors shadows, and the discovery of them is as enjoyable as the main mystery. More importantly, Claire has heart. She is not just an embittered starving artist. She can laugh at herself for being a living cliché while worrying about making a difference in the lives of others. Her passion, her determination, and ultimately her flaws make her a character worth following.
Much in the same way an artist layers oil-based paints to achieve depth and a kaleidoscope of color, Ms. Shapiro uses multiple layers to create an intricate and breathtaking novel. Claire is wonderfully complex and one of the more realistic characters to grace the written page. The story itself is beautifully written and contains plenty of plot twists to interest even the most hesitant of readers. With its basis in true story crime, The Art Forger captures a reader’s imagination from the very first page and continues to thrill and delight.