Monday, September 16, 2019

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro {ends 9/22}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley
VIVIENNE, 1925

Henri is nominated to sit on the jury for the Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh and plans to visit Merion when the competition is over. He reluctantly gives in to Vivienne’s pleas and promises to act as if they are nothing more than friends. But given his propensity for high jinks, she’s far from certain he’s going to keep his promise.

It’s well over ninety the day of his arrival, and Vivienne can’t decide what to wear. She rifles through her closet, which is stuffed with colorful dresses, and then walks to the closet in the second bedroom. Edwin keeps increasing her salary, and she’s been able to buy a small house in Merion, about half a mile from the Bradley. It’s a charming Arts and Crafts cottage, with deep mahogany floors and moldings, a fireplace, and a tiny garden out back, where she’s planted some of Ada’s best bulbs and bushes. It’s nothing like the estate she grew up on, but she’s proud of having purchased it by herself, using money she earned through her own hard work.


I always enjoy historical fiction. In a well-written book like this one, I can feel like I learn some ‘real’ things, while reading a book for entertainment.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro {ends 9/22}
In this surprising, noirish page-turner, B. A. Shapiro once again takes readers into the world of art, glamour, and mystery. Accused of helping her fiancĂ© steal her family’s fortune and her father’s art collection, Paulien Mertens has fled to France. To protect herself from the law and the wrath of those who lost everything, she has created a new identity. Paulien, aka Vivienne, takes a position working for an American art collector modeled after real-life eccentric museum founder Albert Barnes and quickly becomes caught up in the 1920s Paris of artists and expats, including post-Impressionist painter Henri Matisse and writer Gertrude Stein. From there, she sets out to recover her father’s art collection, prove her innocence, and exact revenge on her ex-fiancĂ©. B. A. Shapiro has made the historical art thriller her own, and once again she gives us an unforgettable tale about what we see—and what we refuse to see.

There were several stories happening at once in this book, and I really enjoyed the way they were told. The chapters alternated between some from the old Paulien’s life, some from the new Vivienne’s life, and some from the court deciding her fate after a new dramatic event unfolds. I loved the development of the character, and how she changed in relation to everything happening around her and with whom she was interacting.

While I usually love a good sequel as well, I can’t see this story going on further. Each of the story lines were neatly wrapped up by the end, which I always appreciate. Once I become engaged with the characters, I don’t want to have to wonder for years what will happen next in their lives.

Overall, I really liked this book. I noticed that the author has several others that look similarly enjoyable. I’d give this one 3.5 out of 5 stars.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley enjoys Cherry Coke, snack foods, embroidery, and reading. She’s found that having a job negatively impacts the time available to enjoy these activities, and the time to post on her own blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a paperback copy of The Collector's Apprentice!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Sunday, September 22nd, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will be notified the next day via email, and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Paperback copy of The Collector's Apprentice, by B.A. Shapiro

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