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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-07
- Reviewer: Staff
In her debut novel, Brock delivers an absorbing tale of art, deception, romance, and forbidden desire. Vera Bellington lives with her cool and distant husband, Arthur, in a beautiful Park Avenue penthouse in Gilded Age Manhattan. Bored and lonely amid the swirl of society gatherings, Vera finds what seems to be a kindred spirit in Emil Hallan, the European artist hired to paint a mural to adorn the walls of the apartment building’s swimming pool. But while movies and speakeasies are diverting, Vera can’t shake the sense that something’s not quite right about Arthur—or Emil, for that matter. As she lingers at home night after night while Arthur works late, Vera’s interest in the enigmatic Emil begins to grow. The novel moves between the Prohibition years and Vera’s days at Vassar College, reflecting on her regrets about love and friendship lost there. Bea Stillman, Vera’s rambunctious college classmate, is now working as a secretary for an art dealer when Vera happens to come into her gallery. With Vera’s married life and finely crafted social facade disintegrating, she finally begins to reckon with the events that pushed Bea away a decade before. Though Vera’s glitzy surroundings may feel a bit artificial, and the threads are tied up a little too conveniently, the novel still offers escape, suspense, and satisfaction. Agent: Stefanie Lieberman, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (May)