Title: A Fine Imitation
Author: Amber Brock
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.
A Fine Imitation is an intriguing look at women during the turn of the century, and one woman’s life as she begins to find herself rebelling against who society – and her family – wants her to be. The only problem with this novel was that I wasn’t convinced that the story was truly set in the 1920’s due to a lack of description concerning elements associated with the turn of the century.
Amber Brock, however, is clearly a fine storyteller. Some of the minor elements that she inserted into the novel did well to show us hidden aspects of the main character, Vera. By the following example alone, Brock showed us how Vera sees the world as always judging her and willing her to be how they expect her to be:
“Four golden angel statues topped the roof, their wings tucked, and they glared down at Vera as she left her car and went into the lobby.”
These small examples show Brock’s artistry beautifully, and prove that she knows how to develop her characters well. She also has a great sense of art itself due to some of the scattered comments that she wrote through different characters throughout the book:
“With their eyes all rolled to the gods like that, it looks like they are having fits. The worst thing is how lazy it is on the artist’s part. Making a person look real is far more of a challenge.”
Art was something that Vera found to be a comfort, and it was clear that this is what caused her to have an affair with an artist. She never felt connected to her husband, and the artist connected to her soul based solely on his work. Brock’s novel is so much more than a novel about women in the 1920’s, but about art and emotion and how it can save a person who feels lonely and lost in life. Vera found herself and who she was meant to be, despite what society told her. This book is a lesson for all women and anyone who needs the courage to be who they are – no matter the consequence.
*I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
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