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Amber Brock's debut switches effortlessly between Vassar in 1913, and New York City in 1923. Vera's life has been turned upside twice, and the reader is along for the ride as she heads toward both incidents. In both cases, it's a newcomer that throws her world into upheaval. In 1913, it's Bea, an energetic new friend that likes to play fast with the rules. In 1923, it's Emil, a mysterious artist hired to paint a mural in Vera's building. Brock's description of the art in the book is beautiful, and hearing Vera talk about art makes it very easy to understand why Emil falls for her so quickly. Vera's world is very limited by the expectations placed on her, and you can feel that world pressing in on her with every interaction she has, whether it's with her controlling mother, her absentee husband, or the other wives in her building. A Fine Imitation is an intimate story of a woman offered two chances to escape her life. Will she take either?
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.