Synopsis (publisher): Deirdre Griffin has a great life; it’s just not her own. She’s the around-the-clock personal assistant to her charismatic, high-maintenance, New Age guru brother, Tag. As the family wallflower, her only worth seems to be as gatekeeper to Tag at his New England seaside compound. Then Deirdre’s sometime boyfriend informs her that he is marrying another woman, who just happens to be having the baby he told Deirdre he never wanted. While drowning her sorrows in Tag’s expensive vodka, Deirdre decides to use his massive online following to get herself voted on as a last-minute Dancing with the Stars replacement. It’ll get her back in shape, mentally and physically. It might even get her a life of her own. Deirdre’s fifteen minutes of fame have begun.
My take: This was an entertaining novel about a rather odd family. The parents are former Dead-heads. The only son is as described in the synopsis: a New Age guru. He’s the family moneymaker. There are assorted other family members who only make Deirdre feel move inadequate. In fact, Deirdre’s entire family makes her feel that way.
When the proverbial straw appears in the form of her loser boyfriend’s announcement Deirdre gets drunk and the rest, as they say, is history. One must suspend belief at this point because, as an occasional viewer of Dancing With the Stars, I don’t think this scenario would ever happen. That said, Claire Cook delivers a story that made me laugh. The point is obvious but that’s ok.
I liked the audiobook. Cassandra Campbell’s performance was enjoyable.
Synopsis (publisher): On March 18, 1990, thirteen works of art today worth 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. Making a living reproducing famous artworks for a popular online retailer and desperate to improve her situation, Claire is lured into a Faustian bargain with Aiden Markel, a powerful gallery owner. She agrees to forge a painting–a Degas masterpiece stolen from the Gardner Museum–in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But when that very same long-missing Degas painting is delivered to Claire’s studio, she begins to suspect that it may itself be a forgery. Her desperate search for the truth leads Claire into a labyrinth of deceit where secrets hidden since the late nineteenth century may be the only evidence that can now save her life.
My take: I’m an art lover in the most basic sense. Art Appreciation 101 aside, I have no formal art education or talent – just an eye for what I like. I remember hearing about the Gardener Museum heist when it occurred but quickly forgot about it – I was up to my ears in raising three young children at the time. I liked that it was the basis for Shapiro’s novel.
Claire Roth has a notorious reputation in the art world and has tried to live under the radar for the past few years as a legitimate reproduction artist. When given the chance to reproduce one of the stolen Degas paintings she just can’t say no. She makes her deal with the devil for the chance to show her own work.
I figured out the mystery early on so it’s safe to say most readers will (I’m not a mystery fan). Still, I had my doubts about who was behind it – who in Claire’s world knew what, etc.
I liked the descriptions of the Degas paintings – I googled a few times to see them.
Xe Sands did a fine job with the narration. Her performance definitely increased my overall enjoyment of the book.
Source: I bought both audiobooks.