Hannah Rothchild's novel The Improbability of Love is hard to classify. Is it a drama, a mystery, a Holocaust novel, a romance, a satire? It is always a book about art, art as truth telling and as beauty, and the value of art socially and financially.
There is the human drama and romance angle. The heroine Annie buys a painting for a lover who dumps her. She is being pushed to check its provenance. It may be the real deal, a painting worth big bucks. But Annie is more interesting in getting her alcoholic mom out of her life and establishing a career as a chief. She works for the prestigious and powerful Winkleman family, premier art dealers. Meantime artist Jesse is enamored with Annie and hopes that by helping her he'll be there when she is willing to trust love again.
Memling Winkleman has been searching for the painting, once in his possession but lost when he gave it to his lover. His daughter Rebbecca suspects Annie has the painting. Eventually Rebbecca tracks down how the painting came into her family's possession and learns shocking truths, so horrific when her older brother discovered them he disappeared from an ocean liner.
The art world is seen through a critical eye in all it's absurdities, the sellers and buyers of power and wealth for whom art is a commodity. Social satire abounds in Rothchild's treatment of them.
The twist takes us into Nazi Germany and the sacking of art treasures from across Europe, and the mystery of where it all ended up.
Art lovers will enjoy being in the know as artist's names are dropped throughout the book. The painting speaks for itself in the story; it is quite prideful about its long list of stellar owners from the courts of Europe. It has ideas about how it should be treated.
|The Anxious Lover|
I received a free ebook from the publisher in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Publication Nov. 3, 2015
$27.95 hard cover