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A Nearly Perfect Copy: A Novel
by Allison Amend

Elm works at an old, established auction house in Manhattan, the firm's specialist in 17th and 18th century drawings and prints. She's proud of her 'eye' - her ability to see a work from her time period and immediately determine whether it's a forgery, attributed incorrectly or genuine. Gabriel Connois is a forty-something artist in Paris who has begun to realize that the recognition he's worked for all his life may never come. Although Elm and Gabriel never meet, they become embroiled in an art ring that manufactures and sells forgeries.

Elm is a difficult heroine, because she embodies few heroic traits to make her sympathetic. She is devastated by the death of her child, Ronan, who was killed in a tsunami while on vacation. She's so obsessed with this dead boy that she's often rather short and unfeeling with her living daughter. When she hears about a company in Paris that can clone human beings, she pools all the family's money to pay for the procedure. Never once does she discuss things with her husband; in fact, she lies to him again and again to hide the reason for her frequent trips to Europe. She takes on questionable drawings and sells them outside the auction house, even though she's pretty sure they're fake, just to get more money for the treatment. In her obsession, Elm ignores her disintegrating relationships with her husband and her friends.

Gabe was a more typical 'starving artist' archetype, who, when offered the chance to do some quick work for good money, leaps at the opportunity. I found him far more sympathetic, because throughout the book he's growing and changing into a better person. Elm, by contrast, becomes more deceitful as the book goes on. In the end, each person gets what they deserve.

The book sometimes plods a bit, or becomes too wrapped up in explaining the art world to the masses, but it's a well-crafted tale of intrigue that asks which is more important: the art itself or the name attached to it?

3.5 out of 5 stars

To read more about A Nearly Perfect Copy, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Madame Serpent by Jean Plaidy
2011: Little Princes by Conor Grennan
2010: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan
2009: Vacation: In Yosemite
2008: Win a copy of Guernica by Dave Boling!


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