The Art of Love and Lies

Shadow Mountain. Aug. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781639931088. pap. $16.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
In this exciting historical romance set in 1857 Manchester, England, Rosanna Hawkins paints reproductions of masterpieces for upper-middle class socialites, so when the city hosts a large art exhibition that includes a Madonna study by Michelangelo, Rosanna quickly attends to view many famous artworks to use in her reproductions. While there, Rosanna literally runs into detective Martin Harrison, who manages security for the exhibition. As an apology, he gives her a tour of the show, and the two continue to meet and grow close. When Martin believes he has foiled an attempted theft of the Michelangelo, Rosanna examines it, in addition to other artworks, and realizes that several of her reproductions now hang in place of the originals. Initially suspicious, Martin blames Rosanna, while Rosanna tries to clear her name and find the real thief. But she and Martin will have to work together before the real thief escapes and the art is lost forever. Some readers may find that Martin’s hasty but temporary condemnation of Rosanna feels jarring and makes their happily-ever-after feel incomplete.
VERDICT Anderson’s (Isabelle and Alexander) latest stand-alone features a tender love story between a gentlewoman painter and a detective trying to rise above his difficult childhood.
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