Review-The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

A gorgeous, captivating novel that should appeal to fans of such diverse authors as Susan Vreeland, Donna Tartt, and Iain Pears. I had to double-check several times that Sara de Vos was not in fact a real figure (the art history major in me was even second-guessing!). Smith’s writing of her was warm, painful, and authentic. Being a huge fan of historical fiction, I was more wrapped up in the 17th-century chapters of the novel, but the modern day back-and-forth between Ellie and Marty also proved fairly absorbing. There have been quite a few recent attempts at art forgery novels, and I think this is one that truly succeeds in not getting bogged down and yet also not turning into a lurid psychological thriller. There’s drama, there’s tension, but it still feels like a novel about art. The descriptions of painting techniques and Sara’s paintings themselves were another bonus. We never get an image of “At the Edge of a Wood”, and yet I can visualize it perfectly. ~Allison Senecal

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