Monthly Archives: May 2016

A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock

Vera Bellington has it all, privilege, a penthouse in 1920s  New York and the life to go with it, complete with husband and glamorous social life, a Vassar education in art history…and if she was happy with all of that, there would be no novel.  Vera’s life takes a turn for the exciting when her husband decides (at the suggestion of their building tenants) to hire an artist to paint a mural in the pool room in the basement of their apartment building.  The muralist hired, Emil Hallan,  arrives, talented, charming and always more curious about everyone else.  His background seems more and more to be a mystery, but what isn’t a mystery is his interest in Vera.   At the same time, Vera runs into her old college friend Bea in an art gallery, and becomes suspicious of Bea and a bit afraid of what associating again with her could mean. After all, Bea was not parent approved while at Vassar, and Vera’s mother plays a significant role in her choices.

The novel unfolds in chapters that alternate between Vera’s present day life on Park Avenue, and her college years at Vassar.  The Vassar chapters  reminisce about what could have been had Vera the courage to make up her own mind and follow her heart.  Present day Park Avenue is the result.  Her choices are a little Downton Abbey-esque, in that class, parents and propriety determine most everything.

A Fine Imitation was a quick weekend read for me, a good early summer hit.  The story and subtle mystery are predictable but satisfying, and I have to say, I wasn’t on to everything as soon as I could have been.  This is Brock’s first novel, and I do love a good debut…perhaps you will too!







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The Assistants by Camille Perri

The Assistants by Camille Perri

The story:  Tina Fontana is the executive assistant to Robert Barlow, a multi media tycoon in New York.  One day, Tina has to arrange first class air fare for Robert, and be sure no one is sitting near him.  The tab for this feat is $19k+, charged to Tina’s personal credit card, and immediately submitted for reimbursement.  The person she speaks to to make the reservations is rude beyond acceptable, the phone call is monitored by the airline, and the tab is reimbursed by the airline.  Tina’s reimbursement check arrives…just enough to pay off her student debt.  She deposits the check and pays off her student debt.  What ensues is a page turner in the modern-day Robin Hood genre.

I read The Assistants in a day, in between everything else I was supposed to be doing.  While the story at base isn’t original, (The Devil Wears Prada, A Window Opens, The Knock Off…) the telling and strategy is.  There are some laugh out loud lines, some surprises, and some satisfaction.  A five-star entertaining read!

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Filed under posted by Meredith