The Collector’s Apprentice

The Collector’s Apprentice

From The Bestselling Author of The Art Forger and The MuralistIt’s the summer of 1922, and nineteen-year-old Paulien Mertens finds herself in Paris—broke, disowned, and completely alone. Everyone in Belgium, including her own family, believes she stole millions in a sophisticated con game perpetrated by her then-fiancé, George Everard. To protect herself from the law and t...

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Title:The Collector’s Apprentice
Author:B.A. Shapiro
Rating:

The Collector’s Apprentice Reviews

  • Colleen

    B.A. Shapiro has done it again. If you loved The Art Forger, you will love this one. Mystery, romance, art, and intrigue - what's not to love? Highly recommended and suspenseful. A great novel and a great read. You won't be disappointed - true to character and story line, you won't want to put it down!

  • Wendy Walker

    BA Shapiro always delivers a spellbinding story, with art, history and heart stopping suspense. Having had the privilege hearing her speak, I can tell you that what goes into these plots is an extraordinary practice of notes and charts and meticulous planning. The result is a truly wonderful read!

  • Linda

    Schemers and scoundrels hide and blend behind the scenes like the blurred textures within an art masterpiece. Within time, though, the eyes focus more readily and true colors are ultimately revealed.

    It's 1922 at a small estate in Belgium and we find Paulien Mertens lost in the pangs of love. Her nineteen years on this earth don't adequately prepare her for the waves of ill-intent by one George Everard. George has presented her with a sizable engagement ring. But what doesn't ring true are his sh

    Schemers and scoundrels hide and blend behind the scenes like the blurred textures within an art masterpiece. Within time, though, the eyes focus more readily and true colors are ultimately revealed.

    It's 1922 at a small estate in Belgium and we find Paulien Mertens lost in the pangs of love. Her nineteen years on this earth don't adequately prepare her for the waves of ill-intent by one George Everard. George has presented her with a sizable engagement ring. But what doesn't ring true are his shifty ways. Paulien convinces her father into investing with ol' George. The aftermath leaves the Mertens family without their art nor their fortune.

    Cast out by her angry family, Paulien heads to Paris. She is forced to reinvent herself including her own name. While keeping ahead of scandal, Paulien becomes Vivienne Gregsby. With very few coins in her handbag, Vivienne rents a tiny rundown apartment. She takes on new employment while working in a millinery shop, becoming a waitress, an art model, and eventually a translator. But this last option will open a heavy door that will drastically change Vivienne's life forever.

    Vivienne will meet Dr. Edwin Bradley, an American art collector who wishes to deal with avant-garde galleries. B.A. Shapiro intermixes her story with the likes of Henri Matisse and actual historical figures of the day as Bradley employs Vivienne to assist him in acquiring a high-end collection. We will find ourselves in the salon of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas as well. Shapiro develops Vivienne with a fine-tuned artistic sensibility. As Bradley's collection grows, so does Vivienne's desire to re-engage with her family's lost art. She also wishes to once again connect with the conniving George. But will this ambition be her eventual downfall?

    I enjoyed The Collector's Apprentice as Shapiro wraps it in true artistic appreciation. But Shapiro also adds heavy brushstrokes of human greed and desire. Her characters take on a different hue when placed in iffy situations. My favorites of Shapiro are still The Muralist and The Art Forger. You may want to check these out as well. Shapiro is a master at blending the art world with the art of fiction.

    I received a copy of The Collector's Apprentice through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Algonquin Books and to B.A. Shapiro for the opportunity.

  • Fred Shaw

    The Collector’s Apprentice is a historical novel of the post impressionist art period taking place in Europe and the U.S. It is well written with constant twists and turns and introductions of fictional characters interacting with real life artists and art collectors like Henri Matisse, Gertrude Stein, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. It is a very entertaining read.

  • Julia

    Two and a half stars. I think I would have liked this book more if I weren't thoroughly knowledgeable about Albert Barnes, the Barnes Foundation, and the battle over Barnes' collection. Shapiro states in the afterword that the book is "loosely based" on Albert Barnes and Violette de Mazio and that is very much the case. Why she even bothered to "loosely base" her book on Albert and Violette when most of the book was complete fiction, I cannot answer.

  • Daniel Villines

    This is my second novel by Shapiro. The first,

    , was impressive. She used the magic of words to make paintings come alive so that they could be loved by the reader as they were loved by her main character; just as art has been loved by me from time-to-time. And while the novel was technically a mystery novel, this tired format took a backseat to the power and beauty of art.

    Almost in direct contrast with

    ,

    flips the balance of art and mystery

    This is my second novel by Shapiro. The first,

    , was impressive. She used the magic of words to make paintings come alive so that they could be loved by the reader as they were loved by her main character; just as art has been loved by me from time-to-time. And while the novel was technically a mystery novel, this tired format took a backseat to the power and beauty of art.

    Almost in direct contrast with

    ,

    flips the balance of art and mystery around. I was hoping for another journey through art, but most of this novel’s focus is on the mystery. Shapiro uses time and story to mask truths that are predestined to be revealed at the end of the book. The reader is simply following a string through a maze.

    I think that Shapiro could be a better writer rather than one that needs to rest upon mystery novels and it's disheartening to see the mystery novel format taking hold over her ability to write beautifully about art. Given the pure joy of experiencing her talent in making art come alive, I know there is an even better novel in her waiting to be written.

  • Laura Rash

    A Ponzi scheme leads a woman to start a new life with a new identity in the art world. Just not my cup of tea tho I enjoyed her last book.

    This was a Goodreads win.

  • Lisa

    Paulien Mertens, a young woman from a distinguished family, finds herself alone and penniless in Paris 1922. Her fiancé bilked her family and friends out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme and believing she played a part in the deception her family disinherits her. Although innocent of any duplicity, she must rebuild her life by reinventing herself with a new name Vivienne Gregsby. She meets a wealthy art collector named Edwin Bradley from America who needs an interpreter to help him on hi

    Paulien Mertens, a young woman from a distinguished family, finds herself alone and penniless in Paris 1922. Her fiancé bilked her family and friends out of millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme and believing she played a part in the deception her family disinherits her. Although innocent of any duplicity, she must rebuild her life by reinventing herself with a new name Vivienne Gregsby. She meets a wealthy art collector named Edwin Bradley from America who needs an interpreter to help him on his art buying trip. Using some of the skills her former fiancé used, she manages to manipulate Edwin into buying her family's most cherished paintings and becomes his invaluable assistant when he travels back to America to build his own art museum.

    I wanted very much to like Paulien/Vivienne but she seemed to be an entitled whiny young woman who can't see past her own desires to restore her family's paintings to them which she believes will earn their forgiveness. Her indifferent treatment of her benefactor Edwin, who is secretly in love with her, is very cold and callous. She only shows real emotion when she's with Henri Matisse or gazing at the artwork around her.

    Although I thought this book was okay, I would recommend it to my fellow book lovers so they can form their own opinions about it.

  • Jeanette

    No rating. I couldn't imagine giving it more than 2 stars for my own read. I got nearly to the 1/2 way point and all the others in my TBR pile called out to me. Just too many good ones there.

    It's about a women of 20 in 1922 who makes a new life for herself in Paris (working as an agent within the art sales of that period) because of a Ponzi scheme fall out with her former fiance and her entire wealthy family. Formerly wealthy- the Ponzi scheme, you know.

    Those readers here who are Romance genre l

    No rating. I couldn't imagine giving it more than 2 stars for my own read. I got nearly to the 1/2 way point and all the others in my TBR pile called out to me. Just too many good ones there.

    It's about a women of 20 in 1922 who makes a new life for herself in Paris (working as an agent within the art sales of that period) because of a Ponzi scheme fall out with her former fiance and her entire wealthy family. Formerly wealthy- the Ponzi scheme, you know.

    Those readers here who are Romance genre lovers and Paris sighers of gushing Seine placements will enjoy this one. Possibly. It's not my style of effusive writing or of principles' moods/abilities. Either. I did enjoy the Art Forger although I did find it plodding. This one also holds tons of instructive Post-Impressionist painting and sculpture of various types minutia and celeb artist intersect. None of which seems remotely possible to me, btw.

    Absolutely not my cup of tea. Writing or plot. I would also categorize it as Chick Lit.

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