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By Karin Tanabe
Publication Date: 08/05/14
My Rating: 5 Stars
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE PRICE OF INHERITANCE by Karin Tanabe is an intriguing novel into the world of contemporary art crime, and historical aspects, while weaving a tangled web of suspense, romance and mystery.
Carolyn, age twenty-nine, single, a Princeton graduate-- resides in New York, a senior specialist in American Furniture at prestigious Christie's, a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour.
Accustomed to a fast pace life, with high stakes glamour of arts, Carolyn has buried herself in her work at Christie’s, driven to excel, involved with auctions, private sales and prestigious and affluent clients with emphasis on Post War and Contemporary, Impressionist, Antiquities and Modern art.
However, after eight years at Christie’s she finds herself in the middle of a scandal, leaving her unemployed. She flees to the comfort of her former friends in Newport, Rhode Island, to work in a small antique shop. As part of buying for the shop, she attends a small auction for her boss, and discovers a piece of Middle Eastern pottery which she purchases for twenty dollars.
While investigating the background of the pottery bowl, she meets sexy Marine Sergeant Tyler Ford, with a mysterious dark past. The piece was purchased at a local Goodwill store and the path leads back to Tyler who claims he received it has a gift from his translator during his days in Iraq.
Carolyn finds herself in the middle of another art crime scandal, and does not know who to trust. Between Tyler’s past, his Marine friends, his ex-girlfriend Hannah (also in the art field), Carolyn’s former colleagues at Christie's, and Sotheby's —Carolyn is second guessing everything and everyone in her past and present.
From her rich and prominent childhood friends to the poor past of Tyler, she finds herself somewhere in the middle. She must decide whether she is willing to risk more than her career. There is also a connection between military and Newport’s old money society, as well as where Carolyn grew up, adjacent to such affluence and friends, and from a history of money in their background which was lost.
From two different worlds, Tyler and Carolyn become obsessed with the mysterious relic—and each other—until the origin of the art comes under intense scrutiny and reveals a darker side of Tyler’s past. Carolyn sees the differences in Tyler versus her old boyfriend, Alex, from New York, yet she is more connected on an intimate level to Tyler, from a dark background.
An engaging novel which keeps you on the edge of your seat until the end, full of suspense, as the rich and powerful dive into the dangerous black market, as well as matters of heart, crossing the lines and boundaries of legal, moral, and ethics.
Loved everything about this captivating novel! From the front cover to the well- researched and richly developed lovable characters, combined with wit and intrigue. Masterfully skilled by talented Tanabe, as an ideal fit with her background, career, and passion with her insights in the areas of art, society, celebrity, and travel journalism—reflective throughout this riveting novel.
I enjoyed Carolyn’s character and felt she grew so much over the course of the novel, and even through tragedy, she was a survivor and looked at life in a different way. She was really down to earth, no matter where she lived.
In addition to the extensive research, readers will find A Readers Club Guide and in depth questions and topics for discussion, and an Enhance your Book Club section, as well as Further Reading and website links into the world of stolen art treasures, history, and the contemporary art world, plus more.
When considering the novel’s Epigraph “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” – Oscar Wilde. I definitely found this to apply to Tyler, and also to Carolyn. I am a big believer in taking risks, and do not always follow the rules, and enjoy stepping out of the box. (Would love a sequel, as these characters are too good to end).
The author uses the setting of The Gilded Age, and prominent area of Newport, Rhode Island as fitting; even though a slower pace than New York at Christie's; however, lends itself to an area of wealth, history, beauty and sophistication. A perfect setting for Carolyn to re-evaluate her life after her career nightmare.
A compelling read, I highly recommend. I look forward to reading “The List”, Karin’s previous novel, and reading more from this newfound author!