Forgery, fake, reproduction, refurbished or genuine — and can you prove provenance? In the antiquities market, the veracity of an item is paramount. And being able to prove its story brings more value.
Maeve Fanning, an Irish redhead in early 1930s Boston, remakes herself into blond socialite in order to land a job in a respected antiques shop. Maeve had simple upbringing, a problem with drinking and a stint in a psychiatric hospital. But she is clever and a quick learner. And she has dreams.
Patrolling the streets for discarded candy wrappers and ticket stubs had kept Angela and me occupied for most of a summer. And it had also given us, Mr. Kessler pointed out, a tangible link to the movie-going-chocolate-eating world we longed to someday inhabit. They weren’t just wrappers – they were talismans, gathered in the faith that each one drew us nearer toward the fruition of our dreams. ~Pg. 70
She is determined to put her working class background under layers of fine clothing, peroxided hair and a veneer of self-confidence.
Maeve (now Mae) is good at her job, which puts her in touch with the elite millionaires of the city. They purchase pricey items to bolster their egos and fill the wings at the Museum of Fine Art.
Within the small Brahmin world, Mae finds a familiar face from the asylum. The two link arms against their pasts. Through it, Mae comes to realize that everyone, every family, has something they are hiding, that they are trying to shrug off.
Rare Objects is a breezy read, with characters deep enough to be interesting throughout the novel. The book jumps along from plot point to point with ease. Still, the book could have been richer. The fleeting character of Mr. Winshaw, the border-hopping buyer for the antique store, is the only one who seems to be able to flit between castes. I was hoping for more significant interaction with his character — even if it were only through their postcards and letters.
There are moments of wisdom in the often jaunty book, couched in a light setting. Enjoy it for what it is.
Many thanks to HarperCollins for the galley.
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Harper (April 12, 2016)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches