The Masterpiece: A Novel. Fiona Davis. Penguin Publishing Group. 2018. 368 pp. ISBN #: 9781524742959.
The world of art in the 1930s was that of a rapidly changing scene, where “traditional” was evolving into “experimental,” where impressionism was turning to modern art. At the same time, artists were starving as the Depression was approaching and when there is no food, there is no money to buy or even admire art, as art shows cost money to sponsor. This is the story of Grand Central Station or Terminal in its glorious early and later recovery days.
Clara is a young divorced woman, who is teaching a course on illustration art in the Grand Central School of Art. She is just hanging on to her position, as being an illustrator is not greatly respected. To some, it’s not even art! But forge on she does! Add to that the fact that she’s a woman and you’ve got the entire nasty picture.
However, she and her bohemian, endearing friends console and strengthen each other, fall in and out of love together, and do all they can to make sure each is compelled to do their best artistic work possible. They’re an odd but motley, lovable bunch of characters who immediately and forever engage the reader to want to share their world.
Fifty years later, Virginia Clay is working at the Grand Central Station Information Booth. She’s also divorced and unable to find any other job as she’s totally unskilled for any other job. She’s a breast cancer survivor as well, her self-image blasted after that experience. Her life is about to dramatically change after she accidentally discovers some abandoned art works from the Grand Central School of Art. She will discover one work of art that has a mystery and crime behind it which she and her daughter will relentlessly pursue to a nail-biting end.
The Masterpiece… will thrill the soul of every reader as we get to experience the style, textures, tones, and colors of various styles of art as well as the minds, hearts and souls of the artists who created such notable works of art. It is light but gorgeous, thrilling reading which this reviewer highly, highly recommends! Loved it so!!! Keep writing, Fiona Davis!!! Your writing is highly creative, skilled, complex and simple at the same time! Admirable!