Published by Squabbling Sparrows Press on July 31, 2020
Source: Rachel's Random Resources
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Five strangers in Florence, each with a dangerous secret, and an apocalyptic flood threatening to reveal everything.
A wife on the run, a student searching for stolen art, a cleaner who has lined more than his pockets, a policeman whose career is almost over, and a guest who should never have received a wedding invite. Five strangers, entangled in the forger's wicked web.
In a race against time, and desperate to save themselves and all they hold dear, will their secrets prove more treacherous than the ominous floodwaters swallowing the historic city?
Dive into a world of lies and deceit, where nothing is as it seems on the surface...
Set in Florence, Italy, in 1966, the story takes place over three days, amidst the worst flooding in Florence's history.
The setting of The Forger and the Thief is fascinating in and of itself. In 1966 Florence was hit with the most devastating flood in centuries, and as a result 101people died and countless works of art and literature were destroyed.
Five strangers are in Florence, each for their own reasons: an abused wife fleeing her husband, an aspiring artist looking for a family heirloom stolen during WWII, a disgraced man in town for the wedding of the woman he loves to another man, an easily overlooked museum cleaner warped by family tragedy, and a cop on the way out. Each is introduced in short chapters at the beginning of the book and it’s a bit much all at one, lots of characters, lots of motivations. It was a bit confusing, especially when none of them were interacting with each other yet. And the river is a character too, vengeful and strong. The characters, for the most part, are not likable, especially the men who are all dishonest, scumbages, or straight up evil. The women are better, but tend to be the victims, with maybe one exception who we don’t get to know well.
I was a bit suprised by the paranormal twist of one of the characters. I didn’t expect it from the blurb and his “talent” felt out of place with the rest of the book.
While I didn’t love any of the characters, the story is gripping. There is a lot going on, and it’s all made more intense by the rising river. Once I got maybe a quarter way into the book, it was a quick read. There several twists that I didn’t see coming and the flood did give a couple of the main characters fresh starts.
I was drawn to the book at first because of the art connection and overall, while I didn’t love it, it did keep me interested throughout. I’d like to learn more about the “Mud Angels,” volunteers who turned up in the city during and following the flood and set about helping to rescue and limit the damage to more than a million books and almost a thousand paintings, frescoes, and sculptures.