The Improbability of Love is like a well-made scone, not too sweet, not too dense but just perfect with a cup of coffee or two. My only complaint is that it wraps up a bit too fast -- like an editor got overly concerned with page count--and the title is a mouthful.
But those are quibbles. The book's heroine is Annie McDee, an unappreciated chef who stumbles upon a long lost piece of artwork. Stolen and hidden by the Nazi's, the painting provenance and history is one of the threads of the story. There is Annie's story, also the ruthless auction house family that is tied to the painting, the potential buyers and various art critics and authoritarians. All colorful characters that are drawn to this work and the art world.
And while Annie is not under the same spell of the painting -- despite its potential worth -- she turns out to be an artist in her own right. The scenes where she brings paintings to life through themed dinners that honor the time and place of a work are scrumptious.
There is much to enjoy in this book, which is just perfect for summer--and since it's all set in London--a reminder why we love this marvelous city despite the Brexit drama.
This is the second book in the last couple of review, which was shortlisted for the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction (the other is Anne Enright's The Green Road). This was unintentional, but made me look a bit deeper at the origins of the prize.
The Bailey's Women Prize for Fiction:
The prize was set up 20 plus years ago in response to a lack of female authors being recognized by the Man Booker Prize competition. After much discussion as to why -- and apparently quite a few bottles of wine--the Women's Prize for fiction was born. The notion was to create a literary prize that "would celebrate women’s creativity, one that would be truly international (nationality or country of residence being no bar to eligibility), one that would have a programme of educational, literacy and research initiatives as integral to the Prize. A prize that would be fun!" The "season" for the prize is from September, when requests are made to the following June when the prize is announced. Previous winners include Zadie Smith, Ann Patchett and Barbara Kingsolver.
About the Author:
Hannah Rothschild is a writer and film director. Her documentary feature films have appeared on BBC and HBO. Her first book, The Baroness, was published in 2012. She lives in London.
Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle