Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Fraud by Barbara Ewing.

Title: The Fraud
Author: Barbara Ewing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sphere, 2009


The 18th century and Georgian London brought vividly to life by the pen of Barbara Ewing. For the privileged, the world of the salon and dinner parties; of silken gowns, fluttering fans, powdered hair and faces painted with a deadly white substance. For the poor a constant struggle to survive the squalour, disease and brutality that surrounded them.

It is the world of brother and sister, Philip and Grace Marshall. Following the loss of their family from plague Philip sets off to Italy while young Grace is reduced to working as a hatmaker. Several years later he honours his promise to return for her but now he has become Filipo di Vecellio, portrait painter of Florence and for Grace to live as his housekeeper she must assume a new role as Francesca.
Grace is also a gifted artist.........more talented than her brother as he well knows but prefers no one else to. He forbids her to paint but beneath her compliant exterior Grace is strong and determined and she has passion and a dream. By day she goes about her duties and presides over her brothers dinner parties where artists gather and talk and she listens and learns - at night in her room she secretly paints.
She bides her time and waits.......

The art history provides an interesting background. The story covers the years 1730 - 80 when English painters were beginning to find some recognition and William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds all make appearances . The opening day of the British Royal Academy of Art is one of the most entertaining and humorous parts of a book that is often witty, has plenty of action and drama and had me engrossed from start to finish.

Rating 4 ****

B is for Barbara

Historical Fiction ABC Challenge


  1. One reason I enjoy tracing through the posts in the ABC challenge is to learn about books I haven't heard much about elsewhere. This one looks like an excellent read!

  2. Hi Sarah......I agree. My TBR list gets longer and longer. And this is a very entertaining read so I hope you try it.

  3. This sounds fascinating ... I am especially intrigued by the art history.

  4. I don't recall having seen anything about this book before! It sounds very interesting!