In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke’s in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain–a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she’s curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
I liked this book, which was spread over three time periods.
The artist Sara de Vos narrates the time period of Amsterdam in 1635. This is a fictional character based upon the painter Sarah van Baalbergen. She and her husband are struggling artists trying to make ends meet. Marty De Groot narrates New York in the 1950’s. He is the private owner of the Sara de Vos painting. He has inherited his fortune from his wealthy Dutch family. Ellie Shipley narrates Australia in 2000. She was involved with the forgery of the De Groot painting while a graduate student in New York in her twenties.
I loved reading the three time periods and especially when they all convergence into one current story. I did get a bit weepy at the end of the book- which means the author did a great job of making me feel the characters remorse over lost relationships and regret.