4 out of 4 stars
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Although money has been tight, Kendra Cooper has managed to save up for a trip to Amsterdam to study original paintings by renowned artists. While she studies, she may even have a chance to experiment with her own creative ideas. However, she’s being watched by Dr. Richard Reed, a temporary member of Interpol. Richard suspects that Kendra may be a copyist involved in creating and selling counterfeit paintings. When it turns out that Kendra could actually become Richard’s partner in tracking down frauds, it may put both of their lives in jeopardy in Counterfeit, a novel by author Lee Carver.
This story brings together a fitting blend of art, travel, romance, danger, and faith. Through the characters’ observations and dialogue, the author includes plenty of details on the history, techniques, and authentication of fine art. There are also interesting ties between Kendra and Richard’s mission and The Holocaust. The novel isn’t a fast-paced read with many action-packed scenes throughout, but the suspense comes on gradually, in a way that matches the overall story.
Likewise, there’s an unpretentious flow to the novel as a whole, with romance that begins and deepens at a mild pace. Readers may also take special notice of Kendra’s character. While it’s rather common for decidedly independent heroines to have a prickly or even snide quality to them, Kendra isn’t that kind of character. There’s a certain grace to her independence and how she chooses to engage in relationships. Her inward conflict is realistic as she weighs her principles against pressing temptations regarding her vocation.
Now, the story has its modest share of weaknesses. There are some aspects to the suspense that aren’t wholly convincing. Because spotting and going after art frauds isn’t the safest endeavor, it seems the main characters doubt or dismiss their misgivings too easily. The prospect that they might truly be in harm’s way shouldn’t be surprising to them, and some of their choices are rather obvious setups for dangerous events. However, those slip-ups are more forgivable than they would have been if Kendra and Richard were career detectives.
On a more technical note, the final section of the last chapter might have worked better as an epilogue. Because the end is the only place where this story makes such a huge leap in time, its final scene feels like a sudden add-on to the chapter. An epilogue indicates that a wide gap in time may be ahead, so that the reader isn’t caught off guard by it.
Nevertheless, the novel’s minor flaws don’t detract from its smooth style, appealing intrigue, and inspirational message. Therefore, I give Counterfeit a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I’d recommend it to readers of Christian romance and romantic suspense who may enjoy learning more about fine art.
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