3 out of 4 stars
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Isabella’s Painting takes place twenty-eight years after the Boston’s Gardner Museum is robbed of $500 million worth of artwork. The story centers on Karina Cardinal, a lobbyist at Capitol Hill. When she stumbles upon a painting in her boyfriend Patrick Dunne’s fathers’ study, she is suspicious that his father might be obtaining stolen pieces of artwork. Her suspicions turn into alarm when she searches the Internet and discovers that the piece of artwork she saw in his study is an exact replica of one of the paintings stolen from the Gardner Museum. As Karina is wrestling over what she should do, she crosses paths with her old friend from her college days FBI agent Mike Finnegan. What she doesn’t know is that she’s already being watched and every decision she makes could not only put her life in danger, but those around her.
What I enjoyed about reading this book is that the story from beginning to end captured my attention. I felt like I didn’t know what was going to happen next as Karina wrestles with what she should do when it comes to this stolen painting. Each chapter surprised me as Karina made decisions you as the reader wouldn’t expect her to make.
But at the same time, you cheered her on because the author made Karina and the rest of the characters so relatable. As a reader, you see these characters wrestle with making difficult decisions that could not only put their lives in jeopardy but others as well. You especially see this through the chapters from Martin’s perspective as he wrestles with what he should do about the painting and again once he realizes Karina knows that he has it. I find him and Karina the most relatable characters in the story because they are both put in a difficult situation with no assured outcome.
I also enjoyed reading Isabella’s Painting because I felt like I learned a tiny bit. I felt that in this story as a reader, I gained more insight and knowledge about subjects I didn’t know too much about before. While the information I learned wasn’t all that much, I felt like it was interesting enough to make me want to continue the story to find out what happened next.
However, there are some elements in the story that made me not enjoy reading this book as much. While I didn’t mind the overall pacing in this book, I sometimes felt at times like some parts of the plot didn’t need to be included in the story. I felt like this closer to the end of the story when Karina’s life is put in danger. As the story goes on, a lot of things happen to Karina that I feel didn’t necessarily need to be a part of the plot. While these parts of the storyline made the story interesting to see where the author was planning on taking things next, I felt like there were some obstacles Karina didn’t need to go through.
What also bothered me was how the FBI interacted with Karina throughout the story. Without giving too much of the plot away, I understand why they treated her like a suspect. But at the same time, I also felt like it was unnecessary, especially since one of her friends works for them and should’ve known better.
Because of these elements in the story, I feel like I have to give this book 3 out of 4 stars. However, I didn’t find any grammatical errors in Isabella’s Painting and I enjoyed reading this book immensely despite the things in the story that bothered me. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery story as well as to those who want to read a story about stolen art. I also can’t wait to read the next book in this series Fatal Legislation because I’m sure it’ll be just as enjoyable as this one.
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