Isabella’s Painting is a fictional story that alludes to a real historical event. Back in the 1990’s, over $500 million dollars worth of precious paintings were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The case has remained unsolved to this day and one of the stolen paintings, The Concert, is featured in this story.
The story introduces us to Karina, Patrick’s girlfriend, who is invited to a party at Patrick’s house. At the party, she meets Patrick’s father, Martin, who is an art enthusiast. However, while looking for him in the house, Karina stumbles on one of the stolen paintings from Isabella’s museum hidden in Martin’s study. Afraid of sharing this information, Karina decides to hide it from everyone else. Everything, however, goes off-plan when she meets an ex-classmate who is also an FBI agent. She, accidentally, asks him too many questions that rouses his suspicions. Before she knows it, Karina is being investigated by the FBI. She becomes a prime suspect in an investigation on the heist. Will she go to jail? Will she ‘rat out’ Martin to the authorities? Ellen Butler takes us through all these questions in a well-crafted novel – Isabella’s Painting.
I must acknowledge that, as a character, Karina is one of the best elements of this book. She is very loveable. This is because she is intelligent, witty and intuitive. In the course of this novel, Karina works as an environmental lawyer which speaks to her intelligence and care for the environment. It is her intuition that leads her to discover the stolen painting, The Concert, from its hiding place. Her witty and sassy one-liners made the story much more interesting that it already was.
The story was fast-paced and full of suspense, a feat that I highly applaud the author for. The action was brought in as early as the second chapter and was maintained throughout the entire book until the conclusion. Despite the early introduction to the conflict, it was really difficult to predict where the story would go next as it was full of unexpected twists and turns. This made the story highly entertaining and difficult to put down.
For the rating, this is an easy 4 out of 4 stars. The story was unique and told in a unique tone. You don’t find many art stories like this. Also, it was professionallly edited which meant that I found very few gramatical errors in it. All in all, I fell in love with everything about Isabella’s Painting and I would absolutely love to read another book by the same author. Readers of detective thrillers, historical fiction and art novels will absolutely enjoy this.