Vera Longacre Bellington spends most of her days mindlessly mingling with the other socialites in her grand NYC apartment building, the Angelus. After all, when you’re as rich and powerful as Vera and her husband Arthur are, what else is there to do? Unfortunately, Arthur treats Vera as more of a possession than a wife and he’s rarely home. But like any good high society wife, Vera puts up with the pain and loneliness since that’s what she was raised to do…until a mysterious artist takes up residence at the Angelus.
I really expected to like this book more than I did. I anticipated the NYC backdrop to be much more detailed and elegant than it actually was. There was very little mention of NYC itself, which I found surprising. Yet, I managed to find this forgivable since the plot was geared toward the characters and not the place. But then this left the bulk of the book to hinge solely upon the characters themselves.
Unfortunately, I was never able to connect with anyone. I found Vera to be spineless and ridiculously submissive. There’s reserved and refined and then there’s being a doormat. Even until near the end, she couldn’t make up her own mind about what to do and continued to allow her mother and Arthur to dictate her decisions.
Vera’s mother was an extremely dislikable character (as I’m sure she was meant to be) and her treatment of Vera was often downright abusive. Arthur was another hateful character. Emil Hallan? I never felt I was allowed to get to know him well enough to make a clear determination. By the time the author got around to having Emil tell his real story I honestly didn’t care any longer.
I wasn’t a fan of the chapters flip-flopping between College Vera and Married Vera. I found it disruptive to the flow of the book. I honestly thought there could have been smoother ways to insert the “Bea” backstory into the plot. I get why it was done – the “most important” relationships in Vera’s life define who she really is and what she wants – it just could have been done differently.
The chance meetings among characters were a little too convenient – in NYC? Doubtful. Two of the unconnected major characters actually knowing each other? Unbelievable. The ending, in my opinion, was tied up a little too perfectly. It felt contrived and not at all honest. The overall plot relied too much on coincidence and it just didn’t ring true to me.
The writing was okay, but the character development was one-dimensional and needed more work. A Fine Imitation definitely didn’t make me *feel* anything and that’s a shame. This could have been a really great book.
3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton
eBook Review Gal received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.