A free-spirited artist teams up with a no-nonsense detective to capture a thief who has stolen a priceless Michelangelo painting
Manchester, England, 1857
Rosanna Hawkins is one of Manchester's finest artists, even though no one knows her name. She reproduces "parlor versions" of classic masterpieces with near-perfect precision, which her employer then sells to the emerging upper-middle class families of Manchester.
When the largest art exhibition ever to be held in Manchester opens, Rosanna attends, excited by the chance to sketch such famous works. When she meets the handsome Detective Martin Harrison, who is head of security for the exhibition, she is immediately intrigued by his charm, confidence, and canvas-worthy good looks. The two spend many a flirtatious afternoon exploring the exhibition hall, discussing art and sharing their secret hopes. Rosanna dreams of painting something original and meaningful, and Martin hopes to one day shed the shadow of his father's notorious past.
The couple's blossoming summer romance takes a strange turn when Rosanna recognizes her own works on display in the exhibition hall. Someone is stealing paintings and replacing them with her parlor version reproductions. When the evidence casts suspicion on her, Rosanna must convince Detective Harrison of her innocence and proposes a plan to capture the real art thief.
It is a daring race to catch the criminal before he disappears with the most priceless piece in the collection--Michelangelo's Manchester Madonna.
If Rosanna and Detective Harrison fail, not only will the painting be lost forever but so will their chance to rekindle their romance and paint their own happily ever after.
"An artist and inspector are on a mission to recover a stolen painting. Fun interplay. Rosanna and Martin are a winsome pair. The novel's pursuit scenes are thrilling, as is its intrigue around how Rosanna and Martin will get past his misconceptions about her. They learn to see the world anew through one another, even as they ask provocative questions about facts, truth, and forgiveness. And ebullient news clippings are included throughout the novel; in them, a gossip-prone journalist opines, critiques, and waxes poetic about the exhibition, informing and teasing out the story's developments.
In the enchanting romance novel The Art of Love and Lies, an art thief can't prevent love from blooming."-- "Foreword Reviews, starred review"
"Exciting historical romance. A tender love story."-- "Library Journal"
"Appealing Victorian romance. The romantic escapades of this unlikely duo will keep readers eagerly turning pages. It's a chaste yet undeniably alluring romance."-- "Publishers Weekly"