Artifice by Sharon Cameron

Artifice by Sharon Cameron
English | 2023 | Historical Fiction

A dramatic story of duplicity and resistance, betrayal and loyalty, set against the backdrop of World War II, by the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Light in Hidden Places.


Isa de Smit was raised in the vibrant, glittering world of her parents’ small art gallery in Amsterdam, a hub of beauty, creativity, and expression, until the Nazi occupation wiped the color from her city’s palette. The “degenerate” art of the Gallery de Smit is confiscated, the artists in hiding or deported, her best friend, Truus, fled to join the shadowy Dutch resistance. And masterpiece by masterpiece, the Nazis are buying and stealing her country’s heritage, feeding the Third Reich’s ravenous appetite for culture and art.

So when the unpaid taxes threaten her beloved but empty gallery, Isa decides to make the Nazis pay. She sells them a fake—a Rembrandt copy drawn by her talented father—a sale that sets Isa perilously close to the second most hated class of people in Amsterdam: the collaborators. Isa sells her beautiful forgery to none other than Hitler himself, and on the way to the auction, discovers that Truus is part of a resistance ring to smuggle Jewish babies out of Amsterdam.

But Truus cannot save more children without money. A lot of money. And Isa thinks she knows how to get it. One more forgery, a copy of an exquisite Vermeer, and the Nazis will pay for the rescue of the very children they are trying annihilate. To make the sale, though, Isa will need to learn the art of a master forger, before the children can be deported, and before she can be outed as a collaborator. And she finds an unlikely source to help her do it: the young Nazi soldier, a blackmailer and thief of Dutch art, who now says he wants to desert the German army.

Yet, worth is not always seen from the surface, and a fake can be difficult to spot. Both in art, and in people. Based on the true stories of Han Van Meegeren, a master art forger who sold fakes to Hermann Goering, and Johann van Hulst, credited with saving 600 Jewish children from death in Amsterdam, Sharon Cameron weaves a gorgeously evocative thriller, simmering with twists, that looks for the forgotten color of beauty, even in an ugly world.

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