Erica Katz’s Fake was a riveting fish-out-of-water story about a young woman who’s been suddenly thrust into the elite echelons of the art world. Emma Caan is a professional painter who makes “copies” of famous works. Apparently, this happens often, either by museums or by private collectors who want an exact copy of something they intend to store away. It’s all very legit, but not exactly lucrative. Because she’s one of the best copycats, and because Emma’s personal history suggests that she’s vulnerable, she is chosen by wealthy collector Leonard Sobetsky, who turns her life around with his extreme wealth and vast amount of connections. Through him, Emma lands an assistant director position at her dream gallery, plus Leonard offers her lots of money to copy his private collection, and a gorgeous, rent-free apartment where she can paint. Soon, Emma is blinded by her new world of wealth and glamor, and turns a blind eye to all the warning signs. Leonard is sketchy, and he could bring Emma down with him.
I was amazed at Erica Katz’s knowledge of painting and of the art world. I’d read The Boy’s Club, which was about a corporate lawyer, and wasn’t surprised to find out that Katz had a background in law (in fact, I think she still works as a lawyer in addition to writing books.) But how does she know so much about art? The details she provides are fascinating and clearly well-researched. This makes Emma a well-rounded character who is easy to root for. The setting, with all its glitz and secrets, made the novel an incredibly fun read. Fake is the perfect choice for anyone who loves contemporary, intelligent women’s fiction.