Annie McDee, alone after the disintegration of her long-term relationship and trapped in a dead-end job, is searching for a present for her unsuitable lover in a neglected secondhand shop. Within the jumble of junk and tack, a grimy painting catches her eye. Leaving the store with the picture after spending her meagre savings, she prepares an elaborate dinner for two - only to be stood up, the gift gathering dust on her mantelpiece.
But every painting has a story - and if it could speak, what would it tell us? For Annie has stumbled across The Improbability of Love, a lost masterpiece by Antoine Watteau, one of the most influential French painters of the 18th century. Soon Annie is drawn unwillingly into the art world and finds herself pursued by a host of interested parties that would do anything to possess her picture. For an exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious Sheika, a desperate auctioneer, an unscrupulous dealer and several others, the painting symbolises their greatest hopes and fears.
In her search for the painting's true identity, Annie will uncover the darkest secrets of European history - and in doing so she will learn more about herself, opening up to the possibility of falling in love again.
Irreverent, witty and sharply sweet, The Improbability of Love explores the confusion and turmoil of life and the complexities of love, loss and hurt - revealing the lows to which human nature can stoop and the heights to which the soul can soar.
©2015 Hannah Rothschild (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
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Critic reviews

"Novel of the week. It all adds up to an ingenious meditation on the true value of art - timely indeed at a moment when paintings and sculpture seem to have become just another currency." (Mail on Sunday)
"Though this novel goes into the darkest of dark places, the overall tone is totally delicious; conspicuous consumption on this scale hasn't been seen since the Eighties." (The Times)
"Part of the novel's charm is that its characters, rich or poor, are all a mixture of frailties. Like a Rococo painting, this clever, funny, beguiling and wholly humane romance is a treat worthy of its subject." (Independent)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By bookylady on 02-04-16

I Loved Every Minute of It. Great Characters.

Any additional comments?

This funny, moving, satirical story of love, food and good versus evil in the world of art history, art dealers, auctioneers, oligarchs, politicians and crooks is a real tonic. I laughed out loud at various points,seethed at various injustices, empathised with the love-lorn Jesse, cheered for the heroine as she found a new life and romance after the betrayal of her long-term partner and fumed about the duplicity of 'the great and the good.'

A surviving Nazi turned multi-millionaire art dealer hunts for a lost Watteau masterpiece, the Improbability of Love, which has personal importance and and social/moral implications for him. Its discovery in a very unexpected place triggers a story that is glorious in its complex and rich cast of characters, back stories and motivations for possessing the painting that is rumoured to bring love and happiness to its owner.

I really enjoyed the chapters narrated in the voice of the painting itself. That was a clever and unusual piece of storytelling.

The two narrators do an excellent job and make the story come alive, highlighting the comedy and the more serious elements of the plot very ably.

One of my favourite books of 2016 so far and I shall definitely listen to it again at some point.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Emily on 12-05-16

Great fun!

Page-turning story and great voice acting! I would definitely recommend if you like your fun mysteries with a dose of history and culture.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Kindle Customer on 17-04-16

Entertaining, Educational, Endless Characters

I was a little overwhelmed at first with the number of players in this book but was quickly pulled into each person and painting's back story and relationship to one another.
Read this book if you have an interest in history, painting, art dealers, trust fund babies, crooks, the working poor, fine cooking and love.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Sharon on 15-02-17

Fun Art Story

Fun to listen bro while working. Made my day go by quickly. Loved having the picture talk to me. He was quite entertaining.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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