The Improbability of Love

The Improbability of Love 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 Second Hand 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 MantelpieceBut 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 Eighteenth 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 About Herself, Opening Up To The Possibility Of Falling In Love Again

Hannah Mary Rothschild is a British writer, philanthropist and documentary filmmaker She also serves on the boards of various philanthropic trusts and museums In August 2015, she became chair of the London National Gallery s Board of Trustees.

➸ [Reading] ➺ The Improbability of Love By Hannah Mary Rothschild ➭ –
  • Hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • The Improbability of Love
  • Hannah Mary Rothschild
  • English
  • 15 March 2018

10 thoughts on “The Improbability of Love

  1. says:

    The Improbability of Love , by Hannah Rothschild is not only the title of this Historical Fiction novel, but it s one of the characters, narrating part of the story It s a famous masterpiece.a painting that has a history It s been around for centuries It s a very valuable expensive desirable painting that has been lost then later found by 31 year old Annie McDee She has come to London to work as a chef while at the same time begin to mend her crushed heart from a broken love relationship When Annie first discovers this painting, in a junkyard, other that thinking its beautiful, she has no idea of its true value or its history or anything about the artist Yet she wants to buy it She is sure her new painting will impress a loverbut things don t turn out that way Antoine Watteau, was the artist, a French painter His influence on the art world, encompassing costume, film, poetry, and music, was extensive than almost any other 18th century artist He had many followers during his career, but also a lot of critics Note when I looked through images of Watteau s paintingswhat stood out for meBesides being exceptionally beautiful, was that the majority of his paintings were done outside under trees, with groups of people In some of the paintings the festive community looked like they were celebrating with lavish clothes dancing, listening, to music, or simply socializing The outdoors the trees with his group s of people could almost tell their own story Hannah Rothschild s History as Storytelling , is visually imaginative, with a mesmerizing plot The plot is gripping.with suspensefunny on the surface, but hidden below the surface is the actual authentic emotions Hannah paints with her own dazzling writing brushstrokes , a very entertaining and moving look into the modern art world in London The Historical personalities are from all walks of life There are the the wealthy Society types, politicians, scholars, a normal hard working plumber, and a vast of unique characters each dealing with their personal disunities Satire ish funny, yet heartbreaking There is a flashback to the Holocaust which moved me and reminded me of another novelI read last year called The Bridal Chair , by Gloria Goldreich Both novels are historical fiction novels with the beauty and influence that ART is in our world The mother daughter relationship between Annie and her mother, alcoholic , comes to lifethrough resentments love and personal growth It was easy to imagine this relationship I couldn t help but remember the movie 91 2 weeks remember those food scenes Well, Annie is an artist with food I was wanting Annie to use her talents scrumptious cooking , as a weapon when she needed most Against the villains You know what they say Love Food finds a way to a man s heart and possibly the villains expressing a little love Colorful real life characters Crafty artful historical storytelling Many thanks for the gift to read this through First To Read , Random House, and the very gift author Hannah Rothschild.

  2. says:

    This novel is an advertisement for how to try too hard with style and plot It feels false and is consistently overdone The voice of the painting is an intriguing idea, if only because it would be thrilling to be able to access the past through this means, but its voice was entirely contemporary and ridiculous because of it Even accounting for the fact that it has experienced much change over a three hundred year lifespan and explains this chatty modernisation by saying it has had to converse with all manner of lower art, it s disconcerting, and not a little annoying, for an artwork to talk like a cheap magazine the odd, lousy, cheap knackered blonde who he d have quickly, sweatily and noisily on the filing cabinet , Ralph was effing and blinding , etc I m obviously missing something since this is a Baileys Prize longlister, but I m praying it s not going on the shortlist because it would be a travesty.Thanks to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. says:

    Hannah Mary Rothschild was born into British nobility As daughter of the 4th Baron Rothschild, himself a member of a renowned banking family, she was surrounded by wealth and privilege from birth And art too, lots of art In 1985, she became chair of the London National Gallery s Board of Trustees, so it s no surprise that her debut novel is centred in this world It s the story of a painting and also of the people who covet it As the tale commences we witness a vast collection of art collectors gathering for the sale of the painting a sale that promises to produce a world record price It has recently re surfaced, having been lost for some time Painted by Jean Antoine Watteau 1684 1721 , the artist who revitalised the Baroque style, it has caused a storm in the art world Everyone wants to own it With such a large cast of characters it s tempting to get completely lost in the lives of this eclectic group My advice is don t bother Some of the characters are quite interesting but most are stereotypical exaggerations of the type of monied individuals you d expect to be circling around a sale like this Better to focus attention on a small group central to the history of the picture This includes Annie McDee, a young lady who buys the picture cheaply at a local junk shop, and Rebecca Memling, the daughter of an art dealer who is desperately searching for the self same painting Strangely, the other character to pay attention to is the painting itself, with its ongoing commentary feeding readers with information on its own history and wry observations about its various owners It s all quite amusing at times, but really this whole art world caper flew high over my head With too many references I didn t get, too many characters I didn t much care for and a ludicrously carbuncled ending I was thankful when it finally drew to a close It s also a ridiculously long book for such a slim story.I saw some advertising spiel that suggested it s the ideal book for anyone who enjoyed The Goldfinch well take it from me, this book is nothing like Donna Tartt s tour de force It didn t do it for me, I m afraid.

  4. says:

    I am astonished by all those rave reviews because, my goodness, this is an awful book It reminded me of those Pollock s toy theatres with cardboard figures which you could manipulate across the stage Two dimensional characters and a creaky plot It contains some truly bad writing and some weirdly inaccurate details that a good editor might have dealt with For example, Delia settled down to watch a daily show, Pointless It started at 5 p.m and at 4.50 exactly, with everything just so , Delia turned the television on to see Alexander Armstrong s beaming face does that make any sense Does it matter A good writer could sketch Delia in a few deft sentences without any of that detail But maybe Xander was promised a name check by the author. The best thing one might say about the book is that it is apparently meticulously researched, stuffed full of detail about art and the art world I read to the end because the weather was hot and I was too lazy to do anything else And then I read about the author, a big beast in the art world so I can only assume that this is a rather feeble satire which will be appreciated in that milieu as an in joke There are some great books about paintings Donna Tartt s The Goldfinch, Ali Smith s brilliant How To Be Both, Michael Frayn s Headlong, Iain Pears The Portrait all wonderfully written with fully fleshed characters and intriguing plots Do read them.

  5. says:

    This is not an easy book to review, since I have very mixed feelings about it It is a fast moving thriller rom com satire of the art world that centres on a lost painting by Watteau also called The Improbability of Love and its tangled history This is combined with the story of the woman who buys it in a junk shop and her new life as a chef specialising in themed events for the artistic establishment Some of the chapters are narrated by the painting, which is a convenient omniscient device that enables the history to be explored in detail For me, although the book is very readable and Rothschild is very knowledgable about art and the artistic establishment, it tries to cover too many populist bases and this lets it down, in particular much of the language is cliched and the characters, especially the minor ones, are one dimensional caricatures The best parts are those that talk about the art itself, and the whole thing retains a certain charm.

  6. says:

    Wanted An editor to transform an excellent premise into a good novel Your task Leave the Prologue mostly untouched it s a good beginning, setting the stage and stimulating the reader s curiosity A record breaking auction with multiple competing interests foreshadows that drama, suspense, and intrigue will be coming as the story unfolds There s sure to be some unethical behavior and double dealing There s sure to be a send up of the wealthy and their foibles But then the editor should go to work on the rest of the novel Consider the following.Cut some characters or at least concentrate the focus on just a few, eliminating unnecessary back stories and irrelevant details There s a lot here, and though the author does a good job of helping the reader keep all the people straight, nevertheless, in this case, less is Make the tone and writing style consistent Is this book a mystery, a love story, a satire, an art history lesson, an exposition on dysfunctional families, a cooking tutorial, or a put down of the wealthy Some of these stylisitc elements can be combined in a single novel, but they need to be intertwined, not turned on and off like a series of light switches For instance, the Prologue is presented as a drama sprinkled with some gentle tongue in cheek barbs that contrasts with the concluding chapter listing whatever happened to the characters, a conclusion that sounds like Saturday Night Live riffs and one liners.Reconsider using the painting as an occasional narrator it s a clever device, but the talking painting soon becomes annoying, especially the overly cute references to moi The history lessons told by the painting could be presented in other ways.Fix the conclusion The reader waits almost 400 pages to attend the auction introduced in the Prologue, and then no auction, just a sterile newspaper account of what happened The reader deserves so cut some of the interior digressions and focus attention on the dramatic ending.So there s lots of work here for an editor, but there s one area that perhaps can t be fixed The central love story doesn t make much sense Yes, love is improbable, but for Annie and Jesse it seems close to impossible Why Jesse immediately falls for Annie is hard to comprehend, especially when she shows no affection, in fact shows no interest in him and exhibits little warmth or charm But suddenly the book shifts from cooking show to cheap paperback romance, and their relationship blossoms Example Can you pass the asparagus Annie asked Carefully, Jesse passed the uncooked spears to her Placing them on the table, his hand accidentally brushed against hers and they both felt a tiny current pass between themJesse was caught up in his own fantasy and, tasting the sauce to test for seasoning, he imagined running his tongue down between Annie s breasts towards her legs.On further thought, this book doesn t need an editor It needs a re write.

  7. says:

    Delightful and satirical, The Improbability of Love takes us deep into London s art world Annie McDee, a young chef, buys a painting at a junk shop as a birthday present for a guy who never shows up for the romantic dinner she has prepared Her mother thinks the painting resembles one of the Old Masters so they lug it to a museum for a comparison Could it be a lost 18th Century painting by Antoine Watteau called The Improbability of Love There is a powerful art dealer with a dark past who is searching for this painting Various people who want to possess it are introduced a London auctioneer, art specialists, and the flamboyant rich and famous collectors The painting itself is a character who tells the tale of its provenance My history is strewn with sex and love and lust and even a dead body or two 231 Filled with self importance, the painting looks back on its history It was painted for a special woman, owned by both royalty and commoners, and stolen during wars.The story makes the reader reflect on the true value of art Is it the monetary value that it brings at an auction, the prestige of owning a famous work, or the way we are moved emotionally and spiritually when gazing at an artwork Author Hannah Rothschild is the chair of the National Gallery in London, and she navigates through the art world with expertise The book was filled with art, mystery, romance, moral choices, and satirical humor Some of my favorite parts were chef Annie s lavish thematic dinners based on recipes from previous centuries The characters were interesting, ranging from ordinary folks to the over the top colorful wealthy collectors It might bother some people that there were so many characters and sub plots, and it still would have been an entertaining story if it was edited down a bit.

  8. says:

    This is a book that cannot fail to entrance a reader Hannah Mary Rothschild is a truly gifted writer who can weave vibrant worlds artfully The novel moves effortlessly between the past and present Art is clearly a passion for the author and you cannot help but get hooked into the story It begins with Annie, a chef, having suffered heartbreak, buying a painting at a junk shop for her new boyfriend However, it does not work out and so it belongs to Annie.You know what The painting talks to us about its previous owners and its glorious past In the present day, there are numerous parties that would like to get their hands on the painting including some unsavoury types We get a real insight into the world of art With a sprinkling of love and lashings of satire, the book is impeccably plotted I loved, loved, loved the novel Many thanks to Bloomsbury for a copy of the book via netgalley.

  9. says:

    DNF 52% This is probably my least favorite kind of book to review because it s a book that I was really, really enjoying at first And while I can tell it is a good book, it just may not be good for me Even though it has a lot of elements I enjoy unique narrative structure, the art world, multiple perspectives, descriptive writing it just wasn t working after the initial intrigue The novelty wore off by about 40% or so, but I pushed through to see if maybe it would turn around This novel is in a weird place between slightly plot driven and slightly character driven, but it never really finds a steady pace in either direction I wasn t curious enough to find out what happens, and I didn t really care about the characters enough to see what they would do Ultimately I couldn t compel myself to read on, and it s at that point in a novel that I know it s considerate to DNF than to continue reading and give a negative review.

  10. says:

    From the Baileys Prize longlist, an enchanting debut novel that blends art and cooking, mystery and romance Annie McDee, a heartbroken PA and amateur chef, pays 75 for a painting from a junk shop, not realizing it s a lost Antoine Watteau that will spark bidding wars and uncover a sordid chapter of history In a triumph of playful narration, we mostly learn about the artwork s history from the painting herself She recounts her turbulent 300 year history and lists her many illustrious owners, including Marie Antoinette, Napoleon and Queen Victoria These are the novel s only first person sections you can just imagine a voiceover from Helen Mirren or Judi Dench.Hannah Rothschild is one of those Rothschilds eldest daughter of Baron Jacob Rothschild, part of the venerable banking family A writer and documentary filmmaker, she is also the chair of the National Gallery and a trustee of the Tate Gallery It s no surprise, then, that she knows and depicts the art world just as well as she does the world of the super rich See my full review at The Bookbag.

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