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Pictures at an Exhibition    by Sara Houghteling order for
Pictures at an Exhibition
by Sara Houghteling
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Kelly Thunstrom

There is nothing better than a great historical fiction piece to take the reader to another era. Pictures at an Exhibition accomplishes this for the most part. It tells of a little known aspect of the Nazi reign of terror ... how their invasion of France also resulted in one-third of all privately owned art being stolen. The Louvre was evacuated to prevent this from happening there.

This is the story of the fictional Berenzon family. The father, Daniel, is a well-respected French art dealer who spends his days educating his son Max in the differences between Mattisse and Manet. Max is in medical school, but cannot seem to find his place in life let alone the family business. With the Nazi invasion, the Berenzons are forced to flee, leaving their stash of priceless artwork in the hands of their gallery assistant, Rose Clement. When they return, the collection has vanished. Pictures at an Exhibition continues with Max's quest to retrieve the paintings and find Rose.

While parts of the book move slower than others, it lets the reader in on a haunting truth. The locations of 40,000 French art items pillaged by the Nazis remain unknown.

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