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The Paris Secret    by Karen Swan order for
Paris Secret
by Karen Swan
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Karen Swan's The Paris Secret introduces fine art agent Flora Sykes, assigned by her boss to assess objets d'art in a Paris apartment owned by the illustrious Vermeil family. Most family members knew nothing of the existence of the apartment, which had been abandoned since World War II. Why? Is there a dark secret involved, one that might damage reputations?

Flora has a secret of her own - serious trouble ahead for her beloved brother Freddie. She is certain that he's innocent, but knows her close family will suffer along with him when all is revealed. Readers wonder what this is about until late in the story.

Madame Vermeil, whose family owns the apartment, only found out about it after it was broken into, and has never been inside it. When Flora and her boss go there, they find it full of art treasures, including a Renoir! She immediately starts researching provenance, required before any of the pieces can be sold.

Soon Flora meets the troubled daughter of the family, Natascha, and her handsome, hostile brother Xavier - sparks fly. And she discovers another apartment owned by the family, in the same building and holding a beautiful, mysterious painting. In her research, Flora finds a link to Jewish families forced to sell art for flight tax, to a Nazi collaborator - and to the Vermeil family, who are Jewish themselves.

You might guess where all this is heading, but there's much more to the story than appears on the surface, and it makes for an absorbing read, as Flora digs deep for the truth behind this intriguing puzzle.

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