Hannah Rothschild’s first novel, The Improbability of Love, is a lighthearted satire of the London art world, drawn from Rothschild’s own experiences as the chair of the London National Gallery’s Board of Trustees.
Annie McDee, a struggling private chef for a family of sinister art dealers, is recovering from a horrible breakup when she impulsively decides to purchase a small painting from a junk shop. Unbeknownst to Annie, the painting is actually a lost masterpiece by Jean-Antoine Watteau called “The Improbability of Love.” Annie meets a museum guide named Jesse who helps her learn more about the painting, once owned by nearly every important European royal of the past 400 years. Meanwhile, Annie’s employers are searching for the painting and are willing to do almost anything to hide the secret it represents.
The complicated plot involves Russian oligarchs, wealthy American heiresses, and a “fixer” named Barthomley Chesterfield Fitzroy St. George who enjoys dressing in outrageous outfits. Rothschild is obviously very knowledgeable about art, which helps ground the rather silly plot. The painting itself even narrates a few chapters.
Ultimately, The Improbability of Love is about the importance of second chances and looking beyond first impressions – in both love and art. While not a great book, it was a fun “beachy” read.
Review Submitted by: Kaitlyn Grigsby