At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie's in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she's a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.
[A] fast-paced and compulsively readable novel, a magnetic character study about one unforgettable woman ... an absolute hoot. Becky Farwell is the protagonist readers dream of: charming, brilliant and just bad enough to be completely electrifying ... Tedrowe has crafted an unforgettable heroine living in an unforgettable time, and her use of art and capitalism is as educational as it is plain fun to read ... a rip-roaring journey.
The contrasting worlds Becky Farwell straddles diverge starkly: the homespun, agricultural flatlands of southern Illinois versus the slick, ostentatiously high-culture precincts of the big city. Author Emily Gray Tedrowe crosscuts deftly between these locales, crafting alternating chapters that chart Becky’s downstate ascendency alongside her equally remarkable rise ... Although Tedrowe, a storyteller of impressive talent, anchors her tale in modernity and pop-culture mythologizing, her premise is a familiar one of deep ancestry. Think Jekyll and Hyde ... The novel does have its flaws. Its persistent scenic counterpoint often teeters at the edge of cloying wealth pornography at one end and bald social condescension on the other ... As just desserts descend, a wash of dawning soap-opera sentimentality clouds the narrative. This lurch in tone threatens to turn it all into a didactic fable, a throwback that this mostly marvelous, insightfully framed novel doesn’t deserve.