It is time for another delightful Tuesday, and my featured book today is an ARC called Unbecoming, by Rebecca Scherm.
The first lie Grace had told Hanna was her name. “Bonjour, je m’appelle Julie,” Grace had said. She’d been in Paris for only a month, and her French was still new and stiff. She’d chosen the name Julie because it was sweet and easy on the French tongue—much more so than Grace was. The best lies were the simplest and made the most sense, in the mind and in the mouth. These lies were the easiest to swallow.
Jacqueline, the boss, had shown Grace to her worktable, abutting Hanna’s, and where to store her tools in the jars along the center crack, what she could borrow and what she would need to procure herself. Hanna had reached out to cover a jar of picks and pliers. “I don’t share these,” she’d said with a taut smile, like someone forced to apologize.
Teaser: For obsession to be managed, Grace had learned, the object must be shrunk to a manageable size and enclosed within a manageable shape. Vast, hovering clouds must be packed into a small, hard mass or they would smother you. (p. 23).
Blurb: A major debut novel of psychological suspense about a daring art heist, a cat-and-mouse waiting game, and a small-town girl’s mesmerizing transformation
On the grubby outskirts of Paris, Grace restores bric-a-brac, mends teapots, re-sets gems. She calls herself Julie, says she’s from California, and slips back to a rented room at night. Regularly, furtively, she checks the hometown paper on the Internet. Home is Garland, Tennessee, and there, two young men have just been paroled. One, she married; the other, she’s in love with. Both were jailed for a crime that Grace herself planned in exacting detail. The heist went bad—but not before she was on a plane to Prague with a stolen canvas rolled in her bag. And so, in Paris, begins a cat-and-mouse waiting game as Grace’s web of deception and lies unravels—and she becomes another young woman entirely.
Unbecoming is an intricately plotted and psychologically nuanced heist novel that turns on suspense and slippery identity. With echoes of Alfred Hitchcock and Patricia Highsmith, Rebecca Scherm’s mesmerizing debut is sure to entrance fans of Gillian Flynn, Marisha Pessl, and Donna Tartt.
Does the opener pique your interest? Do you find yourselves wanting to know more?