Annette Remmington is at the top of her game. She’s a rising star in the international art world as an art consultant and private dealer in London. She has wealthy clients who trust her art expertise and business knowledge. When an acquaintance inherits an estate, Annette is delighted to discover a rare and long lost Rembrandt, which she restores and sells for top dollar and Annette becomes the most talked about art dealer because of the “auction of the year”.
Annette’s husband, Marius Remmington, is both her mentor and champion. Much older, he’s been grooming her to become the international star in the art world. Saving her from a dark past, Marius considers Annette his pride and joy and as her best advisor he chooses the best journalist possible to do a profile of her in a popular London Sunday newspaper. Jack Chalmers is one of the top journalists of his time and Marius believes that only he will be able to do justice to Annette’s brilliance. He never intended to put his marriage at risk, how could he have known that the connection between Jack and Annette would lead to the discovery of so many secrets and that Jack would uncover a scandal that could destroy them all?
Passion, Fine Art, Forgeries and Murder are all part of Playing the Game a highly entertaining story set in contemporary London by Barbara Taylor-Bradford. Annette Remmington is a fantastic heroine; she’s beautiful, intelligent, fiercely loyal to her younger sister and highly ambitious. She’s also flawed; she has secrets from a dark and somewhat disturbing past and is married to an older man who wants to control every facet of her life. Annette has just concluded a very successful art auction and is looking forward to more success in her career.
Jack Chalmers is an interesting hero for this story; he’s a successful and popular journalist/writer, attractive and very charming. He’s also unable to commit to any single woman for a long period of time, something he thinks he inherited from his biological dad –the man who abandoned his family for other women. Currently at his vacation home in France, he’s pleased to get a call from his agent with a new job to do an interview of an up and coming art consultant and private dealer which will take him back home to London, where he plans to catch up with family.
The scenes between Annette and Jack are superbly done; you can feel the immediate attraction and budding passion between these two characters. The dialogue is sharp and interesting. Though Annette and Jack both recognize that their attraction is a complication that could have some dire consequences, they both recognize that the love they feel towards each other is what they have been missing in their lives.
The secondary characters in this story are crucial to the plot from Annette’s younger sister, Laurie, an art historian who provides both research and emotional support to her. Malcolm Stevens, a successful gallery owner who is completely devoted to Annette as a friend, Laurie as a lover, and sees Marius Remmington for the man he truly is. We also meet Christopher Delaware, Annette’s client whose uncle’s estate provides the Rembrandt painting that makes Annette a star and who locates additional hidden treasures on the estate along with some exceedingly good forgeries. Forgeries which provide a subplot to the story and whose history provides a necessary tie between Annette, Jack and Marius’s past.
The author did an excellent job with the antagonist of this story, Marius Remmington, who turns out to be a very nasty character. Marius is an interesting- he’s intelligent, highly ambitious and extremely self absorbed. He’s extremely possessive of Annette, trying to control everything she does and becomes verbally nasty when he doesn’t get his way, using the fact that he’s older and more experienced as a tool against her. Marius is also mysterious, disappearing on “research” trips to Barcelona and other parts of Europe on short notice- trips where Annette is not to contact him- he’ll contact her when it’s convenient. Marius knows Annette’s secrets and has made it clear that if she doesn’t behave he’ll have no qualms about destroying her.
While there are parts of the story that move a little slow, the overall plot moves at a good pace and is engaging. The illicit romance between Annette and Jack is woven throughout the mystery of the hidden art treasures and forgeries that are discovered. The ending is just right for the story with a positive and happy conclusion for Annette, Jack, Laurie and Malcolm, with Marius getting the justice that he deserves. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.
Annette Remmington, a London art consultant and private dealer, is at the top of her game. She is considered a rising star in the international world of art, and has a roster of wealthy clients who trust her judgment and her business acumen. Her success reaches new heights when a rare and long lost Rembrandt finds its way into her hands, which she restores and sells for top dollar. Called the auction of the year, Annette becomes the most talked about art dealer in the world.
Annette is married to her mentor and personal champion, the much older Marius Remmington. For twenty years, Marius has groomed her into the international art star that she has become, not to mention saving her from a dark and gritty past. She is his pride and joy, and as her best advisor, it’s with great care that he hand picks only the best journalist possible to do a profile on his beloved wife in a popular London Sunday newspaper. Jack Chalmers is a bit of a celebrity himself, becoming one of the top journalists of his time. Marius believes only he will be able to capture the true brilliance of his lovely wife. But Marius never intends to put his marriage in jeopardy. How could he have known that the connection between Jack and Annette would ignite so many secrets? And how could he know that Jack would uncover a scandal that could ultimately destroy them all?
Barbara Taylor Bradford does it again in this epic novel of seduction, passion and international intrigue. Playing the game has never been so thrilling.