Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Fine Imitation” as Want to Read:
A Fine Imitation
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Fine Imitation

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  3,064 ratings  ·  460 reviews
Set in the glamorous 1920s, A Fine Imitation is an intoxicating debut that sweeps readers into a privileged Manhattan socialite's restless life and the affair with a mysterious painter that upends her world, flashing back to her years at Vassar and the friendship that brought her to the brink of ruin.

Vera Bellington has beauty, pedigree, and a penthouse at The Angelus--the
ebook, 304 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by Crown
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Fine Imitation, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Fine Imitation

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.60  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,064 ratings  ·  460 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of A Fine Imitation
Vera's story is told in alternating  chapters:  1913 while at Vassar studying art with her adventurous best friend Bea, and 1923 New York  City where she lives in a swank apartment building with her unloving, workaholic husband Arthur.  Both time  periods include exchanges with Vera's mother, an overbearing socialite whom I loathed. I longed for  the day Vera would put her in her place, although with Vera following many of the same social edicts as her mother, that seemed unlikely. 

We know there
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 I love reading about the 20's. It's a fun escape and I'm reminded how thankful I am to be living in an age where women have a voice and choices.

A Fine Imitation is all about art. The authentic and the forgeries. It can also be applied to people. It oscillates between 1913 and 1923. In 1913 Vera attends Vassar college where she befriends Bea. Bea and Vera are in different social circles, but their friendship is strong. The background is set up nicely as the novel unfolds. 1923 is when all the
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fine Imitation takes place in 1923 in Manhattan and tells the story of Vera Bellington, a member of Old New York society. Vera is in a loveless marriage and feels trapped behind the facade she is forced to wear to uphold her prominent place in society. The narrative switches back and forth from 1923 Manhattan to 1913 when Vera attended Vassar College and studied art and was involved in a "scandal." When an artist is hired to paint a mural in Vera's building, she becomes infatuated with the ...more
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When done right I have an enjoyable time reading books from this time period. In the case of this book, it was done right. I instantly felt like I was transported back in time. I could see the clothes, imagine the conversation, and it was like I was in Vera's shoes and was experiencing everything as she was for the first time.

It was easy to see how she fell for Emil. Her life while full of money and glam was not a happy one from the inside. Her marriage to her husband was non existent. Then
"He who is subjected to a field of visibility... inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own [subjugation]" ~ Michel Foucault, Discipline & Punish

Foucault was the first to describe-in meticulous, analytic, historical detail- that pervading sense we feel to act in prescribed ways - to discipline ourselves into conformity. We do this, Foucault contends, because we are inscribed in fields of surveillance - we are
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Fine Imitation follows the story of Vera, a high society socialite, during her senior year at Vassar College in 1913 and in New York City ten years later. The book alternates between the two timelines. Early on we know that some scandal happened while she attended Vassar after meeting another student named Bea who isn't as refined as Vera. We also know early on that Vera's marriage in 1923 isn't a happy one; her husband is rarely home and when he is home he doesn't give Vera the time of day. ...more
I received this book for free through LibraryThings Early Reviewers.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a well written story about a woman coming to terms with the fact that her life isnt what she wants it to be.

The only thing I didnt like was that it was a bit elitist. The main character, Vera, is a rich woman from high society, so its sometimes hard to feel bad for her.
A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock is a 2016 Crown publication. I was provided a copy of this book as a part of the LibraryThing early review program.

I love the 1920s and really like books set within that time frame, which is what originally drew me to this book, not to mention that stunningly beautiful cover.

As it turns out the story switches back and forth in time between 1913, where our protagonist, Vera Longacre, attended Vassar, a liberal arts college, and 1923 Manhattan, where Vera is now a
One of the things I loved about A Fine Imitation is the double meaning of the title. On one hand it refers to the theme of trying to force ourselves to fit in a predetermined mold set by society. On the other it refers to the art forgery that runs as a parallel storyline. Readers can analyze the dual meanings of the title as they wish but those two themes really stood out to me.

I did find myself increasingly frustrated by the main character, Vera (Longacre) Bellington. The book told Veras story
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarything
Vera Bellington seems to have it all beauty, a rich husband, furs, jewelry and a penthouse at the exclusive Angelus. But her marriage is loveless and she vacantly socializes during the day and sits alone in her beautiful penthouse most nights. Then a mysterious painter, Emil Hallan, is hired to paint a mural in the poolroom of the Angelus and brings Vera to a fork in the road that she must decide on. She doesnt know if she can trust Emil, though she has her own secrets from her life at Vassar ...more
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-thing
I think this will count as my first "win" of the New Year! Thanks to Library Thing for the ARC. This book was easy to read and enjoy. A little romance, a little intrigue, a view of the posh life in New York Society in the first quarter of the 20th century before it all went bust. The expectations of upper class society were really over the top, enough to suffocate a person. Will Vera have the courage to escape?

I admit I expected Hallan's secret to be a bit more...something. I think it was
Judy Collins
A special thank you to Crown, NetGalley (digital), and LibraryThing (print) for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Southern author, Amber Brock delivers A FINE IMITATION an intriguing historical fiction debut of glamour, art, deception, SECRETS, scandal, friendship, romance, and desire.

The exciting Jazz Age, emphasizes the eras social, artistic, and cultural dynamismand a womans role in this changing time. Difficult choices.

The book opens in 1913 at Vassar College, a private, liberal
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable read about 1920's high society Manhattan and the art world. We get a glimpse into the life of Park Avenue, art galleries and Vassar -- more importantly a light is shone on what is expected of women and what their expectations should be of their lives and marriages. A world is painted that shows the importance of a family name and family money. Throw in a scandal from college, some secrets and a hint of mystery and I flew through this novel in 2 days.

While this may be Amber Brock's
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a good read that took place in the 1920's.The book was well written,with some surprises in there too.I read this book quickly as it kept me wanting to know what was going to happen next.I also got very involved in the character's life as well.
Laura Lee
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thank you for the book, Goodreads! Here is my honest opinion...excellent! A very strong 4.5. Vera is a rich girl with looks, lots of money, not much on brains when it comes to the ways of the world and definitely low on gumption. She meets Bea in college and they become fast friends. There is a scandal. Years later Vera is still trying to come to grips with what happened those ten years earlier.
She lives in the penthouse of a large New York City apartment building her husband designed and
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I know the author, Amber Brock, and am proud to call her my friend.

Review: I heartily recommend A Fine Imitation to everyone who loves good historical fiction. The story shakes together a tasty cocktail of money, love, sexual politics, art, and intrigue that delivers I delightful readerly-buzz. The characters (especially Bea and Mrs. Longacre) leap off the page as do the skillfully gilded backdrops of 1920s New York City. The plot delivered more than a few satisfying sharp turns and
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. (Thanks, LibraryThing!)

I like to think that a good book makes you appreciate the writing and the effort put into it, but a great book, a really fantastic book, makes you forget completely that someone wrote it at all.
A Fine Imitation was fantastic book.
The story alternates between 1913 and 1923, effectively showing how Vera's time at Vassar influenced her life ten years later as a dutiful society wife stuck in a
May 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is hard to believe this historical fiction novel is by a debut author. It's an extremely well crafted story told in two time sequences, college days at Vassar just prior to WWI and 1923 post war NYC. Vera Longacre is from a wealthy NYC family and is a student of art history at Vassar when she meets fellow student, the feisty Bea Stillman. Vera has been raised to follow all the protocols of her class status. Bea is from an upper class southern family, used to having a bit of fun and breaking ...more
Vera Longacre Bellington, wealthy wife of Arthur Bellington, real estate mogul, spends her days taking tea with the ladies in her circle and her nights waiting for her husband to come home. It seems more and more frequently he's required to travel out of town overnight for business. The middle of her week is invariable punctuated by lunch with her oppressive mother at the Tea Room at the Plaza Hotel. We're given a strong dose of what kind of medicine Vera's mother is from the opening pages. It's ...more
Leigh Podgorski

A Fine Imitation by Amber Brock takes place in the Jazz Age in New York City, though the novel takes only one cursory dip into that thrilling and unconventional age unfolding merely a few miles north of the setting of this novel. The brief visit is accompanied by near swoons by the high-society stiff and proper heroine Vera Bellington who is about the palest, weakest-kneed, and most tepid and uninteresting heroine I believe I have ever read.
Three quarters of the book is a
Danielle Urban
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readers won't be able to set this book down, once they begin reading it. A Fine Imitation is the first novel I have read by the more than talented writer, Amber Brock. Her main character, Vera Belington, will call all readers to this intriguing historical read.

Vera Bellington is a woman who grows up having it all. The richness of life is constant but lacking in a few areas. One area is her mom. Another is the loveless marriage she's found herself bound within...will her life change? Now, enters
Mimi Schroeder
Feb 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women making life choices
Love finding a book A Fine Imitationthat I can't wait to return to! Enjoyed this book on many levels. For one, learning what it was like to attend Vassar in 1913 (author did LOTS of research) and to be part of high society in NYC in 2013. And brushing up on my art history and the masters. Following different relationships and how some grew closer and some farther apart. Seeing a romance grow between two lovers at opposite ends of society. Watching courage develop to make risky, uncomfortable ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book in three long sittings...that should tell you it's very worth the read. I constantly wondered how the story would end and what on earth was the painting of. I felt for the main character in the book, Vera. As huge historical fiction fan, society rules fascinate me and this did not disappoint.

I've found that I LOVE books that alternate storylines as this one does. I love how it lends me to "just one more chapter." This hit the spot after a month long reading slump.
Jan 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the beginning of this book. In the middle, I was very annoyed with the main character and her flirtatious behavior. She was just a bit unreal to me in how she would flip-flop in her feelings. That went on for a while and had me wanting it to be over. I did, however, really enjoy the end of the book. There was still bits of unreal behavior to me, but overall I felt interested again. The main character does stand up for her own self in the end which is always admirable - going from ...more
Enjoyable story and characters but no real history. This story uses alternating timelines between 1913 and 1923, but it feels like it could have been any time period.
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(I won this Uncorrected Proof, Advanced Copy from a Goodread's Giveway in return for a review and to also find any needed corrections-which are located at the end of this review.)

A Fine Imitation is a wonderful novel to place on every bookshelf.
The story revolves around colors that revolve around the characters' personalities (ie: pg. 14-Arthur's eyes are described as "pale blue, like crystal," and as the story progresses, [pg. 26] Arthur's eyes are expressed as, "ice-blue eyes"). However, I
Jan 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
** I received an advanced reader's copy of this book from LibraryThing **

Vera lives in a gilded cage. She has everything she could want-money, clothes, the best name in New York- but her marriage is a loveless one and her friends are only interested in what she can do for them. So when mysterious French artist Emil Hallan is hired to paint a mural in her exclusive Manhattan building and sets her social circle talking, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to him. This attraction has the power to
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-loan
Some stories told through alternate timelines can sometimes become confusing. That was not the case with this novel. I enjoyed the way the story flowed from 1913 to 1923 detailing the life of Vera, a woman born into a wealthy family with all the responsibility and expectations it entails. She is allowed to go to college at Vassar where she befriends a woman, Bea, who allows Vera to experience world in a way she could never have imagined. Her story is told alternating from her days at Vassar when ...more
I am being generous by giving this book 3 stars. Maybe more like 2.5 rounded up.
It does give a good look into the high society of the 1920s with all their stifling rules and protocols.

The story is about Vera Longacre Bellington, and it alternates between 1913 and her life as a senior at Vassar, and 1923 and her life as a wealthy society woman living in a penthouse on Park Avenue in NYC. At Vassar she supposedly got into some kind of horrible trouble due to a friendship with another classmate.
Robin Tobin (On the back porch reading)
I am pretty sure this book was written just for me.... I found myself interweaving into the time and storyline.... The smell of vintage, the paints and canvas made it impossible to put down...
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Certain Age (A Certain Age #1)
  • The Wicked Redhead (The Wicked City #2)
  • The After Party
  • The Chelsea Girls
  • The Wicked City (The Wicked City #1)
  • The Golden Hour
  • Cocoa Beach
  • White Collar Girl
  • Tiny Little Thing (Schuyler Sisters, #2)
  • Let There Be Suspects (Ministry Is Murder Mystery, #2)
  • The Girl from the Savoy
  • The Masterpiece
  • High Dive
  • The Queen's Fortune: A Novel of Desiree, Napoleon, and the Dynasty That Outlasted the Empire
  • The Summer Wives
  • TREYF: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw
  • November Volume I : The girl on the roof
  • Tatty
See similar books…
AMBER BROCK teaches British literature and creative writing at an all girls' school in Atlanta. She holds an MA from the University of Georgia and lives in Smyrna with her husband, also an English teacher, and their three rescue dogs.

Related Articles

Philippa Gregory is best known for reimagining the lives of famous royal women in bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn...
67 likes · 27 comments
“she had been playing a role all her life, and being good at it was no excuse for giving in to it.” 5 likes
More quotes…