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The Fraud

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  165 ratings  ·  28 reviews
This is a rich historical novel set in 18th-century London. 1763. Filipo di Vecellio of Florence, portrait painter, is the toast of London: rich, successful and married to a beautiful woman. Their house is the hub of the art world but beneath the surface, the house conceals a swarm of dangerous secrets.
Paperback, 406 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Sphere
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  165 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read a couple of Ewing's books a few summers ago and picked this one up to read this year and I really enjoyed it.
The Fraud follows the story of Grace, a person burdened by circumstance who desires nothing more than to become a painter like her brother.
I felt so attached to Grace, to her passion, her love and loss and desperation to be accepted for what she is: a painter.
Well written reminiscent of 'The Tea Rose' in some of the writing style, for me anyway, I found the change of 3rd to 1st p
KL Caley
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I actually finished this book a few weeks ago but hadn’t found the time to write the review. I am now really glad that I had that time for reflection as it has actually increased my liking of the book and appreciate some of the world captured in these pages the more. Let me explain…

The premise of this book primarily is about a brother (Phillip) and sister (Grace) who despite being from a noble family find themselves going through financial hardships at a very young age and decide to re-establish

Rohase Piercy
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my three Barbara Ewing favourites (the other two being 'The Mesmerist' and 'The Petticoat Men'). Once again, it's about a feisty woman struggling to express herself and fulfil her dream (in this case, to be a recognised artist in her own right in the eighteenth century), but unlike 'The Trespass' and 'Rosetta' it doesn't labour the point anachronistically when it comes to sexual inequality and injustice, it lets the story do it naturally. Of course there are some horrible domineer ...more
Alex Peralta
Demasiado lento y muy descriptivo en momentos o escenas que no son trascendentales para la historia. El fraude como tal sucede hasta en los ultimos capitulos del libro donde el lector ya ha imaginado al menos 3 posibles finales. Mientras se llega a esto, la autora nos relata el dia a dia de la vida de los hermanos Di Vecellio durante 30 años, muchas de las veces quise dejar de leer el libro pero la curiosidad no me dejo, lo cual no me arrepiento del todo.

Toda la trama no está tan apartado de la
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
La historia abarca 25 años de la vida de estos hermanos y es en la casa de Filipo donde se reúnen a cenar pintores de moda y famosos, marchantes, celebridades. Grace o Francesca vive en las sombras esperando poder realizar sus sueños. Pero la vida le impone fuertes pruebas que le impiden llevar a cabo sus sueños como pretendía al cumplir 21 años, pero a pesar de esto ella no se rinde, ella quiere conseguir ser una pintora. El camino será largo y deberá renunciar a mucho para seguir el rumbo que ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stepped so effortlessly into the wolds of Bristol and then London in the 1700s, gaining a sense of how William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds were perceived by society at that time. Grace Marshall was intriguing and Ewing did a good job to make me completely believe in her story - her unyielding commitment to honour her artistic spirit in the face of such adversity. I so loved all the levels of 'fraud', topped off by the author's trick that she played on me as reader. Lov ...more
Jane Connor
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a rich historical novel set in 18th-century London. 1763. Filipo di Vecellio of Florence, portrait painter, is the toast of London: rich, successful and married to a beautiful woman. Their house is the hub of the art world but beneath the surface, the house conceals a swarm of dangerous secrets.
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wonderful-women
This is the first book I've read by Barbara Ewing, and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised. Don't misunderstand, I love both historical fiction and stuff about art, but often, when they are transposed into books, they end up being really boring and dreary. Not in this case, though. The writing is simple and easy to both read and follow. The story flows fluidly, and the only part which can be considered a bit "heavy" is the start, but after that everything slides into place, making th ...more
Feb 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It is a very rare occasion when I honestly don't know what's going to happen next at any point in a novel. There was never a moment in The Fraud where I said "ah, this is where such and so will occur." I mean this as high praise.

Grace Marshall has a completely unpredictable life in Bristol and then Georgian London, and encounters many people the average woman would never meet. She has great aspiration and vigour; despite attempts to thwart her ambitions, she keeps her eyes on a goal denied most
Jenny Barden
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Deeply moving and a magnificently brave tour de force, this is a novel that rewards the reader handsomely for seeing through the journey, one which begins quite slowly and quietly in a way which offers few clues to the excitement that lies ahead. Set in the eighteenth century, in the era of Gainsborough, Reynolds and Hogarth, at the heart of the story is an unravelling of what it takes to be a uniquely talented artist, and moreover a woman, at a time when women were never taken seriously as arti ...more
Aug 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
A story of a girl who dreams beyond the bounds of the woman's lot in regency England. Written in a style appropriate to the era it covers, the book reveals the cruelty of having dreams, ambition and talent, but the wrong gender! This is no advert for Women's Lib, but the frustration and even fear of living at the mercy of family isn't far below the surface of this narrative as Grace becomes embittered and set upon revenge. English society in the 18th Century is painted as narcissistic, at times ...more
Alison Sloan
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This has been my favourite Barbra Ewing book so far. Barbara Ewing creates a strong verbal template on which I could create a world for the characters. Again the subject matter was enthralling and her style of writing fluid and easy to follow. Again, my only complaint, why can't the book end completely? Why must it always be left hanging for a potential sequel? Having said that, grab any of her books if you see them. She's one of the finest kiwi writers.
Lisa Lemus
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-collection
I couldn't put this book down, and read it in one day. It's been awhile since a book was that amazing. As usual Barbara Ewing does not disappoint. This is her third book I've read and I've really enjoyed them all for the unusual choices and real decisions the heroines make, this is no normal historical fiction novel with a woman waiting around to be saved.
Vicki Klemm
Dec 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this story about 18th Century Grace and her lifelong dream to become an artist/painter and all of the obstacles she encountered. The author did a good job of describing Bristol/London during those times.
Naz Khan
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book once I got past the first few chapters, which I found hard to get into but I'm glad I persevered.This book played with my emotions quite a lot and I was way more involved in the characters lives than is normal!
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Barbara Ewing is a great writer and I have loved this story the second time I've read it as much as the first. All her books I've read have been beautifully written and gripping until the end.
Jean Overbeck
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very interesting story set in 18th Century London in the world of artists. Not Barbara Ewing's best - but worth a read.
Lyn Mcdonell
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another excellent book by Barbara Ewing. It is the second of her books that I have read and enjoyed. I will look for more.
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Found the plot and setting fascinating. Liked the artistic detail
Aug 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Slow start, but once it picked up I really enjoyed it. I liked the ending!
Anne Wright
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved
You need to read this book.

The talented female used the bolster the ego of a less talented man

Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the best book I have read this year!
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazingly fascinating and sad novel with historical facts, you'll think of the main character many years after reading this book.
Jun 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book starts very slowly but stick win it the story gets better. I really enjoyed it :)
Dilys Myhill
Apr 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical
I dislike not finishing a book but this was just not going anywhere so slow and boring.
Pascalle Franssen
Aug 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Een ontroerend en mooi verhaal over een meisje wat ondanks alle tegenslagen in haar leven maar een droom heeft en dat is schilderen. Tot op het einde bleef het boek boeiend en onvoorspelbaar.
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Set in the Bristol of the past, this was quite an (understandably) sad read.
rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2013
rated it really liked it
May 29, 2011
Lynne Milligan
rated it it was amazing
Dec 07, 2012
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Barbara Ewing is a UK-based actress, playwright and novelist. Born in New Zealand, she graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a BA in English and Maori before moving to Britain in 1965 to train as an actress at RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) in London.

She made her film debut in the horror film 'Torture Garden' (1967) for Amicus Productions, followed by 'Dracula Has Risen f
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