An art history student stumbles on a hidden treasure in this literary novel.
Catherine “Cate” Adamson is trying to make her way in New York City’s prestigious art world. The Michigan transplant, who relocated after the tragic death of her teenage brother, Matty, is the only woman in her doctoral program at the fictional New York City University. Her adviser, academic bigwig professor Herant Jones, keeps nixing her dissertation proposals. But everything changes on a cold December day on campus when Cate uncovers a scroll of canvas in a forgotten storage room—and trusts her intuition not to tell Jones. It’s a small but stunning painting that may be from the Baroque period (“The composition seemed to be an allegory, perhaps from mythology”). It strongly resembles the works of renowned 17th-century Spanish Golden Age artist Velázquez, but nothing like it exists on record. Cate decides to embark on a trip to Spain, the center of the Golden Age and now home to the famed Prado Museum, armed with the painting she has nicknamed La Gloria, to try to solve the mystery of the canvas and who created it. Was the artist actually Velázquez himself or a mistress? An enslaved person perhaps? On a train in Spain, Cate meets the handsome Antonio de Olivares, who may have a personal connection to the mysterious painting. Once the Prado gets involved with an agenda of its own, Cate must choose between attaining love and academic stardom and finally giving credit to an artist with no voice. Moore is a Prado alum and former gallery owner. Her passion and extensive knowledge of art history show on every page as readers follow Cate from the tiny, drafty room stateside where the puzzling canvas is found to the vibrant, colorful environment that is Spain at Christmastime. As a love interest, Antonio is attractive, intelligent, and supportive, offering his apartment and ancestral family home to Cate as she needs it as well as the potential for a romantic future. But their conflicts when it comes to the painting and Cate’s professional life are realistic. La Gloria itself, a beautifully described and ever enigmatic artwork, is an intriguing character all on its own.
A captivating journey to a specialized world full of drama.