The Talented Miss Farwell
At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie's in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she's known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she's a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.
But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely-a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family's farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town's treasurer and controller.
No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson's accounts better than Becky; she's the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. What Pierson doesn't see-and can never discover-is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, "borrowed" funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable.
But as Reba Farwell's deals get bigger and bigger, Becky Farwell's debt to Pierson spirals out of control. How long can the talented Miss Farwell continue to pull off her double life?
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The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe is a unique story about a teenage girl who realizes that to survive, she’s will have to take care of her sickly widowed father, run the family business, and drop out of school. It turns out that Rebecca has a great mind for numbers with an impressive skill set for skewing said numbers which allows her, at a very young age, to start collecting art and reselling it all while being the small town bookkeeper. Her money of course comes from skimming city funds from her rural farm town where she’s considered heroic for her ability to make sense of their inefficient bookkeeping. On the flip side, Rebecca is admired, revered, and considered a serious art collector in Chicago where she is known as Reba. Her duplicitous life is what makes this story so interesting. She reinvents herself with a glorious art collection, beautiful clothes, furnishings, jewelry, and handbags. As I read this book, I kept hoping she could pull it all off. It’s unusual for me to root for the thief but I loved it, and I hope you will give it a read.
This is a fascinating and informative story. Recommended this book for those who have interest in art or crime.
The Talented Miss Farwell is a well-developed character study of the inner workings of a young woman tempted by fate. She is greedy, self-centered, selfish and an accomplished liar. She has a thing for fine art. She buys it. She lives two very different lives to maintain her art habit. Very interesting stories.