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Faith Crowell is 39 years old, content in an artist’s life that is solitary but not lonely. A specialist in trompe l’oeil—the art of painterly illusion that makes things seem to be what they are not—she is about to learn that illusion is more than a painter’s trick: for some it is a way of life.
Frances Griffin is a grande dame, a reclusive widow whose fabulous fortune represents the accumulated wealth of generations of American aristocrats. She is one of the country’s foremost art collectors, but the commission she is about to offer demands far more than artistic technique. In fact, it will test Faith’s very soul. For when Mrs. Griffin proposes that Faith paint the ballroom of her mansion, a room built many years before for her daughter’s debutante ball, it is not Faith’s talent that she desires, but something else. …[more]