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The Forger's Daughter

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The Forger's Daughter is my first book from Bradford Morrow.

"After twenty years of following the rules, Will finds himself coerced by a former nemesis to put his forging talents back to work and forge what many consider to be the rarest book in American Literature, Edgar Allen Poe's first book, Tamerlane. Facing threats to his life and family, Will must rely on his daughter Nicole to create a flawless copy."

The idea for this book sounds great - a chance to see into the world of rare books and their provenance. Unfortunately, the execution is not there. There are unusual metaphors. And sentences that go on forever. A sentence should not have nine commas. So many sentences like that. Descriptions seemed a bit forced. like the author thought we might miss something if he didn't include everything. It made me wonder if an editor even looked at this book. 
If you like long, wordy sentences and are fascinated with rare book forgeries, you might think about reading this. If you want concise prose and a fast-paced story, this is not the book for you.
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Exceptionally detailed tale with writing reminiscent of the 19th century, THE FORGER’S DAUGHTER delves deeply into the relationship between a former forger and his erstwhile unrepentant partner-in-crime.  Unfortunately for me, I found the writing style over-wrought and it wore on my nerves impeding my ability to enjoy the book.  The style was reminiscent of the topic at hand, Edgar Allen Poe’s work, but I found it...vexing.  Other readers may enjoy it more.  The book is the second in a series but works as a stand alone.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Will has been out of the forgery business for 20 years, living happily with his wife Meghan and daughters Maisie and Nicole.  Then, suddenly, the evil Slader is back in his life with a copy of Poe's Tamerlane that he wants Will to replicate or he'll tell Will's secret (no spoilers from me on that one).  Told alternately by Will and Meg, you'll watch Nicole slowly drawn into the forgery business. The details of forging books are btw fascinating (perhaps a bit more so than the actual plot of the novel).  This has good characters and hits a sweet spot for bilbliophiles.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.    This is a followup to an earlier novel but I read it as a standalone and don't think I missed anything.
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Very interesting book dealing with book forgeries - something I knew nothing about.

Very well written - but I found myself anxious to finish to see where it would lead.  Ending just left you wanting more!
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I loved this book. What a fascinating look at a subject I knew nothing about. It lead me on a strong well written story that is a compulsive read. Part mystery and part suspense this highly enjoyable story deserves to be checked out. Happy reading!
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Will was an accomplished forger, retired now after a close brush with the authorities twenty years ago, and his competitive partner almost severing his fingers on his right hand. His nemesis, Henry Slader, is back trying to blackmail him into accepting a new project by threatening to expose a previous crime which would ruin his respected consultant reputation at the Manhattan Auction house, and a possible prison sentence.

Slader wants Will to create an expert copy of Edgar Allan Poe’s book, “Tamerlane” one of the most sought after, rare books in the world. If Will accepts this proposal he is going to need the help of his eldest daughter, Nicole, currently an art student and a talented calligrapher herself. However, father and daughter cannot let Meg, Will’s wife and Nicole’s mother ever know.

Factual or fictional, the part of the story that was most captivating was the research done for the rare book market, printing, thievery, and forgery. There were two main narrators, or Points-of-View POV, for this book that were a bit muddled, thereby difficult to follow. The prose is well done but more suited to a time when women wore long skirts, and everyone was more polite. (1800s say.) If you enjoy this elaborate type of writing, then this book is for you. I generally like a pithy paragraph. Lastly, I would suggest reading the ‘Forgers’ by the same author first, to aid your understanding of several plot points.

Quite an entertaining read.

Thank you Netgalley, Grove Atlantic, and Bradford Morrow
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This book blew me away! I was unable to but it down. Perfect, dazzlingly, very well written. The details the author described throughout the book was so amazing. The  characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming  Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! No spoilers. Beyond amazing I enjoyed this book so very much. The characters and storyline were fantastic. The ending I did not see coming  Could not put down nor did I want to. Truly Amazing and appreciated the whole story. This is going to be a must read for many many readers. Maybe even a book club pick.
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After twenty years of living life on the straight and narrow trying to be the best for his family while still existing in the literary community, Will is plunged right back into a forgery to counterfeit the rarest book in American literature: Edgar Allan Poe’s first, Tamerlane, where only a dozen copies are known to exist. His old friend turned business partner, turned nemesis and fellow forget Henry Slader comes back into his life with a vengeance threatening Will, his wife, and two daughters. Will has to hope the artistic skills he taught to his oldest daughter Nicole are enough to pull off a convincing forgery of the stolen Tamerlane. This book was a side of the literary world I had never heard about and found very intriguing. I have never thought too much about the shady elements of book trading and that it could be so diabolical or as dangerous as a murder. This novel was full mystery, suspense, literary references, surprise family revelations, and murder. I wish I knew more about why Will’s brother in law was murder and why they covered up Maisie’s true parentage. Overall a great read if you are interested in the dark side of the book trade and would like to hear a tale about Edgar Allen Poe just not my cup of tea.
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This is a slow starting book. And I don't mean a "get past the first couple chapters slow" kind of book. I mean more along the lines of "get to about 30% on the ereader" kind of slow. The pace is enough to turn off the reader. This reader, however, plunged onward. I really wish I hadn't, because outside of some things I'll get into below, this book annoyed me. A lot.

Twentyish years ago, the now-reformed Wil was a forger, specializing in books and letters. What I did not know going into this book is that it is a sequel to a book called, aptly enough, The Forgers. I've not read that, but I will give this book points for at least being able to stand on its own. Annoyingly, however, this is only possible by the characters telling us all about what happened before. Wil got caught, lost part of his right hand, they moved, and so on. He's now a stay at home dad who occasionally does consulting for the bookstore where his wife Meghan works, as well as authenticity checks for auction houses and book dealers to weed out forgeries. There is a humorous moment when Wil is asked to authenticate something that is his own forgery. Although he points out for the acquirers that it is, in fact, a forgery, without telling them it is *his* forgery, they proceed to overrule him and sell it at auction for a tidy sum. Most of the time - he tells us - they defer to his opinions.

We come to know - via incredibly stilted prose and dialogue, as if this is taking place in 1900 instead of now - that Wil's old nemesis, Slader, is basically blackmailing him into copying Edgar Allen Poe's first book, Tamerlane. Wil doesn't seem to have much of a backbone to me, but there are vague threats and he gives in rather immediately, with his daughter Nicole - herself now an accomplished author and copier - pitching in. I suppose this is what the title meant, and the title implies that the daughter has taken over the forging (at least to me) and that's actually what pulled me in to request it. Alas, it is not the case. Nicole mainly stands by while Wil does most of the work, occasionally going with him to various places because.....because the plot requires it/it's in the script, I suppose.

There's no real tension in the bits where Slader presents Wil with the copy he's lifted from someone's home, with a directive to get a forgery made by x date so he can slip the forged copy back in place and take the (also forged) one he's lifted to sell without the owner being the wiser for it. Wil just gives us giant infodumps about how things were before and how he has all the feels, but in the end, we know forging is in his blood and what he loves to do - because the things he tells us in his lengthy monologues make us understand this is so.

In fact, there's a TON of telling in this book, whether it's Wil or Meg, in their confusingly presented, alternating narratives, running down "what came before" for the reader or just telling us how they feel in the moment. That's the bad sort of telling. The good sort of telling are the details about forgeries and paper and ink and printing and the other things in which a bibliophile (like me; like the author, I presume)  would be interested. Those are, unfortunately, the best part of this book.If the author were to write a nonfiction book about the history of forged books, letters, and papers, or even one restricted to a particular genre or author, I'd probably like that  lot more than this, which is not very suspenseful, seemed to be wrongly attached to the mystery genre when it would seem more at home in the literary fiction group, and which has an ending I neither liked nor believed, even for a fictional tale.

I'll go briefly into the language of the book - that is, the tone of the prose - as I'm not certain whether the author was writing this way intentionally or ironically (as I'd not read the book previous to this, so could not compare): as I said, this reads like a novel from 1900. The language is stilted for a 21st century couple. Eloquent it may be, but most people - even forgers and bibliophiles - do not speak the way Wil and Meg speak to the reader when they are doing what I always think of as the English parlor act: telling a tale in the age before television or internet, using language that my grandmother would have called high-falutin'. That is to say, their manner of speaking reminds me a great deal of academia, as the sort of oft-parodied tone of upper crust English novels or Downton Abbey and period shows like it. While I would be perfectly fine with this were Wil and Meg and their family placed in that time, it is not the case in this book, and here they (and the author) come across as pretentious.

As for the ending: I rarely say this, but I hated it. It doesn't match the rest of the book, and at least part of it I would like to have known sooner, as it would have not just informed everything leading up to the end, but it would have informed a choice at the end as well.

If you're a bibliophile, you'll probably like those parts very much. It's clear the author is either working in the field or has done a great deal of research in this area. If you're looking for a more mystery-influenced novel, as I did, unfortunately, I don't believe this reaches the level of a book you'll stay up late into the night reading.

Overall: two stars out of five. Sorry, this simply was not my cup of tea.

Thanks to Mysterious Press and NetGalley for the review copy.
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.  Publication date is September 8, 2020.

On paper, this book is right up my alley.  Will, a retired forger, is forced back into crime after 20 years of living peacefully with his wife Meghan and their daughters Nicole and Maisie.  Maisie is confronted one night by Will's nemesis, Slader, and shows up back home with a copy of the rarest book in American literature - Edgar Allen Poe's Tamerlane.  Under threat of secrets from the past coming to the surface, Will agrees to work with his nemesis and forge a copy of Tamerlane. Sounds like an episode of White Collar (a show which I love) with some The Da Vinci Code / Catch Me if You Can thrown in.  However, I found this book to be the furthest thing from the thrilling forgery tale I was expecting.

I want to mention first that this book is, unbeknownst to me, a sequel to The Forgers.  Nowhere in the Goodreads page or NetGalley does it list this book as being a sequel.  If it was maybe only tangentially related to the first book, that wouldn't be so bad.  But from the plot synopsis of The Forgers, it seems like The Forger's Daughter is a direct continuation of the relationships and threats built in the first book.  The Forger's Daughter does a good job of recaping the history between Will and Slader and what potential threats Will's family may be facing now.  The first 20% or so of the book is this backstory of how Will knows Slader and what Will has been doing these past 20 years.  As someone who didn't read the first book, I didn't feel like I was missing out on any details, but I felt a lot of the personality conflicts and character backstory of the characters was lacking and maybe if I had read the first book, I would have had a better idea of who these characters were. I did appreciate not being left in the dark on any of the more pertinent details even if the recapping was a bit slow at times and I just wanted to get back to present day where this mysterious package was just dropped off.

My favorite thing about this book was the amount of detail that went into the history of these various famous books.  Unless Morrow is an avid bibliophile, a whole lot of research went into this book and it paid off.  I loved how easily the facts and stories of different authors and their works flowed out of Will and how convincing the writing was that Will loves these books and documents.  The writing in these sections was absolutely wonderful and reminded me of The Da Vinci Code when Robert Langdon would similarly go into these long explanation of the history and backstory of the different works he encounters. There's a real reverence that comes through in Will's character that really enhances the overall tone of the book and I can't emphasize how much I loved it.

My first, and probably largest complaint, is the character development (or lack thereof) of Meghan.  The book is split between alternating chapters of her and Will's POV.  While I got a really good sense of Will's character, his motivations, and his thought process for his decisions, I could not tell you one of those same aspects about Meghan.  About halfway through the book, there's an event that happens that is related to Slader.  Now Meghan knows who Will is, who Slader is, she knows the general story of their past and relationship, and she knows about the current forgery project.  So I have no idea why she didn't tell Will about the event she witnessed.  She does eventually tell Will and the reason she hid it gets hand-waved away in the last few pages of the book.  In my opinion, she had no real point of being in the book other than to have a different character to be doing stuff while Will was working on the forgery in the other room.  And that 'doing stuff' was running errands or picking vegetables out of the garden.  If all of her chapters were deleted, the book would be half as long and twice as good.  

Another major complaint I had was the general lack of agency that Will seemed to have.  Based on the summary, I expected Will would have to go out and find the materials in order to forge this document.  However, Slader gives him everything he needs and gives him a somewhat shorter time table than he would like but the document gets finished on time just fine.  Then, in the third act, Will gets surprised with how the document gets back in his hands, but he seems to just shrug it off and go with the flow.  It felt like there were 2 Wills in the book.  The first was the knowledgeable forger who has a love for old manuscripts and the second was just a cog in the forging machine and didn't have much personality.  I had such a hard time seeing these two as the same person.  In the forging process, I was much more interested in Will's daughter Nicole.  Afterall, with a title like The Forger's Daughter, I expected her character to be a bit more developed than it was.  But she also took some agency away from Will by just telling him that she was coming with him a few different times when he went out to various meetings.  And although Will does protest a tiny bit, he generally just shrugs it off again and takes her with him. 

Finally, the ending to this book is fantastic but comes a little out of left field.  The last 5% or so of the book has 10 times the suspense and action that the rest of the book does.  The ending also does a lot of heavy lifting in regards to characterization.  I really think if the climax of the ending was maybe moved to the first third of the book and the rest of the book would be characters dealing with the fall out of that decision, the overall story would be so much more engaging.
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The Forger's Daughter by Bradford Marrow is a superb page turner. Well worth the time and the read! Looking forward to the next novel.
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You know how you fall in love with an author and read everything for a while but lose track now that you no longer go to a physical bookstore and wander the aisles, your fingers trailing along the spines, seeing the old favorites, and excitedly spying new title next to it. I have lost track of Bradford Morrow, reading his first five books and so when I saw his name, I remembered Trinity Fields and Giovanni’s Gift and was excited to read a new book from someone who never failed me yet.

The Forger’s Daughter is a sequel to a book I have not read, The Forgers that did not impede my understanding or enjoyment of the story. The narrative shifts between Will and Meghan, a married couple with two children, Nicole and Maisie. He is a reformed forger and currently a printer. She is a bookseller. When Will is extorted into helping a nemesis from his past with a forgery, his daughter Nicole helps. She is the forger’s daughter of the title. She has a minder of her own.

The Forger’s Daughter is a mix of family drama and thriller. The dynamics between Will, Meghan, and the children shifts and changes and clearly there is a big secret that Meghan does not know so I presume there will be another novel, perhaps one that highlights Nicole.

But I remember his earlier works with such fondness and The Forger’s Daughter does not match them. For some reason, although he is working with a murderous man who chopped off some of his fingers years ago, there is no real sense of menace, perhaps it’s because he brings his daughter along. I know she insists against his better judgment, but a parent can refuse a child’s help.

And yes, there are real moments of jeopardy, but it seems certain that they will be fine. There are also threads left hanging, I hope they will be picked up in the next book.

The Forger’s Daughter will be released on September 4th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.
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This is a highbrow version of the "one-last-heist" plot line common to crime fiction. But this is no hackneyed story line, thanks to the author's expertise in antiquarian books. Rather than pulling off a final bank job, the main character, Will, (a reformed forger of rare books) is coerced into creating his crowning "facsimile" for fraudulent purposes.

I liked Will's family: his wife Meghan, and their daughters Nicole, an art student in New York, and Maisie, a pre-teen. They live the lives of well-off academics, filled with classical music, rare wines, and really, really expensive books.

Having recently read the first book in the series, The Forger, I expected to glide through this narrative without any confusion. My reading dream state was frequently interrupted, however, by sudden shifts in POV, both in first person, between Will and his wife. I wonder how much more I would have enjoyed the story had that been handled differently?

Still, I recommend this book. The plot is original, the pace is nimble, and the characters memorable. One thing still haunts me, though: For people who love each other and get along so well, they still manage to keep many deep, tragic secrets from each other. As do we all?

Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press for an advance readers copy.
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“The Forger’s Daughter” is a heist novel set in the overlap of the world of book collection and book forgery.  The family dynamic between Megan and Will, and their daughters Maisie and Nicole is somewhat odd.  Although the family is extraordinarily close, they hide very big, potentially life-shattering secrets from each other.  Much of that secrecy continues all the way through to the end of the story, and the lack of resolution was disturbing.

The highly technical details of antique book production are central to the story, and it will appeal to bibliophiles.  

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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The Forger's Daughter is a very well written bibliomystery full of forgery, hidden motives, secret book collections, and murder, capably written by Bradford Morrow. Due out 8th Sept 2020 from Grove Atlantic on their Mysterious Press imprint, it's 288 pages and will be available in hardcover, audio, and ebook formats.

This book ostensibly follows on from an earlier work with the same characters from 2014, The Forgers, but I found it worked very well as a standalone. The only troubles I had with following the current work was due to the alternating plot narration which often switched mid-chapter without any forewarning. Chapters beginning in Will's voice would suddenly switch mid-stream to Meghan (Will's wife) speaking about her husband. I didn't find the character voices distinct enough that it was easy for me to tell without contextual clues - both are in first person, and they blended together.

Apart from that, the plot moved along at a good clip and I loved the dichotomy of the rarefied and refined world of antiquarian bibliophiles listening to classical music and then rubbing literal elbows with seriously disturbed thugs who threaten violence (and some of whom wouldn't hesitate at murder). The denouement came rather suddenly from a long buildup and, to me, was somehow incomplete, more implied than overt. There were some nice suprise twists at the very end and the entire ending felt like foreshadowing for the next episode.

Quite capably written and entertaining, it compares favorably with other "serious" modern bibliomysteries and reminds me stylistically in a lot of ways of Amanda Cross' wonderful Kate Fansler books - fans of that series will find a lot to like here. Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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Will, a former forger, has served his time in jail and has been a legitimate consultant on rare books for twenty years.  As he and his wife Meghan prepare for time together with their daughters, a scream breaks the silence.  Their youngest daughter Maisie was accosted by a stranger who insisted that she deliver an envelope to her father.  It contains a rare copy of Poe’s Tamerlane.  Several years earlier, Will was attacked by a former associate named Slader, who is now blackmailing him to reproduce the rare book.  

When Will looks at the Tamerlane he sees a challenge.  He remembers the thrill of his days as a forger and the satisfaction of a successful reproduction.  He knows that the only way to get Slader out of their lives and keep his family safe is to complete the copy.  When their older daughter Nicole joins them Will enlists her to help with the project.  While Nicole does not know her father’s entire past history, she is an art student who has learned many of the techniques that Will used in his past career.  As she works with him he is forced to ask her help with more than just the reproduction.  When she senses the possible danger around the family, she becomes protective of her father and a true partner.

The main attraction of this book was the process that Will and Nicole go through to recreate the Tamerlane.  Slader is ever present in the conversations between Will and Meghan and provides a threat throughout the story.  When the project is completed the copy is substituted with the copy for an unsuspecting owner and the original is presented to the public as a newly found copy.  The ending of this book just seems to wind down.  While this was an interesting story and I enjoyed reading it, I would not recommend it to anyone who is looking for a high degree of suspense.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing this book for my review.
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In this sequel to The Forgers we find Will, the protagonist of that book, his wife Meg and daughters living an idealic life, primarily at their cottage house in upstate New York. After having given up his talent for forgery for twenty years, his nemesis is back to coerce Will back into the game under the threat of exposing a previous crime that could cause Will to get locked up for a very long time. Agreeing to do the dirty work of his blackmailer is just the beginning of this story, In this one though, Will's daughter Nicole gets dragged into committing the misdeeds with him as both are accomplished printers, perfect for the task demanded of them. That task is just the beginning of the dominoes that eventually fall and no one is spared involvement.
Although I enjoyed this one, I didn't love it. The switching from Will's POV to Meg's is rough, without an indication it's changing leaving the reader to wonder who's POV they're reading until the time in the section that it's revealed more clearly. The writing, while still excellent didn't sit as well with me as the first book I think due to now having the multiple POV's instead of just Will's. I will say however, I was very invested in the story and finished it in one sitting. If you're at all interested in the world of rare books, book collecting and the art of forgery there's plenty of that to be had here so you might want to give it a try.
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Thank you to both Grove Atlantic as well as for an advanced copy of this novel in exchange of an honest review of the novel.

I have not read anything by Bradford Morrow prior to The Forger's Daughter, but the blurbs around this novel sounded interesting.  The start of the novel begins with a scream from Maisie, one of two daughters of Will and Meg, who are at their cottage in the countryside enjoying a quiet evening otherwise.  Maisie had fallen off her bike after being spooked by a gentleman who asked her to deliver to her father a copy of an old manuscript - an original first copy of Edgar Allan Poe's the Tamerlane.  From that point, the story progresses into how Will and a man named Slader, both forgers of documents, have an unseedy past between them.  It continues with Will and his older daughter, Nicole, making a forged copy of the Tamerlane that will be sold at auction to the highest bidder.  Although Will has some regrets in involving Nicole into the forgery of The Tamerlane, he enjoys her help in the making of the forged document.  And, hence, the title of this book.

I overall enjoyed this novel.  The idea of people really getting into old editions of books and documents, and then trying to counterfeit them was intriguing to me.  Although this was fine as a stand-alone novel for me, I do wish that I had previously read The Forgers, which, I believe, goes more in-depth with the past between Will and Slader.  

In any event, this novel was interesting and I now have a new author to follow.
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This is a dense book, the second in a series. It might have been easier to understand the characters if I had read The Forger first. I felt like I have to play catch up to understand who is who. The voices of the man and woman aren't as distinct as could be, which made following the story a bit tough.
It is a complicated story about a former forger and his daughter steps in to help.

The prose has some dated eloquence, which is pretty, in places, but seems out of place. 3.5 stars
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ecopy for my Kindle.
This was a good book with lies and deceptions throughout the story,
I read it rather quickly and enjoyed it including  how it ended.  The one fault I had was the use of "gd" word- why must authors use this word?!
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