Cover Image: The Talented Miss Farwell

The Talented Miss Farwell

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Member Reviews

I found this story quite interesting. Rebecca learns at an early age that she’s going to need to be resilient if she’s going to persevere. She finds she has the ability to spot opportunities and parlay them into even bigger ones. She learns to navigate the world of high end art dealing. In the process she has to navigate extreme highs and lows that vacillate from buying designer clothing and accessories to facing eviction and bankruptcy. The biggest problem is that she’s embezzling funds to finance these endeavors. She uses many of her gains to quietly finance things she thinks will better the quality of life for loved ones and the community at large but will it be enough???  

All her plans seem fail proof but for how long???

I enjoyed the story overall but did find the specifics of art dealings to be a little too specific for my liking (and I actually am an avid art lover). Rebecca’s struggles to manage her schemes and come out on top is at times nail biting, the tension is palpable.
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I did not enjoy this book and gave up about 1/3 through.  The premise seemed very promising, but left me bored. 
 Did not finish and would not recommend; highly disappointed.   Thank you for the advance copy though.
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I thought the premise of this book was so interesting, and I was looking forward to reading it. However, the book didn’t live up to its potential.  It reads very slowly, and at some points I felt I was being lectured to.  The writing was good, that’s how I was able to finish it.  She’s such an interesting character but it wasn’t as gripping as it could have been.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Loved the story found it to be a great read. But sometimes it was a little too in-depth into art history and embezzling details, but I skimmed those portions. Overall I enjoyed it.
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This was a unique book that was compelling, fun and well-written.  Most of this novel is about accounting which sounds as if it be boring but instead it was about “borrowing” money to buy and sell high priced art all the while playing for higher and higher priced stakes.  The main character is Becky Farwell who sounds like a villain but you can’t help but feel sympathetic.  Sit back and enjoy her two personalities as she takes you through this wonder read.
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This was an enjoyable read, but for me the pub copy did the book a disservice, as it lacks the cat-and-mouse tension of "Catch Me If You Can" as well as the deep psychological insights of Patricia Highsmith. So I was a little disappointed because it was sold as more of a fast-paced thriller than it actually was, but ultimately it was a good read.

What it is is an interesting story of embezzlement, and one woman's fixation, and the art world.
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i enjoyed the book but was a biut dissapointed that it was fiction. i requested it as thriller/fiction. It was somewhat entertaining but it took me forever to finish
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This was an interesting book and I liked reading that it was loosely based on a real story. Sometimes the art aspect went over my head, but I liked the psychological feelings of the main character. This was a quick easy read. I recieved a free copy of the book from netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed Emily Gray Tedrowe's The Talented Miss Farwell. It's a fascinating read that takes you on a journey through the world of deceit at the highest level. Becky Farwell leads a double life and keeps it up for years. Her story is believable because, like in real life, crazy stuff happens. The story also entices you with a look at buying and selling high end art. Highly recommend. Thank you to Custom House and NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.
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What a fascinating book. I was impressed by the storyline and the characters were all well written and complex. Where there are complex storylines combined with intriguing characters the reader experience is magnified tremendously. To have a book that is well written as well as entertaining is a delight. Reading is about escaping your world and entering another one. Here I forgot about my own life and was immersed in the world created by the author. I would recommend this book.
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Thank you Harper Collins and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC. The premise was very interesting and I enjoyed reading this book. I found Becky to be a ruthless, selfish thief and never found myself caring much about her. The story was good but the execution of it was just ok.
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Becky steals money from her job as her town's treasurer. She uses this money to fund her addiction of buying and selling works of art. The biggest problem I had with Becky is she sees this as a harmless crime but it's not. This went on for over twenty years. Robbing the people of the town out of their pensions, city improvements and wanted community programs. After finishing this book I was disgusted by Becky.
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3.5 would be an accurate rating. Really interesting and realistic concept but I felt like I would have liked this more if I had an art history background.
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Emily Gray Tedrowe’s The Talented Miss Farwell, follows a brilliant young woman as she uses her intelligence and business acumen to make her way in the world.  As a young teen, Becky is able to revamp her father’s failing business into a profitable one.  After high school, she obtains a job with her small Illinois hometown’s financial department, working her way up the ladder with her math skills and work ethic.  So far, so good. 

For reasons not altogether clear, Becky suddenly decides to start a side career as an art collector, embezzling funds from her town job to finance the endeavor.  As with everything she does, she excels in the art world conducting millions of dollars worth of transactions, all the while successfully hiding her crimes.  She does replace some of the money as she goes along, always intending to fully reimburse the town. These activities continue for decades, with a resolution that most readers will probably find fitting. I found it hard to believe that she escaped detection for all those years – town governments in the state where I live are subject to regular audits, which are tied to their bond ratings, and the interest paid on same.  

The character of Becky is very similar to that of the young protagonist in The Queens Gambit, a brilliant but lost soul with close ties to few people, but hell bent on achieving her goals. Although Becky is able to successfully keep up the façades of both of her lives, devoted town employee/successful art collector, I kept asking why does she do it?
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Becky Farwell is a young lady with a talent for math and a bright future.  Shortly after her father falls ill, Becky’s life takes a dramatic turn. Becky/Reba begins to work for her local city government as an accountant. It is while working for the City of Pierson that Becky concocts a plan to embezzle money to finance her obsession with fine art and her double life. Becky/Reba’s love for art takes her on a whirlwind adventure to Chicago and eventually to the high society circles of New York City. 

I enjoyed this book because it really appealed to my accounting background plus Miss. Farwell is one complex and fascinating character.  Most of the time I was rooting for her to do the right thing knowing that she most likely was going to ride this train to the end. The Talented Miss Farwell is a well written, fast paced book that will keep you engaged to the very end. 

Thanks to Harper Collins, NetGalley and The Book Club Girls for the advanced copy of this book.
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Loved it! I read it one sitting. Reba is quite the con artist and the author did an excellent job describing the dichotomy of the drastically different worlds she lived in. Its a rocket ride throught the art world, fraud, the art of the con, small town life, friendship, government and art collection.
I enjoyed reading how she became obsessed with art and the desire to 'have it' at all cost and then she had to buy a place to store it! It was all too fascinating and a very pleasurable read.
I thought the book was well paced and the charcaters were well drawn out and believable. I understand this is based on a true story. I look forward to seeing the documentary on Amazon Prime.

Thank you Custom House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this fascinating book.

jb
https://seniorbooklounge.blogspot.com/
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Excellent novel by a very talented journeywoman writer. See my review of this title in The Washington Independent Review ... Linked below...
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Thank you NetGalley and Harper Collins for this advanced reader's copy.

This book intrigued me by the synopsis.  It started strong for me and then lulled in the middle for a decent finish.

Rebecca Farwell is tasked with running her father's sinking agriculture business in the 80's while she is in high school.  The skills she picked up with a night school accounting class saved the day.  She then applies to work for the town of Pierson as a clerk.  An bill is accidentally double paid and that's when this tale really begins and Reba Farwell is born.

I enjoyed this book, but the middle definitely got too arty for me, but then redeemed itself with more drama and Becky almost getting caught in her completist mission.
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I was pleased to receive an ARC of The Talented Miss Farwell by Emily Gray Tedrowe in exchange for my honest review. Becky Farwell probably did not plan to become a criminal mastermind and embezzle more than three million dollars from her town, but it was just so easy for her to find opportunities to take advantage of errors and to create a workflow that eliminated the normal checks and balances that should prevent such a crime. She found herself trying to live two lives and needing more and more money to keep up the facade. When we first meet Emily, she is a sympathetic character. She is a sophomore in high school who is gifted in math. Even though her teacher takes a special interest in her, she is forced to give up any ambitions of her own in order to take care of her dad and the failing family business. She has to defer any hopes of college in order to start working to bring in an extra income. She seems to be a hardworking girl who has great potential. When her father dies it seems that the whole town wants to rally around her. When she found a discrepancy during her work, she immediately took the information to Human Resources, but her concerns were dismissed. As she moves up at work, she watches her supervisor engage in ethically compromising “business” meetings with customers who have a vested interest in a contract with the city. She is offered bribes. She sees other adults getting sloppy with receipts and paperwork and it becomes a game to her to see what she can get away with on her own. She begins looking for opportunities with the intention of only taking what she really needs and replacing the funds one day. She is so gifted at moving funds around that she is applauded as a hero for being able to save the day and “find money” for so many worthwhile projects (which helps ease her conscience about what projects and services are denied due to the money she siphoned). Admittedly, it is intriguing to watch Becky build her “Activity” fund by creating false invoices and to set up bank accounts to allow her to maintain total control of the flow of debits and credits. At this point, the reader wonders how no one questions the lack of checks and balances and how she is able to get away with this for so long! Parts of this book were interesting to me because my job includes working with/overseeing finances and I needed to know when/how she finally got caught. While I can appreciate the beauty in art, most of the descriptions of the composition and artwork were lost on me. Becky/Reba was obviously addicted to the chance to create herself and become a major player in the art scene. She enjoyed the high of finding emerging artists and completing her collections. She gained more confidence in making the big deals even if she used people and betrayed friendships along the way. She spent a fortune gaining access to the big leagues (which is admittedly, beyond anything I can imagine). Most reviewers would agree that Becky seemed to truly lack empathy on how any of her actions impacted other people. We wanted/needed her to get caught. Even though I knew this was based on a true story, I struggled with the plot including the logistics of the travel and time off work. Was no one suspicious of all the time she missed? How did people not recognize her? How did she not get caught in all her lies? Overall, this book was a solid three for me. Not my favorite, but I did finish. I would be interested in hearing more from the author about the real person and inspiration for this story.
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The Talented Miss Farwell tells the story of a young, talented woman that excels in running the financials of a small town in Illinois. She becomes obsessed with art and figures out a way to finance her art obsession with money “borrowed” from city accounts. In the beginning she is able to pay back the money, but as her obsession grows, her borrowing becomes embezzling and spirals out of control. It is amazing, but this book is based on a true story. I enjoyed the book and the rising suspense on if/how she would be caught. The book seemed to drag in many areas that could have been condensed. Becky/Reba characterization needed some work to get the reader to root for her. Thanks to HarperCollins Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and submit an unbiased review.
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