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432pages. poche. Broché.
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The Suvery Gallery in Paris was housed in an impressive building, an elegant eighteenth-century hotel particulier on the Faubourg St. Honore. Collectors came there by appointment, through the enormous bronze doors into the courtyard. Straight ahead was the main gallery, to the left the offices of Simon de Suvery, the owner. And to the right was his daughter's addition to the gallery, the contemporary wing. Behind the house was a large elegant garden filled with sculptures, mainly Rodins. Simon de Suvery had been there for more than forty years. His father, Antoine, had been one of the most important collectors in Europe, and Simon had been a scholar of Renaissance paintings and Dutch masters before opening the gallery. Now he was consulted by museums all over Europe, held in awe by private collectors, and admired although often feared by all who knew him.
Simon de Suvery was a daunting figure, tall, powerfully built, with stern features and dark eyes that pierced through you right to your soul. Simon had been in no hurry to get married. In his youth, he was too busy establishing his business to waste time on romance. At forty he had married the daughter of an important American collector. It had been a successful and happy union. Marjorie de Suvery had never involved herself directly in the gallery, which was well established before Simon married her. She was fascinated by it, and admired the work he showed. She loved him profoundly and had taken a passionate interest in everything he did. Marjorie had been an artist but never felt comfortable showing her work. She did genteel landscapes and portraits, and often gave them as gifts to friends. In truth, Simon had been affected but never impressed by her work. He was ruthless in his choices, merciless in his decisions for the gallery. He had a will of iron, a mind as sharp as a diamond, a keen business sense, and buried far, far beneath the surface, well concealed at all times, was a kind heart. Or so Marjorie said. Though not everyone believed her. He was fair to his employees, honest with his clients, and relentless in his pursuit of whatever he felt the gallery should have. Sometimes it took him years to acquire a particular painting or sculpture, but he never rested until it was his. He had pursued his wife, before their marriage, in much the same way. And once he had her, he kept her as a treasure--mostly to himself. He only socialized when he felt he had to, entertaining clients in one wing of the house.
They decided to have children late in their marriage. In fact it was Simon's decision, and they waited ten years to have a child. Knowing how Marjorie longed for children, Simon had finally acceded to her wishes, and was only mildly disappointed when Marjorie gave birth to a daughter and not a son. Simon was fifty when Sasha was born, and Marjorie thirty-nine. Sasha instantly became the love of her mother's life. They were constantly together. Marjorie spent hours with her, chortling and cooing, playing with her in the garden. She nearly went into mourning when Sasha began school, and they had to be apart. She was a beautiful and loving child. Sasha was an interesting blend of her parents. She had her father's dark looks and her mother's ethereal softness. Marjorie was an angelic-looking blonde with blue eyes, and looked like a madonna in an Italian painting. Sasha had delicate features like her mother, dark hair and eyes like her father, but unlike both her parents, Sasha was fragile and small. Her father used to tease her benevolently and say that she looked like a miniature of a child. But there was nothing small about Sasha's soul. She had the strength and iron will of her father, the warmth and gentle kindness of her mother, and the directness she learned early on from her father. She was four or five before he took serious notice of her, and once he did, all he spoke to her about was art. In his spare time, he would wander through the gallery with her, identifying paintings and masters, showing her their work in art books, and he expected her to repeat their names and even spell them, once she was old enough to write. Rather than rebelling, she drank it all in, and retained every shred of information her father imparted. He was very proud of her. And ever more in love with his wife, who became ill three years after Sasha was born.
Marjorie's illness was a mystery at first, and had all their doctors stumped. Simon secretly believed it was psychosomatic. He had no patience with illness or weakness, and thought that anything physical could be mastered and overcome. But rather than overcome it, Marjorie became weaker with time. It was a full year before they got a diagnosis in London, and a confirmation in New York. She had a rare degenerative disease that was attacking her nerves and muscles, and ultimately would cripple her lungs and heart. Simon chose not to accept the prognosis, and Marjorie was valiant about it, complaining little, doing whatever she could for as long as she was able, spending as much time as she had the strength for with her husband and daughter, and resting as much as possible in between. The disease never snuffed out her spirit, but eventually, as predicted, her body succumbed. She was bedridden by the time Sasha was seven, and died shortly after she turned nine. Despite all the doctors had told him, Simon was stunned. And so was Sasha. Neither of her parents had prepared Sasha for her mother's death. Sasha and Simon had both grown accustomed to Marjorie being interested in all they did, and participating in their lives, even while in bed. The sudden realization that she had disappeared from their world hit them both like a bomb, and fused Sasha and her father closer together than they had ever been. Other than the gallery, Sasha then became the focus of Simon's life.
Sasha grew up eating, drinking, sleeping, loving art. It was all she knew, all she did, and all she loved, other than her father. She was as devoted to him as he was to her. Even as a child, she knew as much about the gallery, and its complicated and intriguing workings, as any of his employees. And sometimes he thought, even as a young girl, she was smarter about it, and far more creative than anyone he employed. The only thing that annoyed him, and he made no bones about it, was her ever increasing passion for modern and contemporary art. Contemporary work irritated him particularly, and he never hesitated to call it junk, privately or otherwise. He loved and respected the Great Masters, and nothing else.
As her father had before her, Sasha attended the Sorbonne, and got a "license," a master's degree, in the history of art. And as she had promised her mother she would, she earned her PhD at Columbia in New York. Then she spent two years working as an intern at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which rounded out her education. During that time, she returned frequently to Paris, sometimes just for a weekend, and Simon visited her as often as possible in New York. It gave him an excuse to visit his clients, as well as museums and collectors in the States. All he really wanted to do was see Sasha, and he used any excuse to do so. What he wanted more than anything else was for Sasha to come home. He was irritable and impatient during her years in New York.
The one thing Simon had never expected was the appearance of Arthur Boardman in Sasha's life. She met him the first week of her doctoral studies at Columbia. She was twenty-two at the time, and married him, despite her father's grumbling protests, within six months. At first, Simon was horrified at her marrying so young, and the only thing that mollified him, and made him consent to the marriage, was that Arthur assured his father-in-law that when Sasha was finished her studies and apprenticeship in New York, he would move to Paris with her and live there. Simon nearly made him sign it in blood. But even he couldn't resist seeing Sasha as happy as she was. Simon finally conceded that Arthur Boardman was a good man, and the right one for her.
Arthur was thirty-two, ten years older than Sasha. He had gone to Princeton, and had an MBA from Harvard. He had a respectable position in a Wall Street investment bank, which conveniently had a Paris office. Early on in their marriage, he began lobbying to run it. Within a year, their son Xavier was born. Two years later, Tatianna arrived. In spite of that, Sasha never missed a beat with her studies. Miraculously, both her babies managed to arrive in the summer, right after she finished her classes. She hired a nanny to help her with them while she was in school and working at the museum. She had learned how to keep many balls in the air, while watching her father run the gallery when she was a child. She loved her busy life, and adored Arthur and her two children. And although Simon was a somewhat hesitant grandfather at first, he warmed to it quickly. They were enchanting children.
Sasha spent every spare moment with them she could, singing the same songs and playing the same nursery games her mother had played with her. In fact, Tatianna looked so much like her maternal grandmother that it unnerved Simon at first, but as Tatianna grew older, he loved just sitting and watching her, and thinking of his late wife. It was like seeing her reborn as a little girl.
True to his word, Arthur moved the entire family to Paris when Sasha finished her two-year internship at the Met in New York. The investment bank was literally giving him the Paris office to run, at thirty-six, and had full confidence in him, as did Sasha. She was going to be even busier there than she had been in New York, where she'd been working only part time at the museum, and spent the rest of her time caring for her children. In Paris, she was going to work at the gallery with her father. She was ready for it now. He had agreed to let her leave by three o'clock every day, so she could be with her children. And...
When two hopelessly mismatched people share a love for art, a passion for each other and a city like Paris , nothing is truly impossible...or is it?
Sasha is a traditionalist - now widowed, she knows she was married to the most wonderful man in the world.Liam is an artist, half-in and half-out of a marriage that his own impossibly impulsive behaviour has helped tear apart. But while Sasha has been methodically building her father's Parisian art gallery into an intercontinental success story, Liam has been growing into one of the most original and striking young painters of his time. So while the two are utterly unalike, the miracle of art brings them together.
Sasha tries to keep Liam hidden from her grown children and well-heeled clientele as she commutes between New York and Paris.Liam tries to bring out the wild streak that Sasha barely knows she has. Then a family tragedy suddenly alters Liam's life,forcing a choice and a sacrifice that neither one of them could have expected.Giving up now might just be the most impossible thing of all...
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