Plot Summary

What if you noticed a mislabeled painting, not at a museum, but at an auction house where you could pick it up for a fraction of its value? And, what if everyone else had somehow missed it?

When Lee Sheridan, a private art dealer, finds a small portrait of a young girl, she knows there is something special about it. And, when she starts asking questions, stunning revelations unfold. Finding Rembrandt takes her on a treasure hunt in which she’ll have to dig up the past, confront powerful rivals determined to grab whatever it is she’s discovered, and finally, overcome the greatest hurdle of all—her own fear—to claim the prize.

Through historical research, artistic clues, and scientific analysis, she starts to peel back the layers behind the girl’s smile, and the reader is drawn into a richly textured past, retracing the story of the painting, from its unassuming and unheralded appearance at a low level sale at New York’s top auction house, back to its creation.

Chapters alternate between present discoveries and flashbacks to various points in the painting’s history – Boston in 1869, Salem and then Amsterdam in 1768, Rembrandt’s workshop in 1661, and finally, to 1647 when it was painted—where information about its long life, its journey, alteration, creation, and, finally, the young woman who inspired it is revealed.

The painting in Finding Rembrandt is an invention, but Rembrandt, of course, and the young girl he chose to paint repeatedly, are not. Little is known about her, and full creative advantage has been taken in creating a detailed history where there was once only an enigma. As she passes through the lives of characters from the 17th century to the present—painters, dealers, swindlers and tycoons—only the reader realizes how nothing more than a thin thread of fate and a picture of a girl tie them together.

Mysteries surrounding works of art are always alluring, and readers interested in the work and lives of great artists will find themselves engrossed in details on methods of painting, authentication, restoration, and the lost memories of a subject unable to speak for herself.

Finding Rembrandt is an upmarket suspense novel that journeys between the present and the past, weaving a web of history, mystery, and discovery as the secrets behind the portrait are finally uncovered. It will appeal to readers of Tracy Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and others in the list of novels about art, artists and the untold stories that sometimes hide behind the canvas.