The final act of Juliette Willoughby A novel

Ellery Lloyd

Book - 2024

Fifty years after runaway heiress artist Juliette Willoughby perished in an accidental studio fire in Paris, two Cambridge art history students stumble across proof that the fire was no accident, which threatens the very foundation of Juliette's aristocratic family and revives rumors of the infamous curse that has haunted them for generations.

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FICTION/Lloyd Ellery
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Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor New Shelf FICTION/Lloyd Ellery (NEW SHELF) Due Aug 5, 2024
Thrillers (Fiction)
Historical fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
Suspense fiction
New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2024]
Main Author
Ellery Lloyd (author)
First edition
Physical Description
321 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Following The Club (2022), writing duo Lloyd pivots to a historical novel with three different time lines revolving around the mysterious artist Juliette Willoughby. Caroline Cooper and Patrick Lambert are art-history students at Cambridge in the 1990s, both with an interest in surrealism. Caroline wants to study Juliette's art, especially since Juliette's most famous painting is lost to time. Born into a wealthy family, Juliette escaped London in the 1930s after a harrowing experience in an asylum. But her paintings were lost when she and her lover died in a tragic fire. Fortunately, Patrick is inducted into the Osiris Society, a dining club that includes Juliette's relatives, and Caroline discovers Juliette's journal and passport in a bequest to the college's research library. Armed with these items, Caroline and Patrick begin their search for the fabled painting--and they fall in love along the way. In the present, though, Patrick is the focus of a tense murder investigation, leading to an intriguing conclusion. This cinematic and compelling book will appeal to fans of suspense that is enhanced by intellectual history.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Bestselling husband-and-wife duo Paul Vlitos and Collette Lyons, writing as Lloyd, follow up The Club with an overstuffed art world mystery. In the middle of giving a press conference about the lucrative sale of a long-lost painting by British surrealist Juliette Willoughby, Dubai gallery owner Patrick Lambert is arrested for murder. The action then flashes back to 1991, when Patrick met his wife, Caroline, at Cambridge, and the pair stumbled on the late Willoughby's journal in an unsorted box of memorabilia on campus. The journal's contents appear to shed new light on Willoughby's 1938 death in a fire, insinuating that someone close to her may have killed her as part of a long-running vendetta. Other mysteries--including the disappearance of Patrick and Caroline's classmate at Cambridge and a Willoughby servant who went missing in the '30s--crowd the narrative. Though the various plot strands eventually tie back to the murder accusation that kicks things off, many readers will find that they're no longer invested in finding out who Patrick may have killed, and why. A too-convenient payoff doesn't help matters. This is a letdown. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, CAA. (June)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

Captivated by a lost surrealist painting, a young woman begs, borrows, and steals to bring it--and its artist--to light. In 1938, a young British expatriate, Juliette Willoughby, exhibited her only painting at the famous International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris for a single night, stirring much interest before mysteriously withdrawing it from the exhibit; when she and her artist lover perished in a fire shortly thereafter, the painting and its secrets were presumed lost. In 1991, Caroline Cooper, a young art history student at Cambridge, decides to write her master's thesis on sphinxes in surrealist art; at the urging of her mentor, she agrees to include Juliette Willoughby's "Self-Portrait as Sphinx"--if she can find enough material to explore, considering that the painting was presumably lost in the fire that also killed its artist. In the present day, Caroline, now a world-famous expert on Juliette Willoughby's painting, is on stage in Dubai to authenticate that same lost painting, recently auctioned for 42 million pounds. Lloyd's novel interweaves the stories of these three distinct time periods to create an elegant tapestry--and a novel of love, suspense, family secrets, Egyptology, surrealism, and corruption. Above all, it is a novel of women. At the heart of Juliette's story, and of Caroline's story, lie some pointed questions: Why is it only the men who are remembered as great artists, as great academics? What would it look like to center a woman's story within the typically masculine worlds of art and auction? Some may be put off by the constant switching among timelines and narrators, and the somewhat sensational sideline of the Dubai section, but for those readers with the patience to peel back the layers, the novel will not disappoint. A must for fans of Kate Morton. A delightful puzzle box of a novel. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.