A satire set in the London art world in which an unlucky-in-love young woman finds herself pursued by parties who would do anything to possess her valuable painting: an exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, an unscrupulous art dealer.
The book may on occasion be silly and over-the-top, even for a satire. But Ms. Rothschild writes with such exuberance and spins such a propulsive yarn that you happily accept these excesses as part of the package, the same way you happily accept the frippery of Elton John.
Rothschild’s first novel, The Improbability of Love, is an exuberant, uneven satire of consumption and corruption in the London art world. This is fiction aimed at readers who find Downton Abbey too bleakly realistic.
Rothschild knows her subject firsthand; she comes from one of the world’s wealthiest families and has spent decades moving in the rarefied circles depicted here. That gives the novel its insidery spark and smooths over some of her sloppier narrative tricks.