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A Cup of Lightby Nicole Mones
When Lia Frank travels to China to evaluate a cache of rare antique porcelain she enters an exotic world full of danger, mystery, and romance. I was so entranced by the story I actually went to see a real "chicken cup" at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.
Synopses & Reviews
Hailed as “luminous” by The New York Times Book Review, Nicole Mones' bestselling debut novel, Lost in Translation, dazzled critics with a sensuous tale of adventure and awakening set in modern China.
A Cup of Light returns to that rich, exotic landscape in an enthralling saga of precious works of art–and the human lives illuminated by them. Written with exquisite grace, A Cup of Light is an intoxicating blend of romance and intrigue, complete with a heroine whose voice is irresistible to the last page.
As an appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways. . .coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery. . .drawn into an unfolding saga of artists and thieves, intrigue and longing.
Lia was told the collection was impressive–twenty spectacular pots. Instead, in a vast room in a gated home in Beijing, Lia finds herself surrounded by the impossible: forty crates and eight hundred works of astounding beauty, with pieces reaching back centuries and perhaps even into the royal residence of the Forbidden City. Now Lia must evaluate each fragile pot, pairing each brushstroke and each nearly invisible imperfection with the database in her mind. Her job is to answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries–part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art?
As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. A smuggler will risk his life for a chance to spirit these imperial antiquities out of China. A dealer in Hong Kong awaits, while a buyer in America is driven by a longing no possession will ever fulfill. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama–a love affair that could alter the course of her life...
From the Hardcover edition.
"Mones's second novel...twins a conventional romance with an unconventional and intriguing art world mystery....[Mones] generates real suspense moving cinematically from character to character and place to place all the while deftly sketching the intricacies of Chinese porcelain and the world of imitators and smugglers that surround it." Publishers Weekly
"Intrepid yet insecure, passionate yet proud, Lia triumphs in the seductively exotic world of international intrigue, one which Mones conveys with depth and subtlety." Carol Haggas, Booklist
"[A] beguiling if overbusy tale....Intelligent and consistently interesting, with an engagingly original cast, subject, and themes — but the story itself often lags." Kirkus Reviews
"A page-turner that leads us into a closed, sometimes clandestine world....Mones' talent for intrigue runneth over." The Dallas Morning News
"A delightful novel." The Los Angeles Times
"Magnetic storytelling...with writing that is both spare and lyrical." The Seattle Times
"Mysterious, suspenseful, and...written with exquisite grace." The Portland Tribune (Oregon)
"Unfortunately, Mones reveals more about porcelain pots than human nature; any tension revolves around the dangers of the black market venture....Hints at possibly rich themes are scattered throughout this tedious novel, but they are never developed." Library Journal
As an American appraiser of fine Chinese porcelain, Lia Frank holds fragile beauty in her hands, examines priceless treasure with a magnifying lens. But when Lia looks in the mirror, she sees the flaws in herself, a woman wary of love, cut off from the world around her. Still, when she is sent to Beijing to authenticate a collection of rare pieces, Lia will find herself changing in surprising ways…coming alive in the shadow of an astounding mystery.
As Lia evaluates each fragile pot, she must answer questions that will reverberate through dozens of lives: Where did these works of art come from? Are they truly authentic? Or are they impossibly beautiful forgeries--part of the perilous underworld of Chinese art? As Lia examines her treasure, a breathtaking mystery unravels around her. And with political intrigue intruding on her world of provenance and beauty, Lia is drawn into another, more personal drama--a love affair that could alter the course of her life.
For expert American appraiser Lia Frank, the assignment is a dream come true: Fly to Beijing and appraise a stunning cache of rare imperial porcelain. Adored by emperors, these masterpieces are living embodiments of the past, with an irresistible pull on collectors, tycoons, master forgers, and, above all, the smugglers who risk capture and instant execution in the hopes of unimaginable wealth. All of them yearn for what the art can bring--wealth, power, a place in the world. Lia's whole life has been shaped by her passion for this art. Knowledge of her own life, however, is more elusive. As she treads dangerously in a culture that looks at foreigners with wary eyes, she moves slowly toward a very different kind of desire--and toward a life of her own.
About the Author
Nicole Mones was awarded the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for her first novel, Lost in Translation, which was also named a New York Times Notable Book. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.
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