The Objects of Her Affection by Sonya Cobb

Here’s a debut novel for people who liked The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and the TV series Breaking Bad. As in The Goldfinch, The Objects of Her Affection is set in the world of art and priceless antiques, and as in Breaking Bad, the main character turns to illegal activity to get money for her family. The story starts in 2005 and ends in 2007. Main character Sophie is married to Brian, a curator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. They have two pre-school children, Lucy and Elliot. Sophie is trying to re-launch her freelance computer coding business especially since they could use the money to buy a house. Sophie grew up with distant and often absent parents so she is eager to have a stable home life. Then Sophie finds her dream house—an old historic row house. She is able to get an adjustable rate mortgage which seemed like a good idea but ends up costing much more than she anticipated. Readers who are parents or who have struggled with finances will appreciate Sophie’s dilemma as she balances her work, her children, and the labyrinth mortgage business. Then Sophie takes a silver mirror from a jumble of uncatalogued storage items outside of Brian’s office. She did not mean to take it, but doesn’t know what to do about it. On a trip to New York, Sophie meets Harry at an upscale antiques shop. She decides to sell the mirror to Harry and use the money for the mortgage and family expenses. The story, which up to this point has been light and humorous, now takes on a suspenseful tone. Harry has a secret buyer who is eager for more artifacts from Sophie, and Harry pressures her to steal more. Sophie knows it is wrong but at the same time likes the feeling that she gets when she pulls it off. But when Sophie steals a priceless bowl, the museum notices and calls in the FBI. Instead of helping her family, Sophie’s dream of a house and loving family is rapidly collapsing. Sophie has to stay one step ahead of the FBI and take risks in order to find out who is buying the artifacts that she stole and get them back to the museum as well as win back the trust of her husband and keep her family together.

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