“Attribution” by Linda Moore


Linda Moore
She Writes Press (2022)
ISBN: 978-1647422530
Reviewed by Terri Stepek for Reader Views (12/22)

Cate Adamson is a doctoral student of Art History. She has wild aspirations, a midwestern naivete, and the ghost of her younger brother fighting for headspace. She’s a good scholar and researcher, but she’s swimming upstream with an advising professor who sees no future for women as art historians. He is her major stumbling block, shooting down each concept she presents to him for possible thesis material. So, it’s no surprise when she hesitates to consult him after stumbling upon a possibly unknown masterwork.

Author Linda Moore takes the reader into a world many of us know little about. Art history? Seriously? That’s one of those one-semester courses you’re forced to take in college, where the student only retains the information long enough to pass the course and move on to more interesting areas. The author may give you a different view with “Attribution.”

With graceful yet delicate prose, Ms. Moore provides more than a glimpse into the world of major works of art, restoration, and the foundations needed to attribute a work of art to a particular painter. This is brilliantly done through the eyes of Cate as she attempts to navigate the surprisingly treacherous waters of Spain’s art world searching for clues about her enigmatic painting. Cate does not accomplish this with stunning finesse, but her intelligence does allow her to bumble her way through. To a certain point.

I struggled with Cate’s character at first, finding her wide-eyed and reactionary. Her decisions lacked foresight and made it difficult for me to relate with her. This made the first portion of the book a little slow for me, and I considered just putting it aside. However, once the charismatic Antonio entered the picture, I found myself completely engrossed. The duo seemed to light a spark in this work, as they did in each other, and I became fascinated to watch Cate emerge from her cocoon of self-doubt.

The bullying, the name-calling didn’t faze her, not anymore.  She sat frozen, struggling to process the revelations that poured out like hot lava, too dangerous to touch and too perilous to ignore.

“Attribution” is a portrait of struggle. Cate’s midwestern ideals, and her moral compass, put her at odds with the respected voices of the professionals. She finds herself torn with decisions that will affect not just the art world, but those she loves. Her personal and professional conflicts are difficult, but the outcome is worth the upheaval. One does not need to be an art lover to enjoy this bright beam of hope. Readers who enjoy novels with engaging characters who grow through their struggles, and those who enjoy historical fiction, will find “Attribution” well worth their time.

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