Object of Virtue by Nicholas B.A. Nicholson

Object of Virtue is an enchanting book about a young antiques dealer who has a moral dilemma. Sasha, a Russian prince who is now an American and lives in New York, works for a famous firm of auctioneers. When he is given the chance to sell a Faberge figurine of Sneroguchka (the Snow Maiden)he undertakes the task with alacrity because he needs an object to beat Christie's. They are selling a necklace once owned by Empress Alexandra. He is pleased to find an object of virtue, i.e. an article in which every separate piece is as near perfect as possible.

Sasha soon finds, however, that members of his family which once owned the figurine, oppose his selling it. His firm soon turns against him and he has to face a choice between wealth and an easy life or finding out the truth.

Nicholas B.A. Nicholson intertwines the story of Sasha's Russian family with his modern life in New York very well, providing an interesting account of an aristocratic family affected by the Revolution and the Second World War. Sasha's trip to Russia is especially fascinating.

Sasha and his cousin, Victoria, are extremely likeable characters. Victoria, with her anti-PC attitudes is great fun, although I wasn't keen on her wearing fur myself!
(Maybe it was vintage?) Sasha is fairly serious so Victoria provided a lighter touch.

I enjoyed this book partly because I liked reading about the wealthy in New York. These people have Sevres dinner services and wear Dior and Givenchy at the drop of a hat! They attend the Nobility Ball and generally live the 'life of Riley'.

It would be interesting to see if people who are annoyed by books about the rich still like the characters?

I give this one five stars!


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