Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Catch Me If You Can meets Patricia Highsmith in this electrifying pause resister of greed and obsession, survival and self-invention that is a piercing character study of one unforgettable female con artist.

"Becky Farwell is one of the most wickedly compelling characters I've read in ages - a Machiavellian marvel, a modern Becky Sharp, a character to root for despite your better judgment - and her story, both topical and timeless, will knock you off your feet." (Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers

At the end of the 1990s, with the art market finally recovered from its disastrous collapse, Miss Rebecca Farwell has made a killing at Christie's in New York City, selling a portion of her extraordinary art collection for a rumored 900 percent profit. Dressed in couture YSL, drinking the finest champagne at trendy Balthazar, Reba, as she's known, is the picture of a wealthy art collector. To some, the elusive Miss Farwell is a shark with outstanding business acumen. To others, she's a heartless capitalist whose only interest in art is how much she can make.

But a thousand miles from the Big Apple, in the small town of Pierson, Illinois, Miss Farwell is someone else entirely - a quiet single woman known as Becky who still lives in her family's farmhouse, wears sensible shoes, and works tirelessly as the town's treasurer and controller. No one understands the ins and outs of Pierson's accounts better than Becky; she's the last one in the office every night, crunching the numbers. Somehow, her neighbors marvel, she always finds a way to get the struggling town just a little more money. 

What Pierson doesn't see - and can never discover - is that much of that money is shifted into a separate account that she controls, "borrowed" funds used to finance her art habit. Though she quietly repays Pierson when she can, the business of art is cutthroat and unpredictable. But as Reba Farwell's deals get bigger and bigger, Becky Farwell's debt to Pierson spirals out of control. How long can the talented Miss Farwell continue to pull off her double life?  

©2020 Emily Gray Tedrowe (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Talented Miss Farwell

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

tense, taut and believable

you wanted to listen and wanted to stop.
dissimilar enough to Ripley but similar in her amoral, manipulative shifting. I loved it. I'll read more of the impressive Ms Tedrowe.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael
  • Michael
  • 09-12-20

Fascinating premise, boring book

I picked this up since it was on the NYtimes' best books of 2020 list -- and for me, it sits somewhere between disappointing and just ok. My main complaint about this book is that it takes a fascinating premise (a small town comptroller concocts a scheme to funnel city revenue into a personal account for buying and selling art) and unfortunately executes it with characters who are very thinly drawn, making it difficult for the reader to really connect with the actions that they take. None of the characters really seem to develop, so while things happen to them, everyone seems to stay in a state of stasis.

Some examples:
Becky/Reba (the main character), never seems to develop a relationship with anyone besides her best friend, and a kind of mentor who teaches her about the art world, despite the book spanning a period of nearly 40 years.

Becky takes on another name "Reba" among her art collecting friends -- however, its never explained how and why she takes on that name.

As a quasi-thriller, you'd think that Becky would have close calls that show how tenuous her scheme could be, but this hardly ever happens -- and the end of the scheme just seems to be some sort of happy accident.

The book uses cues from the real world in order to drive some of the plot (recessions in the 80's and 90's, 9/11 terrorist attack, ect...), but they, like other plot points, sort of just happen, and then move on.

I would have never thought that a thriller with so much potential could have turned out to be so BORING.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J.Hamp
  • J.Hamp
  • 16-10-20

Narrator OMG

I stopped after five mins. Her was so monotone and bored I don't know if she liked the book. I think I will have to read this one.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 28-11-20

a little long

Parts about the art in the second half could have been eliminated. otherwise good

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for JGates
  • JGates
  • 18-11-20

Kept me hanging on

I just kept waiting for her to get caught. Loved this book. The narrator was just ok, but really now that I think about it, her droning voice was kind of perfect for the main character who seems a little devoid of human emotion. Recommend.