Have you ever been so intrigued by a painting that you long to step inside? Then pick up Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s The Frame-Up, which takes readers into the surprising interior world of the paintings at the Beaverbrook Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada.
Twelve-year-old Sargent Singer is a talented young artist, and his estranged father, the gallery’s director, invites Sargent to spend the summer with him. At the Beaverbrook Gallery, Sargent is captivated by the 1915 portrait of a luminous, 13-year-old girl named Mona Dunn. But one day, he catches Mona in a new pose—sticking her tongue out at some rowdy boys— and his world turns upside down.
Sargent longs to get to know Mona and her secret life inside the painting. The two begin speaking and soon become close friends, spending time together both inside and outside of the frame Mona calls home. As Sargent learns more about the gallery, the mystery deepens, with shady characters emerging. The gallery begins to struggle financially, and Sargent’s father pins his hopes on a wealthy donor, but Sargent and Mona both suspect the prospective donor is up to no good, and soon they join forces to investigate. They discover that the paintings are in peril, and, worst of all, Sargent will leave at summer’s end. And while he will grow up, Mona will remain frozen in time.
With an endearing ending sure to surprise readers, The Frame-Up is an inventive and intelligent novel that will charm art lovers and neophytes alike.