28 September 2023

The London Forgery | Excerpt + Giveaway

JustRead Publicity Tours


1973. Art historian Fabiola Bennett sees herself as a prudently observant deer who becomes a daring and even mischievous lioness if the situation calls for it. And that’s exactly what’s required when greedy criminals steal, forge, and tamper with treasured artwork. When the crooks add murder to their list of crimes, the chaos is complete.

A mysterious note is delivered anonymously at the door of the National Gallery in London, and the director immediately calls Fabiola’s office in Oslo and pleads with her to come without delay. The message is confusing, but it seems one of her favorite eighteenth-century portraits is in trouble.

Fabiola hops on the first plane and meets up with her vibrant side-kick Pippa Yates and the ever-loyal Detective Inspector Cary Green from New Scotland Yard. But she is not naïve enough to think untangling the purpose and meaning of the mysterious note will be as simple as a walk in Hyde Park. These things never are.

1750. Newly married Robert and Frances Andrews, members of the landed gentry of Suffolk, England, hire young and talented Thomas Gainsborough to paint their wedding portrait. Their desire is a lovely conversation piece showing their wealth and class, an artwork to remember them by for generations to come.

Little do they know the gifted artist portrays their personalities exactly how he perceives them, and the artistic symbolism is not as flattering as they’d hoped for. Even the looming clouds in the distance promise a troublesome future.

This is the first book in a new dual timeline series by Heidi Eljarbo—an intriguing spin-off from the much-loved Soli Hansen Mysteries.

Fans of Lucinda Riley, Rhys Bowen, Kathleen McGurl, Kate Morton, and Katherine Neville will love this cozy historical art mystery, which takes the readers back to the nostalgia of the groovy seventies and the classical Georgian era of the eighteenth century.

Publisher: Independently published
Release Date: August 29, 2023


Sudbury, Suffolk, England, 1749

IT WAS A COMMON belief among those interested in art that painters sometimes worked on their compositions in what the French called en plein air. Perhaps this had gone on for centuries. Artists stood outside in the fresh air and created their masterpieces because they loved painting landscapes.

Like I do...

Thomas took a step back and squinted at his unfinished artwork then held out his brush. Moving his thumb up and down the handle, he measured the size of the group of ash trees beyond the meadow. Sketching drafts and detailed studies on paper was a matter of course, but taking a tin box filled with small jars of mixed clay pigments and a fresh canvas and going outdoors to paint made his brushstrokes come alive. A quick study outside helped him capture the heart of his chosen view. Then he’d take the study back to his studio and use it as a reference for larger paintings.

Of course, the unpredictable English weather could suddenly turn and soak him in the middle of a brushstroke. He’d gotten a drenching more than once when he’d been so immersed in the process, he’d forgotten to heed the sky’s warning signs. And every time he stepped across the threshold at home, wet to the bone, his lovely Margaret would scold him.

“You’ll catch your death one of these days,” she’d say with a silly frown on her pretty face. “Don’t you dare die on me, Thomas Gainsborough. I’m determined to love you for a long, long time.”


Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.

Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.

After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, fifteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.

Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.

Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.

Connect with Heidi by visiting heidieljarbo.com to follow her on social media and sign up for email updates.


(2) winners will win a print copy of The London Forgery, an eBook Of Darkness and Light and a $10 Amazon gift card!

Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight September 26, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on October 3, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. No shipping restrictions. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.



  1. I look forward to reading this.

  2. This looks like a fantastic novel. Thanks for hosting.

  3. thanks for sharing an excerpt

  4. I like the peek into the life of the artist, Thomas Gainsborough.