The Improbability of Love

Art -
Love -
The Improbability of Love is a true masterpiece
Hannah Rothschild
Publication Date
May 21, 2015
Number of Pages
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction 2016; Winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction 2016; Shortlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2016; Waterstones Book of the Month April 2016

Dear Improbability of Love,

As a painting, you’ve served to inspire and compel everyone from rulers and philosophers to social-climbers and thieves. It only makes sense, then, that the book you inspired was one that gripped me to the end.

I cried. I’ll admit it. And I was so frustrated with some of the characters that I would have thrown my iPad mini across the room if I didn’t think it would break (fortunately better judgement prevailed and I tossed it onto my duvet instead. What a save, right?). And I laughed (a lot). I told all of my roommates about you as I tried to put into words the window you’d opened into the art world for me, and how the characters you’d come into contact with mirrored my life in a variety of ways.

You know how you go into a bookstore hoping to find that book? The one that will engross you so completely and include everything you want to read, and more? The one you can’t stop thinking about…that’s what this book about you and Annie did for me.

Similarly, Annie had no idea of what she was getting into when she bought you. One could argue that it was the best purchase she ever made, since you brought her (improbable) love, a career, fame, jail time - nothing one would usually count on in a junk shop purchase. But she did want a new life, so…there’s that.

She wasn’t the only one who wanted you though. There were several others who had planned to fight for you like they’d never fought for anything in their lives. They thought you could redeem their reputation, give them a future of prosperity or love, or perhaps simply cover up their own shady past that you brought to light.

One never expects so much from a single work of art. I know that I personally stayed up far later than I should have on a number of occasions because I couldn’t stop reading about you. I was fascinated by your history, by your voice as you narrated some of your circumstances for yourself. But fair’s fair, you have to give some credit to Hannah Rothschild (The Baroness) for telling your story so beautifully. The book wasn’t only about you anyway, it was about Annie and her own journey after meeting you. It was about the seemingly random people from all walks of life whose paths came together because something about you moved them to fight for you at the risk of losing everything else. And it was about your past…the man who painted his broken heart into you in a frenzied session of melancholic passion.

There are some books one simply reads and enjoys with a cup of tea, and there are others that make you take field trips in the rain to find the art gallery that houses paintings by the artist purported to have splashed his soul onto your canvas. This is the latter.

So thank you.

About the Contributor

Meet Micah.  She loves tea, travel, and history. When she’s not telling you about her favorite films and books, she’s acting, writing, and working on community projects in the hopes of empowering the voiceless and challenging them to change the world for the better. Originally from Virginia, Micah now lives in London, England.