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About The Book

In this enthralling new novel from the author of The List (a “smartly paced and dishy debut,” Publishers Weekly, starred review), a young woman working in the high-end art world stumbles upon a rare antique—and an irresistible man with a dark past.

After eight years in the American Furniture department at Christie’s, twenty-nine-year-old Carolyn Everett is a rising star. But one wrong decision and a scandal leaves her unemployed and broken. Desperate to piece her life back together, Carolyn leaves New York City to work in a tiny antique store in Newport, Rhode Island.

One day at a small county auction, she discovers a piece of Middle Eastern pottery, which she purchases for twenty dollars on a hunch. Curiosity sends her on a mission to find its original owner, and she eventually winds up in the town’s United States Navy Base—and in a relationship with notorious womanizer Marine Sergeant Tyler Ford, who claims the relic came to him as a gift from his translator during the early days of the Iraq War. From two different worlds, Tyler and Carolyn become obsessed with the mysterious relic—and each other—until the origin of the art comes under intense scrutiny and reveals a darker side of Tyler’s past. Carolyn still feels like there’s more to the story, but can she risk attaching herself to another scandal—and does she truly know the man she’s fallen in love with?

The Price of Inheritance is a rare find of a novel. Engaging, suspenseful, and full of intrigue, it delves into the elite world of big bucks deals and dangerous black market promises, where one woman must decide whether she’s willing to gamble her greatest asset—her heart.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Price of Inheritance includes discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and suggestions for further reading. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. Discuss the ways Carolyn is shaped by her family. How does she follow in her parents’ footsteps, and how does she react against their choices?
2. Consider the novel’s epigraph. Did you notice it before you began reading, and if so, did you find it shaped your understanding of the novel? If not, how does it affect the way you consider the book retrospectively? Who in the novel do you think this quote could most closely apply to? And do you agree with Wilde?
3. Tanabe often uses clothing to give us insight into the personalities of her characters. Pick a few individuals from the novel and examine what you infer about them based on the descriptions of what they wear.
4. Ostensibly, Tyler and Carolyn are from completely different walks of life. In what ways are they actually quite similar? Beyond their apparent physical attraction, why do you think they are drawn to each other?
5. When she first meets Hannah, why does Carolyn give her Tyler’s phone number instead of her own? What is she trying to gain from that action?
6. Consider how the themes of ownership and theft are explored within the novel. When it comes to stealing, who is the most reprehensible character?
7. Nina tries to build a relationship with Carolyn after she plays a major role in her undoing. Do you think Carolyn was too unforgiving toward Nina? Do you think either Nina or Carolyn acted selfishly?
8. 8. How are wealth and the wealthy depicted in the book? Why do you think Tanabe chose to have Carolyn grow up adjacent to such affluence, and have her family be “formerly” affluent?
9. Discuss the ways the military and Newport’s old money society are juxtaposed within the novel.
10. Do you think Greg acted honorably when he voiced his suspicions about Tyler or were his actions self-serving? Do you think he cared about the raid on the museum or was he simply interested in Carolyn?
11. Why do you believe Carolyn cares about “old things” in the way that she does? What is it about antiques that captures her imagination? Do you share this fascination to any degree? Why or why not?
12. Though Hannah’s relationship with Tyler ended badly, she still chose to help him do something she suspected was illegal. What other legal and moral boundaries do Hannah, Tyler, and Carolyn cross when they follow their hearts?
13. After years of being “on again and off again,” Alex seems to finally want to commit to Carolyn once she has left New York. “It was always when you stopped caring,” she remarks. Have you had this experience before? Did you agree with Carolyn’s choice to walk away from Alex?
14. “I was going to be that girl, and no one would remember who grew up on the edge of the ocean, and who grew up just behind it.” How does Carolyn’s sense of herself evolve over the course of the narrative? How has she changed by the novel’s end?
15. Which of the characters did you feel ultimately knew Carolyn best?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. If you haven’t already, read Tanabe’s first novel, The List, and discuss it as a group. Compare and contrast the protagonists of each book. In particular, you might consider how these two books depict power and influence—for example, who holds power in each book, and how is it gained or lost?
2. Many of Christie’s auctions are streamed live on their website, at Consider watching one as a group.
3. Imagine you are casting the film version of The Price of Inheritance. Who would play Carolyn and Tyler? The Dalby sisters? Alex and Hannah?
4. The raid on the National Museum of Iraq took place in 2003 and the FBI is still searching for thousands of stolen artifacts and works of art. Take a look at the FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes list ( to learn more about “stealing history.”
5. The historical figures Maimonides, Saladin, and King Richard I are at the heart of the mystery of the book. Read more about these three famous men and how their lives were connected during the Crusades.
6. Tanabe has her characters visit many Newport landmarks built during the Gilded Age, such as the Breakers and the Bellevue Avenue Historic District. Read more about the families who built them, including the Vanderbilts and Astors.
7. Tanabe modeled the Dalby mansion, “Morning Star,” after a real house on Bellevue Avenue, known as “Miramar.” Read more about the private home and the Widener family, who commissioned it as a summer house (in fact, two of the Wideners never saw the mansion, as they lost their lives on the Titanic).
8. Several art theft stories inspired the author, including the films The Thomas Crown Affair and The Red Violin. Consider watching one of these films as a group.
9. Consider taking a trip to a museum to look at ceramics from the Middle East, or browse a collection online. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Freer and Sackler Galleries at the Smithsonian, Sackler Museum at Harvard University, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art all have noted collections.
10. Many of the characters in the book are passionate about collecting or working with American furniture. If money were no object, what types of art or artifacts would you collect?
11. Finding a famous work of art at Goodwill has happened before. Read about the Salvador Dalí sketch discovered at a Goodwill in Washington State or the Giovanni Battista Torriglia painting that was discovered at a Virginia Goodwill.

Suggestions for Further Reading

For a detailed account of the raid of the National Museum of Iraq by a man who was on the ground and helped recover stolen objects, take a look at Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion for Ancient Civilizations and the Journey to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures by Colonel Matthew Bogdanos.
Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton gives an expert and amusing look at the contemporary art world, including Christie’s auctions.
Thomas Asbridge’s The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land is an accessible read that delves into the fight for the Holy Land between 1095 and 1291, with a strong focus on King Richard I and Saladin.

About The Author

Photograph by Julian Barton

Karin Tanabe is the author of A Woman of Intelligence, The Gilded Years, The Price of Inheritance, A Hundred Suns, The Diplomat’s Daughter, and The List. A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, and The Washington Post. She has made frequent appearances as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and The CBS Early Show. A graduate of Vassar College, Karin lives in Washington, DC. To learn more visit

Product Details

  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (August 5, 2014)
  • Length: 384 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781476758619

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Raves and Reviews

"Readers will find plenty to savor...Carolyn is a winning character with a quick wit and the opulent environs she inhabits are definitely worth a visit."

– The Washington Post

"A compelling novel of financial and emotional high stakes."

– In Touch

"Tanabe's absorbing novel blends equal parts mystery, wit, and romance."

– Booklist

"Karin Tanabe's The Price of Inheritance is a deeply enjoyable and riotously funny takedown of the high-stakes New York art world and its most glamorous and illicit auction houses. Matching the spirit and wit of Steve Martin's An Object of Beauty, Karin Tanabe focuses her shimmering humor and laser eye on the dangerous lengths the very wealthy will journey to own a costly piece of history. Lushly detailed and ambitious in scope, The Price of Inheritance is rich in romance, war stories and betrayals. A priceless read by a writer of immense talent."

– Amber Dermont, New York Times bestselling author of The Starboard Sea

"This absorbing, quick-turning story takes us behind the doors of the big auction houses into the homes of the art-collecting elite and onto the international marketplace with sure-handedness, and in fascinating detail. Karin Tanabe writes with passion, intelligence, and a lot of wit, and the book is insanely difficult to put down."

– Jessica Lott, The Rest of Us

With The Price of Inheritance, Karin Tanabe pulls off a triple-coup: she gives us a juicy insider's look at the high-stakes auction business, a late-coming-of-age (and enticingly New York) love story, and a truly suspenseful mystery that crosses borders from Rhode Island to Iraq. Any one of these on its own would have been a compelling read. But all three at once? I couldn't put it down."

– Allison Lynn, author of Now You See It

"In The Price of Inheritance, Karin Tanabe weaves a tangled web of romance and intrigue, while exposing the underbelly of the art world. This smart and captivating read will have you turning pages faster than you can say forgery."

– Emily Liebert, author of You Knew Me When

"A biting, hilarious send-up of D.C.'s elite."

– People on THE LIST

“Hildy Johnson would recognize a kindred spirit in 28-year-old Adrienne Brown, a Beltway-bred, New York-trained reporter who sacrifices sleep, sanity, and sex to feed the wonky digital/paper beast the Capitolist – or “The List” as its rabidly ambitious scribes call it. Adrienne slaves in relative obscurity as a “Style section girl” at this Beltway must-read, blasting out celebrity interviews on her never-turned-off Blackberry. But within a month of her arrival, she also stumbles on what will become a blockbuster, front-page story involving List superstar and shrewish White House reporter Olivia Campo. To untangle the details of the hot-sheets affair between the married Olivia and famously family-man U.S. senator—and two mysterious deaths—Adrienne enlists the help of her pushy big sister, Payton. She not only gets a career-boosting story but the respect of her perfect sibling, high-powered parents, and sharp-elbowed peers. Former Politico reporter Tanabe’s roman-a-clef is a hilarious skewering of digital journalism – and how news is tweeted and blogged at a dizzying pace by armies of underpaid and overworked 20-something journos—as well as smartly paced and dishy debut, part political thriller, part surprisingly sweet coming-of-age tale, and part timeless ode to dogged reporters with good instincts and guts of steel. Hildy would be proud.”

– Publishers Weekly, starred review on THE LIST

"A contemporary, politically astute novel that is both wickedly humorous and enticing...[with] complex characters, an intriguing plot, and tightly brilliant execution. When word gets around about The List, readers will clamor for their copy and devour this book."

– New York Journal of Books on THE LIST

"Tanabe gleefully skewers digital media sweathshops...[but] despite its breezy, chick-lit tone, The List has more in common with newsroom satires."

– The Washington Post on THE LIST

"The List is mandatory reading for anyone who wonders about the impact of new media on Washington's political culture. Tanabe has written a novel that is delicious fun and incredibly revealing about life at the intersection of politics and journalism."

– Nicolle Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of Eighteen Acres

“A gorgeous book—I loved it. Funny, intriguing, and utterly unputdownable.”

– Penny Vincenzi on THE LIST, internationally bestselling author of More Than You Know

"The List is a wonderfully witty insider's romp through Washington. Karin Tanabe has as sharp a tongue as she does an eye for detail, about everything from political scandal to office politics. And I thought New York was a tough town!"

– Cristina Alger, author of The Darlings on THE LIST

“Appealing…everything a die-hard chick-lit fan could want: plenty of fluff, sibling rivalry, deceit and intrigue, and a spunky heroine.”

– Kirkus on THE LIST

“The List is a breezy, dishy romp through Washington, DC politics, journalism, and scandal—a witty and caffeinated glimpse into a world few of us ever see, let alone know as intimately as Karin Tanabe surely does. But underneath the considerable pleasures of its glimmering surface, it's a surprisingly moving coming of age story about a young woman navigating the bumpy terrain between ambition and ethics, between her hunger for professional success and the quiet truth of her own heart.”

– Lauren Fox, author of Friends Like Us and Still Life with Husband on THE LIST

“Part coming of age, part political thriller, Karin Tanabe's The List is a mordantly funny send-up of quadruple espresso fueled journalism in the internet age, with the most irresistible heroine since Bridget Jones at its center. This is Evelyn Waugh's Scoop for the 21st century."

– Susan Fales-Hill, author of Imperfect Bliss on THE LIST

"Karin Tanabe's energetic, humorous debut is narrated by a young reporter trying to prove herself by chasing the biggest story of the year. The List perfectly captures the frenetic, all-consuming pace of political reporting, with a healthy dose of scandal, glamour and intrigue thrown in. Think The Devil Wears Prada meets Capitol Hill."

– Sarah Pekkanen, author of These Girls on THE LIST

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