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Literary Friday: The Memory Painter: A Novel by Gwendolyn Womack

Friday, July 8, 2016

Happy Literary Friday, My Lovelies!  This week I read The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack.  

About The Memory Painter

• Paperback: 336 pages • Publisher: Picador (July 5, 2016)

What if there was a drug that could help you remember past lives? What if the lives you remembered could lead you to your one true love? What if you learned that, for thousands of years, a deadly enemy had conspired to keep the two of you apart?

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to Bryan's success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. Bryan believes these dreams are really recollections-possibly even flashback from another life-and he has always hoped that his art will lead him to an answer. And when he meets Linz Jacobs, a neurogenticist who recognizes a recurring childhood nightmare in one Bryan's paintings, he is convinced she holds the key.

Their meeting triggers Bryan's most powerful dream yet?visions of a team of scientists who, on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's, died in a lab explosion decades ago. As his visions intensify, Bryan and Linz start to discern a pattern. But a deadly enemy watches their every move, and he will stop at nothing to ensure that the past stays buried.


 “... hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” Library Journal (starred review)

“Gwendolyn Womack's tale dazzles.” US Weekly (Standout Spring Novels)

“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic...” M. J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows 

“The guy-meets-girl story as you've never heard it before...A mind-explosion of a journey ensues that involves time travel, mystery, love, and a whole lot of plot twists.” Refinery29

 “A page turner that will keep readers up late into the night. Readers who love adventure, romance and fantasy will love this book.” The Vancouver Sun

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Gwendolyn Womack AP

About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack began writing plays in college and majored in Theatre at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She received an MFA in Directing Theatre and Film from California Institute of the Arts and currently lives in Los Angeles with her family. The Memory Painter is her first novel. Find out more about Gwendolyn at her website, connect with her on Facebook and Twitter, and see what she's pinning on Pinterest.

My Review:

I enjoyed this book immensely.  As an artist and lover of history it's tailor-made for me so perhaps I'm a little biased.  I love the premise of the story: two star-crossed lovers (literally) destined to meet throughout history until they can complete a specific quest and fulfill their prophesied duty.  Both Linz (short for Lindsey) and Bryan meet some of the same souls throughout their histories together, and unfortunately they also meet the same nemesis.  As Bryan's past lives are revealed to us nonchronologically, it does seem that the villain's incarnations become more and more sinister and disturbing.  There are several unexpected plot twists, and the ending is completely satisfying although I wouldn't mind a sequel in the least.

If you love history, suspense, and romance, then this is a must-read for your Summer Reading List. This book reads like a historical fiction storybook as the reader is pulled back and forth between the past and present through many different centuries and cultures.  This is definitely not light reading, and I found myself taking breaks to look-up history and artifacts on the internet.  Keep you iPad handy while reading it! I would enjoy an illustrated edition of this book very much because my curiosity slowed down my reading progress.

I must note that one of Bryan's past selves is Jan van Eyck.  He is one of my favorite artists of all time, and Bryan's painting ability is remembered once he dreams of his life as van Eyck.

One of my favorite van Eyck paintings, The Arnolfini Wedding

The Ghent Altarpiece
The Nazis stole this masterpiece during World War II, and it was recovered by a special team of American soldiers as depicted in the movie The Monuments Men.

van Eyck's self portrait, mentioned in the book

I enjoyed imagining Bryan's many paintings rendered in van Eyck's minutely detailed style.  

Disclosure:  I received a free paperback copy of The Memory Painter from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.  

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill


  1. History, suspense, and romance? Yes, please! Also, I love when authors incorporate historical facts in their novels!

    Thank you for being on this tour!

  2. This sounds like an incredibly unusual and fascinating novel - I can't wait to read it!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. I checked all three, history, suspense and romance so I will add this to my "read" list. Thanks RJ for a great review!


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.


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