The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack: A Book Review

The Memory Painter
Author: Gwendolyn Womack
Genre: Historical Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Thriller
Publisher: Picador
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 336
Source: My State Public Library
Synopsis: 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 his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills...like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives.


     Linz Jacobs is a brilliant neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she is confronted with an exact rendering of a recurring nightmare at one of Bryan's shows. She tracks down the elusive artist, and 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 Bryan becomes obsessed with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the scientists' deaths, his dreams begin to reveal what happened at the lab, as well as a deeper mystery that may lead all the way to ancient Egypt. Together, 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.


     A taut thriller and a timeless love story spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history, The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack is a riveting debut novel unlike any you've ever read.


     My Review: One day as Linz enters an art museum, she meets a handsome stranger. The two hit it off immediately. She finds out that the stranger’s name is Bryan, and that the two share an uncanny friendship. Little does she know that meeting the stranger will change everything she knows about her life and her world. In this thriller novel, these two star-crossed lovers journey through time as they fight to be together as their enemy thwarts to keep them apart.

     First off, I am going to state that this was the weirdest novel I have read so far in 2015. This was because the novel talks about reincarnation. Because of this, the author makes it clear that anything is possible. The past lives not only involve gender switching, but your past self could have dated your parent. Your father could have been your enemy that murdered you, or your son could be your parent. After getting accustomed to this idea, I was soon swept into the plot, and I enjoyed it immensely.

     Linz is a very complex character. Over the course of the novel, she has grown so much. I find her to be very relatable. I like how she processes the information about everything she knew has changed very well. It is not an easy thing to change your beliefs, yet she was willing because she wanted to understand Bryan and his world. She is very inquisitive and questions everything around her. I also like how she could fend for herself and that she was definitely not a damsel in distress.

     On the other hand, I did not really like the character of Bryan. There was no character growth in him. He stayed the same throughout the novel. Bryan also did not have any flaws. Because he already had the memories of his past, he was more like a superman or The Doctor in the tv show, Doctor Who. He remembered all his abilities, and there was not a thing he could not do. He is all around perfect. He has the looks, the strength, the intelligence, the speed, the charm, the mystery. Bryan has it all. Because of this, I found him a bit disappointing. I wanted him to be down to earth, and I wanted him to be a dynamic character rather than a cardboard cutout.

     Overall, this book has adventure, mystery, suspense, action, and a forbidden romance. The message of the novel is that love conquers all. While I did find it be predictable, I was drawn to the historical elements in the story. The novel is very well-written, and it will grip the reader from the very first page. The Memory Painter is very complex and ambitious. It is a thrilling fast-paced page turner novel. This is a feast for historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, and fantasy lovers alike. So buckle up and enjoy the ride as you travel through thousands of years and different continents taking you through ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Ancient China, a Viking voyage, feudal Japan, and many more!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This is the official book trailer for The Memory Painter:

Comments

  1. The premise of the story is interesting. I'll definitely put it on my summer reading list!

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