Happy Monday, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Gwendolyn Womack's debut, The Memory Painter.
Bryan Pierce's paintings have been gaining growing recognition. Able to churn one out in just a matter of hours, his pieces convey a sense of atmosphere and detail that is truly remarkable. But what people don't know is that Bryan's paintings are the result of vivid dreams. In fact, many of the paintings themselves are created during a complete dream state and without Bryan's own knowledge - until he wakes to find them complete.
In each dream, it's as though Bryan himself is there in another life. And when he learns that each of the people he's dreamed through were very real, he begins to suspect it's exactly that: another life. It's a feeling Linz Jacobs understands all too well considering it's happened to her too. When the two meet, Bryan knows that Linz has been there in each dream life.
And then Bryan begins dreaming about the Michael Backer, a scientist who died tragically while researching alzheimers treatments and memory.
If you're a frequent follower of the blog then you know that the past two weeks have been a bit sparse. There's been a lot going on with work and life and I found myself in something of a reading rut. Fortunately I seem to have finally come out the other side, thanks in large part to books exactly like The Memory Painter.
It's not an exaggeration when I say a book is unputdownable. I know it can get thrown around, but I reserve the term for books that are exactly that. I think it's what we all crave in a read, right? A book that grabs hold of you from the very start, making it impossible to break free until you turn the final page. A book that begs for all of your attention no matter what else might be going on. The Memory Painter fits that bill 100%.
Bryan has just moved back to his hometown of Boston but has kept himself closed off for the most part, even neglecting to attend his own show. His dreams or visions have become so demanding that he fears being around people when one comes upon him. It's caused him to be reserved and overly cautious, something that gets thrown to the wind when he sees Linz Jacobs.
Linz has only ever experienced the one dream - one of being burned at the stake in ancient Greece. But it was a dream so detailed and disturbing that she's never forgotten it in spite of the fact that it seemingly stopped when she left for college. She recognizes the dream in one of Bryan's paintings and is determined to meet him, even suspecting that her friend who owns the gallery showing Bryan's work might have been the one responsible.
The truth is more curious than Linz could ever have imagined. But as it turns out, she's more tied into Bryan's dreams than either of them realize. As the story progresses, Bryan recognizes Linz from his many lifetimes of dreams, but it's even more twisted and tangled than that. And as the connections between their lives - past and present - become more clear, a mystery unfolds.
Some of Bryan's past lives and dreams were less engaging than others, I'll admit. There are so many that it's almost inevitable that some will hold more weight and depth than others. Michael Backer's story and the present day string absolutely fall into the latter category and definitely hooked me the most. It's here that the real entanglements and questions begin to become clearer to Bryan and the reader, so of course they're the driving forces of the book. That said, the story absolutely zips along. There are no dull moments at all and every piece of the puzzle, every dream and every life Bryan recalls, adds layer upon layer to the tale.
The Memory Painter is brand new out in paperback and is also fresh off an RWA Prism Win in the Time Travel/Steampunk category. It's the kind of book that will most definitely appeal to a broad range of readers and one I highly recommend to anyone in search of a great read!
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Gwendolyn Womack and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Purchase Links: Amazon | IndieBound | Barnes & Noble | iTunes