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The Memory Painter: A Novel by Gwendolyn…
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The Memory Painter: A Novel

by Gwendolyn Womack

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THE MEMORY PAINTER
Gwendolyn Womack

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
PUBLISHER Picador
PUBLISHED May 2015

SUMMARY
Ryan Pierce is a reclusive, but internationally known artist. His skills and success as an artist are renown, and the images he paints comes from his dreams. His studio walls are covered in paintings to numerous to count. Each painting more vivid than the next, captures a different time in history, a different place and each depict an intimate moment in a person's life or death. Because he can remember intricate details and feelings Brian believes these dreams may actually be flashbacks to other lives he may have lived. He hopes that showing his works to others, may lead him to answers about the meaning of dreams.

Linz Jacobs is a Nuero-geneticist at Medicor, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. She is currently decoding the DNA genes for memories. While attending an art opening, at some friends' gallery, Linz recognizes the scene in one of Brian's paintings as exactly that of a haunting recurring childhood nightmare she had had. It was a chilling scene of a beautiful woman being burned at the stake while a priest, prisoners and guards look on. The details captured her dream so accurately she needed an explanation. She absolutely has to meet the artist. Upon meeting, Brian and Linz have an instant and intense connection. Brian believes that Linz may be able to help him unlock the meaning behind these dreams.

But meeting Linz has triggered another intense and harrowing dream for Brian. It's a horrific explosion in a research lab where a team of scientists were just on the verge of discovering a cure for Alzheimer's. Several of the scientists were killed. The research project was destroyed. Brian is driven to find out more about this project. Linz know nothing about this research. Working together, Bryan and Linz try to find a key to explain Bryan's dreams. But it may not be so easy. Someone is trying to prevent them from getting to close to the truth.

REVIEW
This is no ordinary book. THE MEMORY PAINTER is a complex story which is beautifully crafted into an easy-to-read novel. It's a novel containing historical fiction, a medical thriller, science fiction, time travel and romance, all woven together in a unique and captivating way. I can't stop talking about this book, and yet it's so hard to adequately describe. It must be read. I was telling all my friends about this novel before I was even halfway through it. I was also scouring the Internet for clues on whether the historical people and events were real.

Brian and Linz's characters are strong and well-developed. You can't help but pull for them. Their story will stretch your imagination and keep you guessing. It is filled with twists, turns, betrayal, love and hope. And travel. Brian's dreams takes him from a duel in Russia in 1837, to a samurai performing seppuku in Japan in 1702, to a Viking exploration in Greenland in 986 and to a monastery in China in 527. It sounds crazy, but it all make sense and you can't help but want more.

A instrumental portion of the story centers around the Alzheimer's research project from 1982. Womack, creatively uses excerpts from one of the scientist's research journals to tell the story of the project, the team and the project results. The journals help give authenticity Brian's dreams.

GWENDOLYN WOMACK does a fabulous job weaving the story in her debut novel. THE MEMORY PAINTER was the winner of the 2016 RWA PRISM award in the time travel/steampunk category and a finalist for best first novel. Her second novel will be released in June 2017 and I for one can't wait. Thanks to Serna at Heath and Soul for the recommendation. ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Aug 19, 2017 |
Bryan is a reclusive artist who paints his dreams. He has started showing his paintings in hopes that someone will recognize them for what they are and hopefully help him. For he has been having these dreams all of his life and despite his mother sending him to psychiatrists and hospitals no one has been able to explain why he descends into this dream world. He ultimately figures out that he is reliving and absorbing past lives; he awakens with the memories, feelings, knowledge and language of the person about whom he is dreaming.

One day he meets Linz and feels an instant connection. They flirt a bit and she unknowingly goes to an exhibit of his work her friends are promoting. There she sees one of his works that depicts a dream she has had since childhood. She needs to know how he knows the details of her dream. She doesn’t know at this point that the artist is the man she was flirting with earlier.

As Bryan realizes that Linz is essential to his understanding what causes his dreams he tries to get her to understand what he experiences but she is skeptical. She does not want to believe that it can be past lives. But as time goes on she has no choice but to see that she and Bryan have been connected for a very long time.

I was hooked with this book from the very first page. The whole concept of the book is really unique and it kept my interest. I totally enjoyed the forays into the past to explore Bryan’s past lives. The idea of meeting the same soul over and over throughout time albeit in different human forms is intriguing and very Karmic. The reason for the whole plot payoff is quite fascinating and the ending set up for the possibility of a sequel which would be most welcome. I’d like to see how the characters go on to finish their journey together through time. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Jul 14, 2016 |
Lovers, friends, enemies- souls that are continuously playing out their roles in each successive life until they remember their purpose. In the present, Bryan Pierce wakes up from an extraordinary dream and feels the need to paint everything that occurred. He can recall everything about the life of the person he has dreamt about, including the ability to speak their language and perform any special skills that they had. Bryan isn’t just recalling a dream, he is remembering an entire past life, all of the memories have come flooding back at once. Most of all, he remembers the woman from his dream and when he finally meets her in his current life as Linz Jacobs after she recognizes one of his paintings from her dream, he sets in motion a chain of events thousands of years in the making.
The Memory Painter is incredibly unique with vivid writing that pulled me into the book much like people were pulled into Bryan’s paintings. I love the idea of past lives and The Memory Painter used the concept in a creative, magical and intense way. First of all, the past lives that Bryan and eventually Linz remember took me back in time to a wide range of periods and different historical figures. A mystery is teased out with each progressive life as Bryan and Linz are able to piece together their memories, an antagonist appears. One soul has been tearing them apart and killing them off in every lifetime, this aspect had me completely engaged. I thought I had everything figured out as to who the soul was and why they were acting how they were; however with a roller-coaster of twists and turns and finally remembering their first lives in Egypt, everything is turned around. I was continuously pulled into the story as each past life was revealed and Bryan and Linz currently tried to figure out their entwined pasts. Overall, this story is incredibly engaging and inventive, a perfect story to sink your teeth into and devour in one sitting.

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Jul 1, 2016 |
Past lives combine in this novel about reincarnation. Bryan has been haunted by his soul's previous lives since his childhood, when no one could understand what was happening to him. As an adult, he finds an outlet in producing paintings of his memories of past lives. When he meets Linz, they have an instant connection - one Linz finds difficult to comprehend. Together, Bryan and Linz start to uncover their past lives and work towards revealing an potential enemy hidden in the past. A fun, gripping read, reminiscent of Ann Brashares' My Name is Memory. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 20, 2016 |
Although this was quite good as a story, I must admit that the audio, although read beautifully by Will Damron, had my mind wandering at different points with some of the stories of the memories. I will give it high marks for being a very clever book, very well thought out with unexpected twists. ( )
  nyiper | Aug 1, 2015 |
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Epigraph
I stand before the masters who know the histories of the dead, who decide which tals to hear again, who judge the book of lives as either full or empty, who are themselves authors of truth. . . . When the story is written and the end is good and the soul of a man is perfected, with a shout they lift him into heaven --- Egyptian Book of the Dead
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In memory of/Fukumi Mitsutake
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The painting hung in the dark like ghosts.
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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's wondered if his dreams are recollections--if he's re-experiencing other people's lives. Linz Jacobs is a neurogeneticist, absorbed in decoding the genes that help the brain make memories, until she's 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.… (more)

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