The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation
by Gwendolyn Womack
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Paperback; 336 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Time Travel/Mystery/Romance
Finalist for the 2016 RWA Prism Awards for Best First Book & Best Time Travel/ Steampunk category.
Two lovers who have travelled across time.
A team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research.
A miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery.
At once a sweeping love story and a time-travelling adventure, Gwendolyn Womack's luminous debut novel, The Memory Painter, is perfect for readers of The Time Traveler's Wife, Life After Life and Winter's Tale.
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.
The Memory Painter is at once a taut thriller and a deeply original love story that transcends time and space, spanning six continents and 10,000 years of history.
“Gwendolyn Womack's tale dazzles.” ―US Weekly (Standout Spring Novels)
“…hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” ~ Library Journal, starred review
“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic. . . . ” ~ M.J. Rose, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Witch of Painted Sorrows
“Layers of past and present form a rich pastry of a narrative, poignant and thoughtful, rich and suspenseful, filled with intrigue and dripping with meaning... ” ~ Charlie Lovett, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions
For more information visit Gwendolyn's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Wednesday, July 6
Review at Creating Herstory
Thursday, July 7
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at Diana's Book Reviews
Friday, July 8
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Review at Library Educated
Review at Just One More Chapter
Excerpt at What Is That Book About
Saturday, July 9
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Sunday, July 10
Review at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf
Monday, July 11
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Layered Pages
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, July 12
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at CelticLady's Reviews
Interview at History From a Woman's Perspective
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The paintings hung in the dark like ghosts. Too many to count—
not an inch of wall space remained. The canvas eyes looked alive
in the darkness, staring at their surroundings as if wondering what
alchemy had transported them to this place.
The artist’s loft had an industrial air with its Lego-like windows,
concrete walls, and cement floor. A dozen bolts of Belgian
linen leaned in a corner next to a pile of wood waiting to be built
into frames. Four easels formed a circle in the center of the studio,
a prepared canvas resting on each. Their surfaces gleamed with
white gesso that had been layered and polished to an enamel-like
perfection, a technique used in the Renaissance to obtain a nearly
photographic realism. This artist knew it well.
The paintings themselves were an eclectic ensemble. Each image
captured a different time in history, a different place in the world.
Yet the paintings had one thing in common: all depicted the most
intimate moments of someone’s life or death.
In one painting, a samurai knelt on his tatami, performing
seppuku. He was dressed in ceremonial white, blood pooling at
his middle. The ritual suicide had been portrayed in excruciating
detail, the agony on the samurai’s face tangible as he plunged the
blade into his stomach. Behind him, his “Second” stood ready, his
wakizashi sword poised to sever the samurai’s head. In the next
painting, an imperial guard on horse back dragged a prisoner across
a field in ancient Persia. And further along the wall, an old man
wearing a turban stared into the distance, as if challenging the artist
to capture his spirit on the last day of his life.
The studio had three walls, and the entire space was closed off
by an enormous partition of Japanese silk screens. On the other
side was a spartan living area with a kitchen hidden behind a sidewall.
Down the hall, there was a smaller room unfurnished except
for a mattress on the floor. The artist lay sprawled across it on his
stomach, shirtless and in deep sleep.
Without warning, he sat up and gasped for air, struggling out of
the grasp of a powerful dream.
“I am here now. I’m here now. I’m here now. I’m here now.”
He chanted the words over and over with desperate intensity as he
rocked back and forth in a soothing motion. But then, just as suddenly,
his body went slack and his eyes grew distant as a strange
calm descended over him. He got out of bed.
Entering his studio like a sleepwalker, he selected several brushes
and began mixing paint on a well- used wooden palette, whispering
words in ancient Greek that had not been heard for centuries.
His hands moved with a strange certainty in the dark. Time
passed without his awareness. He painted until the hours towered
above him, pressing down upon his body and begging him to stop.
His feet grew numb, his shoulders stiff with pain. When the sun’s
glaring noon light reached his window, a piercing pain lanced
through his head, jarring him out of oblivion like an alarm clock.
I am Bryan Pierce. I am standing in my studio. I am here now. I am
Bryan Pierce. I am standing in my studio. I am here now. I am Bryan Pierce.
He forced the words into his consciousness, grabbing onto their
simple truth like a child reaching for the string of a kite. The words
were the only thing that kept him from flying away.
Bryan’s legs buckled and he sank to the floor, leaning against the
wall for support. Hands dangling over drawn- up knees, his arms
were streaked with every pigment on the studio shelf. His bare
chest displayed similar stains.
He forced himself to study his most recent work, knowing that
this was the quickest way to assimilate the dream. Only when he
felt able to stand did he get up and walk over to the video recorder in his studio. It was the highest- end digital camera that money could
buy and came equipped with an infrared setting to catch nighttime
activity. He always kept it on. Bryan didn’t need to review the footage
to know he had been speaking Greek all night again. But the
recording proved that it had happened.
Most mornings, observing himself on camera gave him some
sense of peace. But today he didn’t feel like watching it—his vision
was still too present, like a messenger in the room. Somehow, this
dream held answers.