The Memory Painter
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The Memory Painter

4.2 19
by Gwendolyn Womack

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A thriller, a romance, a 10,000-year adventure…The Memory Painter is “the guy-meets-girl story as you've never heard it before" (Refinery29).

Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist, whose



A thriller, a romance, a 10,000-year adventure…The Memory Painter is “the guy-meets-girl story as you've never heard it before" (Refinery29).

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

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

“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

“Suspenseful and ambitious...We predict The Memory Painter's story of love and revenge will be one of 2015's biggest literary hits.” —Paste Magazine (Best New Books of the Month)

“It's a thriller as well as a love story, spanning 10,000 years of history. And it sounds freaking mental.” —io9, The Most Essential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Month

“A time-travel tale, stylishly told.” —Elle Canada

“Womack's debut is one of those rare works that impresses from the first vivid, unsettling scene, gradually building an atmosphere of secrecy and trepidation that ensures that the suspense remains high throughout. Part mystery, part science-fiction plot and part romance, this is a novel with broad cross-genre appeal, and the well-drawn scenes and flashes of humor and insight give this thriller a rare depth as well.” —RT Book Reviews

“It's best not to try to analyze the ambitious plot of this thriller, which combines romance, fantasy, and adventure; just hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“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

“Womack makes a romantic case for the existence of destiny...and does a beautiful job...Dive into this sweeping, romantic journey that will leave you breathless and a little unsure of where in time you've landed.” —Kirkus Reviews (One of the Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Reads of the Month)

“Well-drawn historical flashbacks, engaging characters, and a twisty ending make this thrilling blend of neuroscience, romance, and ancient worlds good bets for Da Vinci Code and Outlander fans.” —Booklist

“Some debuts cause a stir. [But] The Memory Painter makes quite a splash... On its surface, The Memory Painter reads like sci-fi. Fundamentally it speaks to the cultural, emotional, and spiritual connectedness that binds us all.” —New York Journal of Books

The Memory Painter is romantic and fun, full of history and science teased out at the perfect pace.” —BookRiot

“Womack has crafted a dark story defined by fast-paced prose that at moments sings the novel's conclusion, all story threads have been tightened into a snug, satisfying knot.” —ZYZZYVA

“The chapters recounting [Bryan and Linz's] past lives are chock full of interesting historical being on a movie-themed ride at Disneyland.” —Publishers Weekly

“In The Memory Painter, Gwendolyn Womack delivers a multi-layered debut novel like no other: passing through the veils of time and brimming with history, mystery, science, intrigue, and passion.” —Katherine Neville, New York Times and No. 1 internationally bestselling author

The Memory Painter is an absolute masterpiece. Spellbinding from beginning to end, this brilliantly woven tale of time-crossed lovers will keep you hooked well into the wee hours. Gwendolyn Womack is a storytelling virtuosa, whose sexy, action-packed mind-boggler of a book is destined to become a classic.” —Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet and The Lost Sisterhood

“A sweeping, mesmerizing feat of absolute magic. Ten thousand love stories, tales of revenge, inventions, histories, mysteries, and memories combine to serve up a complex and utterly riveting novel that leaves you with feelings of awe and wonder. A star is born!” —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. Womack's meditation on the beautiful mystery of memory is a riveting read from cover to cover, leaving us with the breathless realization that while grief may be eternal, so is love.” —Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman's Tale and First Impressions

Library Journal
★ 02/01/2015
Bryan Pierce has always had vivid nightmares. These disturbing dreams inspire the riveting paintings that have made him an acclaimed artist. When he meets a young geneticist named Lindsay (Linz) Jacobs, who also lives in Boston, she reacts viscerally to his painting of a woman who was burned as a martyr in ancient Rome. Linz is the daughter of a scientist who had worked on a controversial Alzheimer's drug and who is now the head of a huge pharmaceutical firm. He and his partners had experimented with the drug themselves in the past and two had died in a mysterious lab explosion. In this fast-paced first novel, reincarnation is a dangerous business. Bryan and Linz experience the lives and deaths of people in the past, some of them famous, while being pursued each time by a deadly enemy. VERDICT It's best not to try to analyze the ambitious plot of this thriller, which combines romance, fantasy, and adventure; just hang on for a wild and entertaining ride around the world and through the centuries back to ancient Egypt.—Leslie Patterson, Rehoboth, MA

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack began writing plays in college while freezing in the tundra at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She received an MFA from CalArts in Directing for theater and film and was a semi-finalist in the Academy's Nicholl Fellowship. She currently resides in California and can be found at her keyboard. The Memory Painter is her first book.

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The Memory Painter 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It has been years since I've come across that has captured my interest and held it. I started reading this less than 48 hours ago and continue to read it to the exclusion of everyone else until I was done. The plot was so multifaceted with a thread of continuity that held my interest. The concept of circular lives between a group of people is intriguing and thought provoking. I loved this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Intruiging, I could not put it down. Well constructed, great plot, loved each of the characters, past, present, future . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic book. If only i had the words to describe how delighted i am to have discovered this incredible author and how magical this book is. Elegantly written this beautiful story captivated my imagination. I feel that of the many hundreds of books i've read, this is the story i craved all along. Wow!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting blend of fiction with historical figures. Quick read.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I hope their is a sequel :) This book is addictive with a powerful message, What an amazing story!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Fast paced interesting
Anonymous 8 months ago
I loved each person's detail of their lives, and the unfolding interactions. Kept me reading. I still want to know the rest.
Keith Andrade More than 1 year ago
THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING! The first chapter is a little tough getting into gear but what story isn't?! This book turns into a deep journey and quickly you fall in love with each character. Every chapter is a new clue to deeper mystery that you do not realize how deep the enigma was until you get to the last page. Every page is amazing, the last page is even better. YOU WILL NOT REGRET READING THIS BOOK!
nbaker1234 More than 1 year ago
I am always amazed when I read a book thinking I am going to be get one type of story and receive something completely different. This story had a bit of everything -- mystery, romance, history lesson, time travel, etc. I became immediately hooked with the clarity and vision obtained in Bryan's painting episodes. I am clearly not an artist but I can only imagine the passion with which one could paint if your subject matter was that deeply ingrained in your soul. I'm not a believer in reincarnation, but have to admit that the concept worked beautifully in this story. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the stories of the lives from the past that came calling during slumber. I found it a bit too contrived that each past episode seemed to be surrounded with such significant or popular figures in history. (In other words, I found it ironic that none of their past lives involved just ordinary people living ordinary lives.)But if you look at the story as being about the power and strength of true love -- true soul mates, then I guess it makes sense that the story would follow some of the greatest loves in history. I've done enough geneology in my lifetime to actually feel connections to loved ones from the past that I've never known, especially when you read something about their talents or hobbies or careers. But I accept this as a DNA connection only and nothing more. I'm sure every reader will have their own interpretation of The Memory Painter. For me it was a historical journey, a captivating travel through time and a story that heightened my awareness and pride in the times and places from which my ancestors have lived and my hope and anticipation for what the future holds for my family and future generations to come.
archetype67 More than 1 year ago
The Memory Painter by Gwendolyn Womack has a great premise. An artist, Bryan, has been haunted his whole life with 'remembering' previous lives. He has no control over it, and goes into a fugue-like state where he paints a scene from that life. Interestingly he gains the skills of the individual - chess master level chess skills, fluency in the language, samurai fighting skills and so on. One day he meets Lyns, a specialist in brain chemistry and memory. He recognizes her as a soul he's been connected to repeatedly. She has had recurring nightmares about being put to death in 3rd century Rome. She is shocked when she see's Bryan's painting of that nightmare. Over the course of the novel, Bryan tries to convince Lyns of their connection, but his most recent memories of he last life point to Lyns' father's involvement in his death, along with Lyns in her previous incarnation. The novel moves at a good clip and we see Bryan in various incarnations and Lyns as she tries to make sense of all the seemingly random connections with Bryan. The individual lives are interesting, eventually bringing the reader to ancient Egypt and the idea that there was once an advanced civilization whose knowledge was lost to later generations. The idea is well executed and based on the nature of the past lives connections, plot incidences that might otherwise feel coincidental or even 'deus ex machina" make sense in the context. The characters were distinct enough and there were enough twists and suspense to keep my engagement high. Then ending worked well, although it left enough open that I wonder if there will be a sequel. I enjoyed the dips into history and the brushes with the famous. Womack knew her the individuals she based 'past lives' on as well as their settings and the history. Womack used myth well to pull the threads together. While not the literary event of the year, it was an entertaining read that was thought provoking. Over all I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced mystery based in science and in history.
KisaWhipkey More than 1 year ago
First, let me just say that it pains me to give this book only 3 stars; I wanted so desperately to love it. I mean, doesn’t that premise sound amazing? But sadly, this is one of those moments where, for me, the execution just didn’t quite live up to the promise of the concept. I’m all for a complicated narrative, but unfortunately, this book’s plot is as tangled and confused as its genre. The narrative bounces between the present and historical flashbacks spanning 10,000 years, but there are also journal entries mixed throughout, creating a three-tiered, non-linear storytelling mess that even I struggled to keep straight. The fact that it’s also written from third-person, alternating POVs as well doesn’t help. Knowing the genre would have helped me have the right expectations, but that aspect seems to be entirely open to interpretation, as the publisher proudly proclaims that they publish books that are impossible to categorize, the author calls it a supernatural historical thriller, and reviewers across the board throw every genre tag that even remotely fits at it. I think it took me about 3/4 of the book to get a true feel for the genre, which, in my opinion, is a science fiction/romantic suspense mash-up, and is something I wish had clicked sooner. Once that happened, my expectations fell into line and the narrative found its groove, but by then, the book was largely over. I will say that the thriller aspects of the story were fantastic, and the core mystery surrounding the various memories/lives and how they all fit together was enough to keep me reading, but the romance side was predictable, at times too convenient, and often fell flat. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters and so much of the emotional resonance was lost. I understood why the romance erred on the side of insta-love, but it just never fully formed for me. I fear some of the problems I’ve noted stem from the fact that this book may have been under-edited. I’m not generally one to criticize this aspect (being an editor myself), but this novel had an appalling number of errors considering the number of people cited at the end who worked on it. From typos, to stylistic inconsistencies, to narrative weaknesses, I found myself routinely pulled out of the story and wondering how amazing it could have been if edited properly. So, in summary, while I give Womack kudos for attempting such an ambitious tale, I also feel that it wasn’t quite ready for publication yet. There were too many elements at play, too many things that could have been developed a little more, and there is virtually no resolution. The entire book feels like a precursor to the story we will, hopefully, get to see in the sequel. Overall, I was left feeling disappointed and slightly irritated that the only answers we were given were ones that could be guessed by the halfway point, but I will still read the next one. The Egyptian mythology and underlying concept are enough, for now, to keep me intrigued, but I’m definitely hoping that book 2 (if there is a book 2) doesn’t suffer from the same problems as the first.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
Are our best friends or lovers people we have known before. I’ve wondered. This book is amazing for it’s history. The idea that, once one dreams that history, some are able to paint that dream on canvas. As the book questions, “How many lives have we lived?” Interesting because a lot of it could be answered in this amazing first book by this author. Very fast paced, very mysterious. I did not guess who some of the most important characters were in this fascinating historical novel. I definitely want to read more by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone please be here.....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Who wants to read..." reviewer is a complete moron. A bowling ball is smarter than that idiot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey im Kacie and i have nobody to talk to and i get really bored
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who whoud want too read this and i am the the first to comment yay!