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Publisher's Summary

Two lovers who have traveled across time, a team of scientists at the cutting edge of memory research - a miracle drug that unlocks an ancient mystery....

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 wakes, 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 reexperiencing 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 is a riveting debut novel unlike any you've ever listened to.

©2015 Gwendolyn Womack (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Memory Painter

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Creative plot

Any additional comments?

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.

18 people found this helpful

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Best book on my library

I've listened to this book five times already and every time it's like the first. I love this book.

14 people found this helpful

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ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

I love this book. I couldn't stop listening, staying up several nights until the wee hours of the morning. I am beyond impressed with the authors ability to weave history into this novel so thoroughly, and tie up all the stories into the conclusion. I enjoyed the magic of past lives, and how we reconnect with people.

13 people found this helpful

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Just too much to willingly suspend disbelief

If Dan Brown had written The Time Traveler's Wife and added random bits from Outlander and Back to the Future, I think the result would have been similar to The Memory Painter. While the basic idea of this novel was interesting, the recounting of the many past lives of Bryan and Linz and all the skills they inherit from living these lives quickly becomes tedious and just too much for the reader to willingly suspend disbelief. The past life chapters are full of historical tidbits and coincidence, but little plot or character development. I think The Memory Painter might make a better movie than book.

24 people found this helpful

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Sniff-test violations...

*Spoiler Alert*

For the most part, the story carried me along, despite numerous historical, cultural, linguistic, and scientific sniff-test violations. However, my suspension of disbelief did not survive the revelation that the Great Pyramid is in fact a 12,000-year-old power plant. Seriously?

12 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good concept

I like the idea of having a drug that can wake up past lives. A little drippy on the emotions. Seems like anytime a situation occurred where there was a conflict they had to hide their face because of the tears. It flew into a fit of rage unnecessarily. I guess some people like that kind of delivery. The mix is terrible though. Every "S" is like nails on a chalkboard. Whatever frequency he says "S" at is jacked up to 10. Very distracting.

10 people found this helpful

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Becomes too ridiculous to enjoy

Intriguing promise taken way too far. :-(

Shouldn't have tried to make the main character every famous person in history.

21 people found this helpful

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destroyed with cliche romance and male narrator for female voice

A clever idea of visionary history and neurological possibilities of enhancing memory … But the romance was so cliché and the narrator’s tempo of the female fantasy increased my aversion ...
it was as if the author were writing for13-year-old girls

2 people found this helpful

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Not a fan.

One of the worst. The writing was insipid. The dialogue was awful. The narrator tried his best with the material. I had to fast forward through it because I stopped caring.

2 people found this helpful

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Story weaving at its best.

Great story with unexpected turns and surprises. I love stories that keep you guessing and don’t follow expected formulas. This story heals my interest, both in the art world, science and our brains, possible histories tied to known history and pleasant unpredictability in both characters and ultimate storyline. I haven’t enjoyed one like this in quite awhile. Thank you

1 person found this helpful