Painted From Memories by Barbara Forte Abate

August 27th, 2014 Kimberly Review 62 Comments

27th Aug
Painted From Memories by Barbara Forte Abate
Painted From Memories
by Barbara Forte Abate
Genres: Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Source: Author
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

She considers telling him the truth—that she isn’t the person he thinks she is—but in the end she doesn’t. To say something is to potentially say everything. And it is simply too late... The emotionally fractured casualty of a hideous childhood tragedy, Catherine has at last found her happy-ever-after in the person of Grayson Barnett, and it is the promise of a freshly polished future that compels her to bury the poisonous trail of her past beneath the purposeful lies and omissions she offers her new husband. But now, with the inherent shame of her traumatic history secreted away and losing hold, Cat finds herself increasingly troubled as Gray falls into an erratic pattern of late night wanderings through the house, painting the bare walls with extravagant murals. And only when the unthinkable happens—a devastating blow which leaves her broken and spiraling—and an unexpected arrival on her doorstep, bearing a cache of impossible revelations—is Cat forced to question whether the man she so desperately loves is in truth a stranger and their beautiful life a gross falsehood constructed upon a foundation of lies.

I am not a fan of the cover, despite the fact that after reading Painted From Memories, I see how it fits. Do not let it distract you because beneath this plain Jane cover lies a beautiful literary fiction. Barbara Forte Abate shares an interesting tale with two quirky, artistic types set in the small rural town of Lost River, Maine. Painted From Memories is a gripping tale with several threads that had me lost within its pages.

Painted from Memories shares a passionate romance between two complicated people who have secrets. Grayson and Catherine (Cat) are both artists and met when she was painting a mural. They share a whirlwind romance and are soon married and traveling to Maine. Here Grayson buys them a dilapidated farmhouse. Cat is happy to escape her past and ever fearful of discovery.  They laugh as pipes burst and showers run ice cold. They share a friendship and relationship that others only dream about and yet these secrets lie between them. As the tale progresses we learn about Cat’s troubled childhood, the death of her parents and the sister who never speaks. Her story is painful and Abate brings her voice to life. Cat does not want the past to interfere with their lives and chooses not to share with Gary. She invents stories about her family, placing them in far off lands. I loved learning about Cat and spending time with her while she worked in the garden and made art from old furniture. She wakes one night to discover Grayson painting a mural, and telling a story using the walls of their home as his canvas. Grayson’s love for Cat is touching and I loved how he interacted with her. He was a bit of a mystery and watching the scenes unfold as he painted was fascinating. Both characters march to their own drum, see the world through rose-colored glasses or perhaps with an artist flair. While I didn’t love them, Abate made me understand and connect.

Painted From Memories was poetic and touching. Abate’s writing brought the characters and surrounding area to life. She uses imaginary to convey the characters emotions and at times, I was in awe of her ability. Secondary characters add a little mystery. Their secrets are slowly revealed and I found myself riveted. I feel as if I am being vague. I keep holding back and that is because  the journey and discovery is part of what makes this powerful and wonderful. I do not want to spoil your ride.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

62 Responses to “Painted From Memories by Barbara Forte Abate”

  1. Michelle

    This isn’t a book that I would have ever picked up on my own. But your review has me intrigued. It seems like a lot more than meets the eye.

    Great review Kimba. Glad you enjoyed this one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      thanks Michelle, it was quite good and I am glad I read it

  2. Teddyree

    I do tend to judge a book by its cover, to me it’s kind of like “eating with your eyes” and that cover is truly awful. I do think I’d enjoy the story, so I’ll trust your judgement lol

  3. Paij Slater

    This sounds great. Although the cover to me is kind of awesome. I makes me think about closing one door and moving on to the next stage in life. 🙂 May not be the meaning, but that was my impression when I saw it.

  4. Christy

    I’m glad the story makes up for the cover, because it looks like some DIY remolding book. And it actually sounds really good!

  5. Mary

    This might be a little too-too for me (literary, deep, emotional. I’m much more shallow than all that) but yay for a book being so much better than the cover!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      LOL, oh you crack me up Mary. I wouldn’t want a steady diet of literary fiction or chick-lit for that matter, but I always enjoy them when the mood strikes

  6. Debbie Haupt

    Hi Kimba, you’re so right about the cover not being very appealing but sometimes you do have to read the book to see the rightness of a cover. I’m usually drawn to these covers because of that fact. Great review you’ve hooked me 🙂

  7. Heidi

    Good thing you didn’t judge this book by its cover. It is a shame that the cover is so boring and inside is such a terrific book.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have read and loved prior books by this author and knew how wonderful her writing is.

  8. Lupdilup

    It sounds like such deep,emotional and reverting story,who’d have known it hides inside that cover. I do listen from time to time to some Literary fiction. To be honest, if I get hooked with in the first few chapter of a story it doesn’t matter to me what genre it is. The trick for me is to get interested in picking it up, and your review might just have done the trick 🙂
    Thanks Kimba!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Well you know me..I will read any genre long as it’s good!

  9. Candace

    The cover is a bit blah like you said, but I’m glad that it was an excellent read for you. I’m not really a literary fiction person so I probably will skip this one.

  10. Jenea

    This is one those cases that “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is right. It sounds really good! Great review.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was Jenea, I loved the old farm house and watching the murals tell a story

  11. kindlemom1

    Any book that can make you get lost inside it is a great read indeed! I agree, the cover could have been so much better for this.

  12. Angela Adams

    Your review has me very intrigued…and, makes this book seem like a good choice for my book club once we start back up in the Fall. Thanks!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes, all of her books evoke questions, conversations and passions Angela.

  13. Tanja

    Funny think is that I’d never pick up that book because that cover isn’t really something interesting and I’d never assume that there is passionate romance there. Surprise, surprise. I’m so happy you enjoyed this one. Great review, Kim 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Yes…sometimes the best discoveries are hidden treasures.

  14. Rita

    I might be interested in this one’s story.

    going a bit off topic from this book to generalizations:
    I agree about the cover, and see many books around with covers that look like I made it in Photoshop in 5 minutes. I am an extremely visual person (which spoils my enjoyment of audio books) so if a book has an amateur-looking cover, then most likely my eyes will pass it right by and gravitate to another. I’m not saying all indie or self-pub authors need to hire a professional artist, but they should take the time to polish off their completed works with an attractive cover. Just my opinion and not picking on their stories, only the covers themselves, thanks for the opportunity to speak about this.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree Rita and what you said is sad but true. I have read several works by this author and loved them.

  15. Laurel-Rain Snow

    Yes, the cover is plain, but after reading the blurb, it seems so appropriate. I’ve never read this author…but now I must! Thanks for sharing.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It does tie in to the story, but alas most see only the cover. I have read several books by her and always enjoy them.

  16. kim { Book Swoon }

    This book sounds pretty goergeous with its writing, too bad the cover does not reflect that as well. I love the fact that the author “uses imaginary to convey the characters emotions.”
    Glad you enjoyed the writing, Kimba 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Her writing is lovely, she is able to create this 3-d image of the characters and setting. Thanks Kim. 🙂

  17. Felicia the Geeky Blogger

    I usually stay away from women’s lit because it usually is to much for me. However, I have an aunt who devours these types of stories. I am going to have to see if she has heard of this one 🙂

    • kimbacaffeinate

      She may have read some of her previous books, she has been published with traditional authors as well and her writing is beautiful. I have read several books and enjoyed them immensely.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I love mixing them in Braine. I don’t read them often but when I do I enjoy them

  18. Megan

    I agree that the cover hurts this one. Good thing you got past it, since the story sounds pretty good.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Megan, and yes it was a lovely, quirky, heart-felt read

  19. Faye D'Social Potato

    I’m glad you were able to enjoy it, Kimberly!! Although I have to say, that cover isn’t really… visually-enticing 🙁 Without your praise, I think I would have passed this one up.

  20. Laura Thomas

    Sounds like I’d enjoy this book. I love character driven stories and both of these seem to have complicated their relationship with lies and secrets. I’m looking forward to learning why.

  21. Nick

    That is a pretty awful cover. I wouldn’t have been able to guess that it hid a passionate romance story. The writing does sound very lovely though! 🙂
    Great review, Kim!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have read and loved previous novels by this author and that helped me see past cover. Actually I read synopsis first.

  22. Red Iza

    The novel looks really good but I’m not sure it’s the kind of story I want to read these days, maybe when the sun shines brighter 😉

    • kimbacaffeinate

      It was well rounded emotionally, but I am a mood reader too 🙂

  23. Katherine

    You had me at dilapidated farm house. This sounds like it could be really good though I’m curious why Cat keeps her past such a secret. I’ll have look for this one!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Things are slowly revealed and I love how fleshed out they become.

  24. Jeann

    I totally know what you mean when you need to preserve a reader’s experience to enjoy it fully when they get into it! I love how the couple sound so touching and cute together. Lovely review Kimba!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Jeann I loved their connection and interaction.

  25. Rashika

    Wow. This book sounds heartwarming and intense! I can imagine myself rooting for the couple already and hoping things work out for the two! The romance really sounds like something I’d enjoy especially since there is a sense of friendship in their relationship! 😀

    I am glad you enjoyed this one, Kimba!

    Lovely review!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      Thanks Rashika. I really liked how quirky the characters were.

  26. Silvia

    I know we shouldn’t judge a book from its cover but, let’s face it, our eyes end up inevitably there and it’s something that really makes the difference…I’m with Melliane, I would have passed too, but I’m really glad to hear it worked well for you and that the story is poetic and touching. Great review, Kimberly!

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I have read and loved previous works by this author, but for those newly discovering her, yeah this cover hurts.

  27. Melliane

    It’s the first time I hear about this one but I really don’t like the cover… I think I would have passed because of it so I’m glad to know it’s good.

  28. Trish

    I’m intrigued, it sounds really interesting. I love books that have an artistic theme so I think I’d enjoy this one. Considering the theme though, the cover is woeful. I wouldn’t look twice at it before reading your review. No matter how much it ties in, it’s just bad.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      I agree, Linda. I have read and loved several novels by this author and her talent is unquestionable but sadly covers sell books. right or wrong, they do.