by Barbara Forte Abate
Genres: Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
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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