“Of course the past was still alive and throbbing in the veins of the present.” ~Marty de Groot (in Dominic Smith’s novel The Last Painting of Sara De Vos)
Have you ever wondered if past choices would one day come back and haunt you once you have your life on track? This book review is on a book that touches on this specific situation and gives a minor moral teaching that the past, indeed, will eventually come back and haunt your present life.
In this book review, Dear Bloggites, I am going to discuss our Books & Broads Book Club September book choice: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith. The storyline is about an up and comer in the world of Art as a painting restorer and a rich affluent man who owns a painting by Sara De Vos that is passed down from generation to generation in his family. The two people, Ellie and Marty, have their lives forever tied together when Ellie decides to agree to forge the painting owned by Marty.
Throughout the novel, Dominic Smith, draws you into the worlds of Ellie, Marty, and Sara while teaching us some of the ins and outs of how the life of a painter was lived in the 1600s, 1950s, and 2000s. If you ever have been fascinated by the world of Art, this book is for you. If you are interested in life in the 1600s, this book is for you. Finally, if you are interested in how the past has a way of haunting your present, this book is for you.
The author, Dominic Smith, did a wonderful job throughout this novel by creating complex characters whom the reader can relate to, explained how paintings are created without giving the reader a confused dead-head feel, and he wrote it in the third person, which I LOVE!!!! In the novel, we learned that Sara De Vos was a married woman with a child who was in a Guild for painters. She was one of a few women allowed to be members of the Guild in the 1600s. After the loss of her child, Sara decides to paint a landscape scene that kept haunting her memory after seeing it. This is not a big deal in today’s time but in the 1600s, women painters were only allowed to paint still life paintings of fruit, flowers, etc. while only the men were allowed to paint outdoor scenes.
Throughout the book, the reader learns a little more of how life was for Sara during her time on the Earth as well as how Ellie’s life was shaped by forging a copy of Sara’s landscape painting. The novel gives each character’s life at different stages through to lead up to the final moment when Ellie’s forged painting and Sara’s original are brought to the same Art Gallery that Ellie works at.
The relationship between Ellie and Marty is a tumultuous one full of deceit, attraction, revenge, and love. Sounds complex, it is, and the author does a fabulous job at weaving these elements throughout the novel while still staying true to the plot storyline. The only issue I had with this novel was the toggling back and forth between timelines. One chapter, you find yourself reading about life in the 1600s and the next you find yourself reading about life in the 2000s. I do not like books that jump back and forth, and so that took away from the overall impact the novel could have had on my connection to the story and characters.
I give The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith 4 out of 5 Bookmarks! Give it a whirl, I am sure you will enjoy the ride! Happy Reading! 🙂