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The Painter by Will Davenport

About the book

In January, 1662, the artist Rembrandt, bankrupted in the great tulip crash, accidentally stows away on a boat for Hull. To pay for his passage, he must paint the Captain’s portrait. For himself, he paints a portrait of the Captain’s beautiful wife. Rembrandt has seduced many a sitter before, and sets about doing so again. But he has a rival – none other than the MP for Hull after the Civil War, the poet Andrew Marvell! And the Captain’s wife is far from being a passive player in this triangular game of love, deceit and manipulation. All this is discovered in the present day by another painter, Amy, who has returned to her old family home as a restorer. As she paints a portrait of the man she is becoming involved with, so she uncovers the secrets of the past. This fine novel will appeal to fans of Girl with a Pearl Earring and Tulip Fever.

Reviewed by Romsey Abbey Reading Group:

A good light read but a weak ending. Enjoyed by most of the reading group.

Star rating: **

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6 thoughts on “The Painter by Will Davenport”

  1. Review by Sandy’s Reading Group:
    An engaging story which gathered pace towards the intriguing endings. The two parallel stories were interwoven convincingly and the character of Rembrandt was particularly rich. Highly recommended read.
    Star rating: ****

  2. Review by Sandy’s Reading Group:
    An engaging story which gathered pace towards the intriguing endings. The two parallel stories were interwoven convincingly and the character of Rembrandt was particularly rich. Highly recommended read.
    Star rating: ****

  3. Review by Beaulieu Reading Group:
    Provoked longest discussion we’ve had in a while. Particularly enjoyed the historic element and the modern characters were caught up in a thrilling drama. Fascinating art history too.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Beaulieu Reading Group:
    Provoked longest discussion we’ve had in a while. Particularly enjoyed the historic element and the modern characters were caught up in a thrilling drama. Fascinating art history too.
    Star rating: ***

  5. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A Reading Group:
    A curate’s egg kind of book – good in parts. The Rembrandt sections read like a well researched detective novel and since Rembrandt was beyond sympathy, defied anyone being identified with him. On their own these parts made a good read. The characters in the modern chapters were barely credible and for the most part under-developed. Since the plot depended on a possible lost painting, an imagined relationship between the narrator and the C17th sitter, with an English poet dragged in by the heels, the story struggled.
    Star rating: ***

  6. Review by U3A Group 2
    A view by one member was “women surviving in their time”. This was a book about two women in parallel lives but in different time periods. There are descriptive areas with pithy comments that take the reader by surprise.
    Star rating ****

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