It’s a Mystery: The Painter, by Will Davenport

4.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two times

Two artists, two parallel stories, two love affairs. Amy Dale lives in modern England. A restoration job lands in her lap and takes her to Hull, to the 17th century mansion that may have belonged to her ancestors. Here she makes some intriguing discoveries, while falling hard for a moody coworker with disfiguring scars. Four hundred years earlier, Rembrandt van Rijn unexpectedly spent some time in the same mansion, where he was pressed into painting a portrait of the lady of the house, with whom he falls deeply in love.

Told from the vantage points of the two protagonists, The Painter spins out a tale full of intrigue and history. It’s a fascinating story, filled with secrets and mysteries, and based upon the question surrounding Rembrandt’s “missing” year. Author Davenport does an admirable job of working fact into his fiction, and maintains credibility until the final chapter, where Amy has an abruptly nonchalant, “oh well” moment that fails to jibe with the intense emotionality that carried her through the book. Nevertheless, this tale of one city in two times is fun and engrossing.


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