Author: Virginia Winters
Narrator: Virginia Ferguson
Length: 7 hours and 36 minutes
Publisher: Virginia Winters
Released: Apr. 18, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
The painting and the woman, both hiding in plain sight. And a killer who targets both.
Sarah Downing, an art conservator hiding in witness protection, identifies a lost masterpiece by Caravaggio. History says it burned in WWII Berlin, but here it is, on her easel.
Someone betrays Sarah – an agent, a friend? Soon she is fighting to save the painting and herself.
What Sarah does next sends her from Kingston to Italy to rural Ontario in her desperate attempt to survive, save the Caravaggio and rebuild her life.
By the author of the exciting suspense series, Dangerous Journeys.
Virginia Winters is a writer and retired paediatrician who lives in Lindsay, Ontario. She was born in Arnprior, Ontario and educated at Queen’s University.
Her first novel, Murderous Roots, was published by Cambridge Books, an imprint of Write Words Inc, of Cambridge, Maryland, USA.in 2008.
Four more novels in the Dangerous Journeys series followed:
The Facepainter Murders, 2009
No Motive for Murder, 2012
The Child on the Terrace, 2015
The Jewelled Egg Murders, 2017
The Ice Storm Murders is planned for summer 2019
Painting of Sorrow, the first book in a new series, A Deadly Art Mystery, appeared in 2018.
A Superior Crime and other stories, was published in 2018 as well.
She also writes short stories which have been published by various on-line and print publications. The latest, Rain, was published in Tales of the Mysterious, an anthology from Red Tuque Books, 2015. A short story, The Accounting, was published in Criminoil, Dark Stories from the Wood Buffalo from Carrick Publishing.
She is a member of the Canadian Author’s Association, The Writer’s Community of Durham Region, Writers Union of Canada
I work mostly on stage, soap operas, commercials, audio books, teaching English, English as a Second Language, Drama to high school students. For two decades, I lived in Sydney, working as a professional actor and teacher and since 2001 have mainly taught high school and attended Terence McGovern’s Actor’s Studio Workshop in San Francisco where I began recording audio books with acx.com using an American and English accent.
Simon lingered for a moment, watching the students rush up the avenue towards the library. The colours of the University—the scarlet and yellow of the maple trees, the green of the playing field, the grey stone of the buildings—all seemed more intense in the afternoon light. She had beautiful eyes, he though, green, and her hair the shade of chestnuts in autumn, with the strand of gold. How excited she’d been about the possibility the painting was genuine. He took her card from his pocket and read it again. Sarah Downing, Ph.D., assistant conservator, Houstead art Conservation, Kingston, Ontario. He didn’t want it to be anything but the painting that meant so much to his grandfather, connecting him still to the old man who raised him to love art and beautiful buildings. Her eyes sparkles when she talked about the work, but underneath he thought he saw sadness or loneliness.
Art and history will be forever intertwined in a loving embrace. For what was painted in history often resurfaces in the rarest of times and in various or exciting ways. It takes a keen eye and a particular appreciation to enjoy all types of art pieces, but for Sarah Downing, she can spot them as they come. Winters has depicted an invigorating story with elements of mystery, suspense, wonder, and history allowing her readers to get lost in the wonders of art.
Sarah Downing is an art conservator who has a couple of secrets up her sleeve. From what appears to have been an immensely gratifying life of an artist, she has her PhD and resides in a nice and cozy little place in Ontario. Then, she comes across what she believes to be an original Caravaggio masterpiece that was thought to have been destroyed in fire during World War II in Berlin. With the hype following the lost masterpiece, Sarah becomes engrossed in wanting to save the painting after everyone is trying to hush her up about testing it. She doesn’t intend for her past to make a breakthrough in her search for answers though. Sarah’s ex-husband is released from prison and makes his way to Sarah’s neighborhood after ten years of hiding. With her death in mind, being the woman who put him away in the first place, he isn’t going to stop until he gets what he came for. Not even witness protection can save her this time as she hides the painting and makes a getaway for Italy. Knowing that there has to be some type of leak in the program for Jimmy to be able to find her after all these years, she takes it upon herself to run. She knows that she will fight until her dying breath to save herself and this painting from destruction from those who are after her. The only man that she wants to run to, having a love for the art piece the same as herself, may already be in danger along with everyone else who has tried to help her and knows too much. Can she find a safe place to rebuild her life again or will it be too late?
Winters has an alluring mystery mixed in with the beautiful world of art history. The characters are well developed and original. While the story is a bit slow in the beginning, the story does pick up a little once the ex-husband comes into the picture. Since this review is complimenting the audiobook, Ferguson’s vocal relay is clear and concise throughout the story. She does provide differentiation between characters, but she is a very slow narrator. From the relay, it appears that the story is well-written; however, the narrator annunciates each word too drastically causing either a clucking over exasperating word formations that sound forced. If you are a reader of art mysteries and suspense, you may want to look into this book.
A copy of this book was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a four-star rating to Painting of Sorrow by Virginia Winters.
Q&A with Author Virginia Winters
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing? No, I wasn’t thinking about audiobooks at all until a friend and I were talking and she mentioned how much she liked listening on her car radio as she commuted. She’s read all of mine and suggested I try it out.
- How did you select your narrator? I worked with ACX, looking for an experienced narrator who was an actor and could give life to my characters.
- How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? I worked very closely with the narrator. She recorded chapter by chapter and I corrected as we went along.
- Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters? As she is an American based in Australia and my characters range from American to British to Canadian to Italian, some of the words were unfamiliar to her so I did give a few pointers about pronunciation.
- Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing? The plot revolves around a mystery concerning the loss of many artworks in a fire in Berlin in the closing days of WWII. Although there is no suggestion in historical accounts that the paintings were stolen, not burned,I imagined that one had survived and ended up on my character’s easel for conservation.
- What kind of books do you write? Women’s Crime Fiction and Suspense with a bit of romance.
- What makes your writing stand out from the crowd? I weave my plots around places I have visited. The imaginary landscape of my first two books contains elements from my childhood home, and the third, Bermuda, where some of my family lives. One of my books, The Child on the Terrace is set in Spain. Painting of Sorrow includes scenes set in Kingston, Ontario where I went to medical school, Paris, Venice and the Ottawa Valley area of Ontario where I grew up.
- What is the hardest part of writing – for you? Getting the words right. Who said that? Hemingway? But that’s the hardest.
- What advice would you have for other writers? Practice the craft every day. Read widely within and outside your genre. If you want to make an audiobook, study the options, and prepare to work closely with the narrator.
- What’s your next step? I’m finishing book 6 in my Dangerous Journeys series and working on marketing the audiobook of Painting of Sorrow. Next on the list is Book 2 of my Deadly Arts series.
Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card
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