All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Blue Bath by Mary Waters-Sayer

on July 13, 2016

Blue BathThe Blue Bath
Mary Waters-Sayer
St Martin’s Press
2016, 320p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Kat Lind, an American expatriate living in London with her entrepreneur husband and their young son, attends an opening at a prestigious Mayfair art gallery and is astonished to find her own face on the walls. The portraits are evidence of a long-ago love affair with the artist, Daniel Blake. Unbeknownst to her, he has continued to paint her ever since. Kat is seduced by her reflection on canvas and when Daniel appears in London, she finds herself drawn back into the sins and solace of a past that suddenly no longer seems so far away.

When the portraits catch the attention of the public, threatening to reveal not only her identity, but all that lies beyond the edges of the canvases, Kat comes face to face with the true price of their beauty and with all that she now could lose.

Moving between the glamour of the London art world and the sensuous days of a love affair in a dusty Paris studio, life and art bleed together as Daniel and Kat’s lives spin out of control, leading to a conclusion that is anything but inevitable.

This book was…..weird. And a further reminder why infidelity books so rarely ever work for me.

I thought this one might be an interesting exploration of what it might be like for someone to be confronted with a past great love that was never truly resolved, perhaps delve into a struggle. But to be honest, it wasn’t really like that at all. Kat’s husband is pretty much absent throughout the entire novel, you don’t get a chance to meet him or care for him, he might as well not even exist. And the flashbacks of Kat and Daniel’s relationship years ago in Paris didn’t really do much to persuade me it was a great love. It was poorly executed, bringing visions of an unhealthy attachment between two characters who had little idea about anything and wasn’t presented in a way where either character had much going for them.

In the present day, Kat hears that her long-ago lover is having a showing and decides to go. There she’s confronted by paintings that are entirely of her – parts of her, that make up a whole. In their state, just pieces of her on each canvas, it’s not immediately obvious who the girl on canvas is but the more time Kat begins to spend with Daniel, the more likely it will be and everything she has will be lost.

Characters do stupid things left, right and centre in this novel. Kat going to the showing itself wasn’t totally stupid because I think it’s somewhat normal to be curious about a former flame that you haven’t seen in a long time but it also wasn’t really the wisest thing to do either. And if you turn up and find out that some guy has only been painting you for the past 20 years, just hundreds of canvases featuring different part of you, isn’t that, I don’t know….. a little ok a lot creepy? Kat seems to find it fascinating, that for the last two decades her former love has been so obsessed by her and their relationship and the end of it that it’s all he’s been able to successfully paint. With her husband conveniently out of the country and their son even more conveniently away on holiday at his paternal grandparent’s, Kat feels free to indulge in pretty much any sort of behaviour that she likes and doesn’t seem to at all think about the consequences. Or even really care about them, to be honest.

But the weirdness of that is nothing compared to the ending of the novel. It actually really annoyed me in a way – I found it incredibly random and it seemed to make so little sense. Even worse, Kat never really had to face the choice she needed or, nor the consequences of her actions – all of that was taken away from her. I really dislike books that leave me feeling unsatisfied and unfortunately this one was definitely that type of book. Daniel and Kat are not only unlikable but they’re also uninteresting. I found nothing about Kat’s personality intriguing or even notable. She seemed removed from so many things – her marriage, the renovation of her home, even her affair with Daniel in a way. The only things that seemed to humanise her at all were her son (when he was there, but not enough to actually make a decision about what she was doing) and her feelings about her mother. Everything else just made Kat seem like a selfish robot, doing whatever it was she felt like with little regard for others.


Book #139 of 2016




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