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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
22
Painting by Numbers
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 July 2012
When you first start reading you think you are heading into a family sage like many other family sagas. At the heart of the book are the complex relationships between mothers and their daughters - Minnie and Ellie; Ellie and Juliet; Juliet and Mollie. Minnie and Ellie, to all intents and purposes, were single mothers bringing up their daughters alone and struggling financially, whereas Juliet has the advantage of a husband and financial security. All three mothers seem to struggle to communicate with their daughters and vice versa, with the pattern repeating itself every generation.

However, as the story unfolds it becomes much more than the typical family saga. One lie is told, out of good intentions, and two people swear never to reveal the truth to anyone, no matter what the consequences. It is this pact which has repercussions over the years, causing heartache and worry, with the story gradually developing more and more sinister undertones until the end of the book, which comes as an absolute shocker.

It was a fantastic read, all the characters are extremely well rounded and believable and by the end you are glued to it because you just have to know what happens next in their lives. It can be sad, funny and filled with suspense all within a few pages. Highly recommended.
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on 22 April 2015
Excellent book following a family and their relationships through the second half of the Twentieth Century. I found the characters eminently believable (apart from one - more later) and it was very much a "I'll just read one more section before I ...."

I struggled with the character who was implied to have autism, possibly due to his genetics. Whilst certain of the autistic characteristics are classic I found the character more of a sociopath. The book seems to imply lack of feeling, empathy etc found in autism lead to the sociopathy later displayed by the character - autism does not necessarily lead to disregard for others and violation of the rights of others.
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on 30 August 2013
Because I read Lillian's Story, which I absolutely enjoyed, I thought I'd try another book from this author, and I am so glad I did. Painting by numbers was a revelation. It starts with Juliet in 1949, a young child being brought up in post war England, and the strained relationship with her Mother. It then jumps back in time to her Mother Ellie, in 1939, as a young lady, and there the threads of her story are laid down, so you begin to understand her later behaviour towards her daughter.
The two stories run side by side, at a gentle pace to start with, until they join at the same point in time, giving a different view point of these two women and their relationships and the intense drama that unfolds. For at its core, is a lie; a lie carried out with rational logic at the time, to protect the loved ones of their family, but a lie that goes on to define Juliet and her partner, and cause much anguish, as time, inevitably marches on. And so Sally has you gripped. Masterfully written, so you perceive both sides of the story, from those that do not know, and those that will do anything to hide the truth, this is a book I could not put down. Sally has done it again. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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on 1 September 2012
Like other readers, I downloaded this after finishing and thoroughly enjoying Lillian's Story. This is just as compelling and enjoyable, I found it impossible to put down until I'd finished it, paying the cost of an almost sleepless night as a consequence.

As someone else has said, the ending is a real shocker - nobody could possibly see that coming and I found myself reeling. I'm feeling very sad that I now have only one Sally Gardner novel to go, she's a very tough act to follow.
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on 14 November 2013
Although this book crossed several decades and generations it was easy to follow and full
Of twists and turns. Some if the characters I loved and some so dark it was hard to imagine they could come from the same family. It was a thought provoking and reflective read.
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on 22 May 2014
I absolutely loved this book and read it in a couple of days, as I couldn't put it down! The book is about complex and dysfunctional family relationships, secrets and lies. the Author manages to intertwine the stories told by 4 different family members, beautifully. The novel is very dark with lots of twists and turns - just how I like them!
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on 27 January 2013
An excellent read have really enjoyed all of Sally Patricia Gardner's books. I will certainly be reading more of her . I have recommended this author to several friends who have also enjoyed them.
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on 18 December 2012
A book based on generations of a family but with twists and turns, unexpected, and turned this book into one which was difficult to put down.and was thoroughly enjoyable.
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on 23 March 2013
This was a good read with good charcters and unusal family dynamics.I dont normally
read this genre of book, I normally read crime/thrillers.
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on 22 April 2013
only just started reading but can't wait to see what happens next ! my friend has just finished reading and told me it's worth a read .
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