Monday, October 16, 2006

Lauraine Snelling's The Brushstroke Legacy ~ Reviewed

The Brushstroke Legacy
By Lauraine Snelling
Published by Water Brook
ISBN 1-57856-789-0

Forbidden. Hidden. Denied.

Can art be powerful enough to endure?

Ragni Clauson's work, relationships, and body all seem to be falling apart. And she isn't convinced that spending her vacation fixing up her grandmother's cabin and supervising her rebellious teenage niece, Erika, will offer any much-needed rejuvenation,

As Ragni and Erika clean, they begin to uncover the secret paintings and lie of Nilda, Ragni's ancestor who lived in the cabin in the early 1900s. Ragni doesn't know how much she has in common with her great-grandmother, but it becomes clear that Nilda faced her own struggles. Taking care of home and menfolk, fighting off locusts, raising her daughter, and finding time to paint in the midst of it all were not easy tasks. Will Nilda's passion for enduring art re-ignite Ragni's artistic soul a century later?

Weaving together the stories of three generations of women, The Brushstroke Legacy stirs us to believe that no matter the circumstances, we are called to sue our gifts—never knowing when they might bring a stranger to a new place of hope.

Snelling presents an almost epic story of the women in one family and their relationships with one another. Ragni never knew her great-grandmother, Nilda, and yet the woman's spirit lives on in Ragni through her art. And art is the one thing that could possibly resurrect the close relationship Ragni once had with her niece, who has morphed into a Goth teen.

It was interesting to see Nilda in her world, and how her art helped her cope. I'd never thought about hard-working farm people as artists. I feel the only thing left unresolved was the farmer Mr. Peterson's strong aversion to Nilda's painting. I wanted to know why and kept looking for the answer. I never found it.

However, if you enjoy deep characterization and a great character arc, especially in Erika, I recommend The Brushstroke Legacy—a wonderful read, with characters that will live on in your imagination.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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