It’s funny, but for my first book in 2006 I landed fifteen strong, positive reviews in media outlets almost right away. (See Critic’s Page.) The reviews have certainly not been unkind for my novel, Painter of the Heavens, but it has been like searching for Nessie to find any reviewers at all! They are not panning the book – they’re not taking a look at all. Everybody’s always “swamped for at least six months” or “backed-up for a year.”
I’m thinking something has happened to the book industry since 2006.
Well, if you or someone you know reviews literary work, shoot an email to Bart@BartStewart.com. For now, please peruse the following to get the gist of what I have. You’ll find Painter an experience worth your while.
Deeply Drawn Characters
Larry B. Gray (Author of A Boy From Down East)
Painter of the Heavens by Bart Stewart is an intriguing novel of romance and crime. It will keep you reading and make you think.
The author developed a story that was very deep, with a lot of mystery that forced you to stay alert while reading the tale. The characters were well developed and, again, very deep. They will capture your imagination and mind. Bart Stewart did a great job of creating characters that were very real with personalities you could relate to.
Painter of the Heavens by Bart Stewart is a well written book and lovers of crime and mystery novels will enjoy it.
In a Word – Intriguing!
Shirley Ford (Book Reviewer, Dorset, UK)
Recently divorced Penny Sturdevant has returned from a trip, and not ready to return home just yet, finds herself driving aimlessly around the countryside, eventually stumbling upon a bookshop tucked away in the back of beyond. She meets the man she believes is the owner – the enigmatic poet, Lyle Chilton. There is an instant attraction.
Their relationship begins in secret, as Lyle insists on complete secrecy; he will explain why when the time is right, he tells her. Penny finds him to be a complex character, sometimes soft and loving, other times cruel and demanding, but she cannot resist him and finds herself returning again and again to his shop and the flat he lives in beneath the property. The secrecy of their affair is exciting. The story is told from Penny’s point of view and builds slowly. Some books you read start slowly, never seem to go anywhere, and eventually become boring, but in this book, you find yourself trying to anticipate what comes next.
I found Painter of the Heavens intriguing because I could never guess where the story was going. There was something about the character of Lyle Chilton that made me uneasy, who was he really? Was something awful going to happen to Penny? Then suddenly we find out what Lyle’s shocking secret is and why he had to hide it from her. The story then takes us on a totally different journey. One you just couldn’t have guessed at. I just wanted to keep reading!
Wonderful book! Couldn’t put it down!
By Amazon Reviewer Cindy T. (Pennsylvania)
I liked the character of Penny, a newly divorced woman trying to get on with her life. When she begins a relationship with Lyle, the book store owner, I’m thinking “Don’t go there!” – but she does. She is soon manipulated into his money-making scheme and the action picks up. Does Penny go through with it? I had to keep reading to see how it all turns out. Did not expect that ending!
Lori, at Lusty Penguin Book Reviews:
Painter of the Heavens is compelling psychological suspense by debut author Bart Stewart. The author pulls you in by telling the story mostly from protagonist Penny Sturdevant’s point of view. Recently divorced and turning thirty, Penny is a likable character at a crossroads in her life. Penny really wants to be part of something, but she hasn’t figured out what it is yet. Everything changes when she meets bookstore owner Lyle Chilton.
Penny and Lyle’s attraction is instantaneous. She loves Lyle’s looks, finds him interesting, and also senses that there is something special about him. Even though she has reservations about his request for a secret relationship, Penny falls hard for Lyle and complies with his request. Penny is a loyal character and willingly goes with Lyle’s manipulations because of her growing feeling for him. Lyle is a forger and a con man and needs Penny to help him pull off his biggest forgery to date. Lyle is a complicated character, and when he is tender and loving with Penny, he is endearing. But Lyle is a schemer, and you just don’t know what his true plans or his feelings toward Penny are, which makes him a difficult character to like.
I was completely captivated by their growing relationship and the variety of circumstances they found themselves in, which kept me turning pages to discover what would happen next. At one point in the story, the point of view shifts away from Penny, which I found a bit distracting and it pulled me out of the story. In the end, though, I needed to see how this story would conclude. Let me tell you Stewart doesn’t disappoint, because I didn’t see that ending coming at all! A unique plot with twists aplenty and intriguing characters make Painter of the Heavens a satisfying read.
Surprising Plot Twist Left Me Literally Laughing Out Loud!
Amazon Reader Review by BJG
I’m glad to have chosen to read Painter of the Heavens. It is an intelligent story, with something for everybody: mystery, thrills, romance, humor, and a surprising plot-twist that left me literally laughing out loud. Bart Stewart has a way with subtlety and nuance, and has paid close attention to his characters, scenery, and even “the Information Superhighway.” Two thumbs up, I’d say.
I Loved the Poetry!
Amazon Reader Review by Yoricke
I just finished Painter of the Heavens. It was such an enjoyable read.
I found myself excited thinking about opening up my tablet and finding out what would happen next. I loved the mix of poetry and novel, and the fact that the characters were book lovers themselves was an added bonus. The storytelling telling reminded me of a cross between Sidney Sheldon and Nora Roberts (Two of my favourite authors).
Bart Stewart has a beautiful gift, one I hope he will continue to share with us book lovers.