The Vision Painter series so far consists of 2 novels; Falling Colours and Casting Shadows. Unusual stories – they combine romance with paranormal and mystery whodunits. Ms Samuel is a gifted storyteller and these novels pull you in and keep you riveted.
Falling Colours tells the story of an Indian/Irish woman, Kiran, who lives in semi exile from her family in Connemara, Ireland. Unbeknown to her father’s Indian community she has inherited his gift as a Vision Painter, somebody who can literally paint a vision and have the vision come true. Her exile is primarily because girls cannot be Vision Painters, but her lesbianism doesn’t exactly help her relationship with her father.
When a client asks her to help him understand his wife’s suicide it launches them onto a roller-coaster ride involving stolen money, fake priests and murderous property developers. Mixed in with it all is the dream of a romance that seems doomed from the start.
Casting Shadows follows Kiran into the next phase of her life. She is happy and beginning to feel settled when her mother is taken ill. Rushing home to Kerala she discovers that somebody has painted a negative vision and caused her mothers sudden illness. As the mystery unfolds the evil follows her back to Ireland and impacts her new life. Eventually she is forced to confront the hidden past of the Vision Painter’s council and the hatred of those jealous of her and her fathers gifts.
Ms Samuel’s books flow and swirl with the creative gift of a bard, her words roll off the page in a way that make me think of oral storytellers sitting around the fire and weaving tales on dark winter nights.
The characters are multi-dimensional and stand out from the page, the main players well supported by a wide ranging cast in Ireland and India – good and bad are real people with back histories and deep emotional journeys.
In addition RJ Samuel brings the countryside to life – the cold, fresh, rain-swept green of Ireland and the hot, dry, dust of India play a strong part in the novels, grounding us in the where but adding to the history and sense of cultural pressure.
All in all excellent tales of real people, on individual journeys, with complex subplots that add to the overall completeness of the story. Well written, well executed and highly engrossing, let’s hope there is a third book on the way.