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PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise Hunter

“Husbands have refinanced the family home and moved the equity into their business; quite often, they will set up separate bank accounts with separate mailing addresses.  It is called insurance.” He pauses soberly. “You would think more women would do it, instead of being stupid, trusting imbeciles.” Chapter 6


PAINTING JULIANA is definitely about a Texas housewife which reflects the Texas attitude and spirit about women, and then it is not.  It is a story about dreams, careers, lawyers, light and dark, wind and tornados, canvas and brushes, mental health and psychological abuse. The story is Juliana’s experience of her lawyer husband throwing her out of the house and telling her they are getting a divorce.  She has only what she can grab in 20 minutes and put in her car and by the time she gets to the gas station her credit cards are cancelled and she has only the funds in her wallet.  She is court ordered to leave her 14 year old twins with their father.  He invents lies to tell the daughter and the son.  It takes the whole length of the book and Juliana figures it out and gets a very classy revenge.

Our first introduction to Juliana she is a seven year old and about to start second grade and a dream sequence/ nightmare begins to frighten her awake each night.  The dreams begin when her mother hangs up black – out curtains to keep the outside – outside.  Her mother has experienced so much racism that she has become an agoraphobic and she never goes outside.  Juliana’s parents are both CPA’s and she is not aware that her father is a painter, whose parents insisted he get a safe career and not paint.  He has lost his dream and his beautiful wife insists that he release his painting activity even more.

The writing is fairly fast paced and I think that helps the story move forward and not drag; the reader truly wants to know what happens next and is left guessing the outcome often.  There is a great deal of adultery in the story and subtle but stealth nasty maneuvers using the law.   Partners appear to be working with the other, yet we find that maybe these actions are part of their destruction.  This is Hunter’s first novel.   I think her writing will get better and I am looking forward to her second book.   My copy of the book is an uncorrected proof and had several unfinished sentences and abrupt transitions, which I am sure the editors will correct before the sale copies are sent to stores.

How can a woman endure so many problems at once and remain emotionally open and parent her children in stolen moments and car pool?  Alzheimer’s, no money, parent’s house in disrepair, only an old Indian motorcycle to drive, bills piling up, brother angry and not helpful and then this reoccurring dream; Juliana holds on – barely.  The divorce papers fly out the window, Texas sized problems and no true friends.

tlc logo TLC Online Booktours and Martha Louise Hunter,  sent me a copy of PAINTING JULIANA  for review and it was quite the exciting read and a warning to lots of women who are ignoring what is happening to them or are living someone else’s dream.   A woman finding her true self, the extremely hard way – PAINTING JULIANA

Martha Louise Hunter Online
Martha Louise Hunter on Facebook 
Martha Louise Hunter’s Blog

PAINTING JULIANA was a finalist in the Writers League of Texas Mainstream Fiction Contest.

Related:
The Fixer 
Little Island
The Idea Of Him
Bellagrand

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13 Responses to “PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise Hunter”

  1. martha louise hunter Says:

    Dear Patricia,

    I love this review!! You nailed it!

    I’m thrilled to pieces that you loved the book! Whew!

    Your insight into Juliana’s journey is right-on, and the way that you have zeroed-in on the meaning of her story is astounding. You have an amazing way with words.

    Getting such a wonderful review makes all of the agonizing hours at the computer worth it! :) I’m incredibly grateful and it truly means the world to me.

    Thank you so much, Patricia, and if there’s ever anything I can do to return your kindness, please just say the word! And, thank you for everything you’re doing for all of us readers!

    With all my best,

    Martha Louise Hunter

    Patricia Reply:

    martha louise hunter,

    Wow that makes my day to hear such kind words about my writing and understanding of the book. I do try to hit the nail on the head as often as possible and I want folks to look forward to reading the books I share.

    I also want to point out that I am aware that I am sharing thoughts about your “baby” and want to point out good writing and story lines

    I was a consultant in Texas on Women’s Health Clinics – I know how Texas menfolk feel about women and act on their fillings – your book was not even half way to the abusive folks I worked with in government and medical systems over the years.

    Yes, you could help me – do you know how book reviewers are getting paid these days – since the book stores, newspapers, and magazines have stopped paying a percentage. Would you keep your eyes and ears open to some of the creative ways reviewers are creatively filling this gap….and let me know, as you promote your book. I would appreciate that very much – Thank you.

    Not divorced but have been in this kind of painful situation recently
    Patricia recently posted..PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise HunterMy Profile

    martha louise hunter Reply:

    patricia, I’m sorry I’m only now seeing this — by mistake, I didn’t hit the be notified of response posts or whatever it’s called!!! how interesting that you were a consultant for Texas on Women’s Health Clinics!

    I wish I knew the exact answer to your question — book reviewers being paid. for example, here in Austin, we have the American Statesman & Austin Chronicle (not a newspaper per se… more community & arts based). The reviewers are on staff & I know that’s also true in other Texas cities of which I’m aware. There is a freelance man who’s pitching a piece on me to the San Antonio Express – I haven’t asked him how he’s compensated by the paper, but I’m sure he’s not doing it out of the goodness of his heart. There are so many papers who rely on Kirkus Reviews & run those in the Sunday paper. The Statesman does that, for example – a handful of them. Organizations get freebies as far as I know… for example, the Writers League of Texas, I do reviews for them. What a pain in the butt, so I REALLY appreciate what you’ve done for me! The guy who’s pitching my article to the San Antonio paper, i’ll pick his brain, and YES, i’ll keep my eyes & ears open!!!!!

    All my best — you’re terrific. MLH

    Patricia Reply:

    Martha Louise Hunter

    It is taking me a bit of time too to respond to your great suggestions…Thank you

    I am having bone graft surgery on my jaw this month and I am hoping to figure out a new way to get paid for my reviews by September …. with all the changes right now I may just have to do it for books only.

    Yes Texas was an interesting place to consult as was being on the Cleft Palate Task Force with John McCain – it was as though you were a vapor in the room – until they wanted to blame you for something! At least we got 12 Women’s Health Care clinics up and running – now they are all gone hmmm

    Thank you for your insights and it gave me a new perspective and direction.
    Patricia recently posted..SWEET TOOTH: A Memoir ~Tim AndersonMy Profile

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – I’m not sure if I could take all of the negativity, HOWEVER, the sentence that gave me a flicker of hope was:

    “It takes the whole length of the book and Juliana figures it out and gets a very classy revenge.”

    After all the woman had been through, I’d really, truly want to see her get “very classy revenge.”
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted..It’s All in the TanninsMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    There is a realness in the fictional story and a warning to women which I think they need to heed – Texas is not the only state which is abusive – Ohio is worse – far worse!

    I believe young girls should know and understand their vulnerabilities before they get married and certainly learn about their rights and responsibilities.

    Juliana did get a sweet revenge when she figured out the dream and learned about her father’s art career and the stories. Maybe even more importantly when several smart women befriended her and supported her to a better outcome

    True friendship is vital for all women but particularly in such crisis

    I think the hurt had to be big enough and exciting enough to get women to read and understand this story.
    Patricia recently posted..PAINTING JULIANA: A Novel ~Martha Louise HunterMy Profile

  3. Martha Louise Hunter, author of Painting Juliana, on tour June 2014 | TLC Book Tours Says:

    […] Thursday, June 19th: Patricia’s Wisdom […]

  4. Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours Says:

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

    Patricia Reply:

    Welcome it was an interesting read

  5. Deborah Barker Says:

    An excellent review Patricia – you seem to have a gift for bringing a story to life without giving it away. I hope this book does well and look forward to seeing it ‘out there”. :-)

    Patricia Reply:

    Deborah,
    Thanks for your kind words…

    I am looking forward to reviewing your book…with baited breath

  6. martha louise hunter Says:

    me again, patricia. says just below this: “a feed could not be found at http://www.marthalouisehunter.com/. I don’t understand what that is. is it something I need to address?

    thanks – MLH :)

    Patricia Reply:

    This link is working just perfectly for me…I will will send your comment on to IT Girl and see what she says!
    Patricia recently posted..SWEET TOOTH: A Memoir ~Tim AndersonMy Profile