Thursday, 12 September 2013

Warpaint Review

WARPAINT  Warpaint by Alicia Foster


 Warpaint by Alicia Foster is a compelling tale of truth and lies, tragedy and black comedy, loosely based on the lives of four painters of the time.

England, 1942: a dark world of conflict, hardship and subterfuge where information is a matter of life and death and art has become a weapon.

In a gothic villa deep in the woods near Bletchley Park, the 'Black' propaganda team use intelligence to make propaganda designed to demoralise the enemy. For Vivienne Thayer, employed as an artist at the villa, the war has worked out well so far, she has an indulgent husband and a new lover. And while the government quibbles over what cannot be shown officially, at the villa there are no such restrictions - but where does the subterfuge end?

Meanwhile, on the Home Front, three women painters - Laura Knight, Faith Farr and Cecily Browne - have been tasked by the War Artist's Advisory Committee with recording wartime life, brightening the existence of a public starved of culture, and summoning up the bulldog spirit in their art. Together they must battle with the men in power, including Churchill himself, to control the stories that can be told.

As the course of the war turns and the lives of both groups collide, each woman must ask herself what can be revealed and what must be concealed, even from those closest to them.

Lisa's Review - 4 out of 5 stars

Warpaint is a historical fiction book based around the time of WW2, but instead of focusing on the men at war. Warpaint introduces us to four women, each a really well written, strong female character.

Starting at Bletchley Park, we meet Vivienne, a part of 'Black', a team that uses propaganda to attempt to distract the opposition. Embroiled in an affair with a German who is now trying to help the opposition, Vivienne has to try and  figure out if all is as it seems at Black's headquarters.

The other three female characters are soon introduced, three artists who are hired by the WA AC to make uplifting memento's of the wartime goings on to boost the morale of the country. All three of these women live very different lives - Laura, an older lady finding her everyday life mundane and wants to tackle something more challenging, Cecily, a young woman from a well off family who's fiance is away fat war, and Faith, on the run from her husband with his secrets and fearing him finding her.

I really enjoyed the fact that I wasn't reading one story, but four, and yet they all came together at the end to bring it back to one story. I did find myself preferring one or two of the women's stories more than the others, and for me this then made the book feel like it was slowed down, and I found myself rushing through some of the chapters as I felt they were long drawn out and I just wanted to find my way back to some of the more exciting story lines.

Throughout the book, not all the characters are fictional, and some of them were actual historical figures, which gave the book more meaning as you know some of the people were real, or the events had really happened, and it gave the book an edge, something to think about. I even found myself doing some research on some of the bits and pieces that U read to understand them even more. The mix of fiction and non fiction was done really well and created a very interesting story to read.

I did enjoy Warpaint, I just felt there were a few slow parts, especially in the middle, that made it slightly hard to read, especially if this isn't the kind of book you would usually go for, but the characters and the ending of the book made up for it.


Purchase Links

Amazon UK Warpaint