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Book Review: Beneath the Swirling Sky

Beneath the Swirling Sky by Carolyn Leiloglou


3.8 rounded to 4 stars


Favourite Line: “He had the sensation that he was a canvas and Jesus was covering up all the wrong inside him with fresh paint.”


So I’ll admit, the opening scene did not hook me at all. I even put the book aside because I was, well, bored. I felt there was too much telling, and not enough showing, and it was pretty slow-going. But, luckily, I did come back to it and I’m glad I did because I did thoroughly enjoy the tale. It was a very creative story. I loved the idea of being able to go inside of paintings, each character having a specific gift/superpower related to painting, etc. It was fascinating.


Overall, pretty well-written, but simplistic. The storytelling was great. This being said, there were a few cases of “telling” where I think “showing” would’ve been far more powerful. While the characters weren’t necessarily flat per se, I think if the author showed the character’s emotions more, it would’ve been easier to relate to them and see them as being more fleshed out. This being said, Vincent and Georgia were well-fleshed out overall.


One thing that bothered me: There was a mention that Van Gogh painted the church in the shadows because he felt he connected with God more so in nature. I get that this could just be fact regarding Van Gogh’s beliefs, but as someone who is Catholic and knows the value of actually going to church, I did not like what seemed to be implied here. This being said, maybe I was reading too into it and that was not the intended message. I mean, by all means, praying surrounded by God’s beauty in nature is wonderful, but it does not mean attending church is not important.


There’s a mention of naked people in paintings toward the end of the story, but nothing graphic.


Chapter 23 was my favourite. Jesus calming the storm has always been one of my favourite bible verses. I loved being inside that painting with Vincent. That was a very well-written, thrilling, and beautiful scene in the book and my hat goes off to the author for that one for sure.


This being said, later there’s a line about Jesus seeing the worst parts in Vincent and still offering “acceptance”. I”m not sure “acceptance” really fits. Obviously Vincent needs to cast off his sins and that is what Jesus wants for him too. It’s also clear this is the goal. But “acceptance” in my mind seems to encompass both good and bad. Maybe it could’ve said something like how he still saw promise in Vincent or something along those lines. But, maybe I’m reading too into it here or misunderstanding.


Overall, I enjoyed this story. I plan to follow the author to see what else she releases.


One thing that bothered me: There was a mention that Van Gogh painted the church in the shadows because he felt he connected with God more so in nature. I get that this could just be fact regarding Van Gogh’s beliefs, but as someone who is Catholic and knows the value of actually going to church, I did not like what seemed to be implied here. This being said, maybe I was reading too into it and that was not the intended message. I mean, by all means, praying surrounded by God’s beauty in nature is wonderful, but it does not mean attending church is not important.


There’s a mention of naked people in paintings toward the end of the story, but nothing graphic.


Chapter 23 was my favourite. Jesus calming the storm has always been one of my favourite bible verses. I loved being inside that painting with Vincent. That was a very well-written, thrilling, and beautiful scene in the book and my hat goes off to the author for that one for sure.


Overall, I enjoyed this story. I plan to follow the author to see what else she releases.

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