Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Brushstrokes of Memory

Brushstrokes of Memory

Karen McMillan

Published by McKenzie Publishing, 1 April 2017, RRP $34.99


Brushstrokes of Memory is a compelling novel of love, lost memories and rediscovering dreams

On her thirty-second birthday, Rebecca is in high spirits. Life could not be better. She adores her husband of seven years, Daniel, a successful musician. She is carving out a reputation as a talented painter. She expects to juggle travel, motherhood and a stellar career in the future. But in 2013, she wakes in hospital after a head injury and finds out that nearly a decade of her life has been erased from her memory. Now nearly forty-two, she can’t remember anything after her thirty-second birthday, a decade fraught with changes she never would have anticipated – illness, infidelity,  betrayal, death and separation – and the disintegration of many of her dreams.

Feeling like she is still thirty-two, Rebecca has to grapple with suddenly being so much older and with a world that is more complicated than she remembers. As she learns information about her life from the last decade, she comes to realise she has completely lost her way. But if she can’t remember anything of nearly ten years, then could this be the chance for her to wipe the slate clean and start again?


‘A husband, a wife. Two dreadful secrets and a decade of lost memories… Brushstrokes of Memory is a beautifully crafted love story, written from the heart.’ Megan McChesney, books editor, NEXT Magazine


‘Karen McMillan writes delicately, honestly and intimately about marriage, cancer, loss, love and friendship. I particularly loved the New Zealand context – the familiar neighbourhoods, explosions of pohutakawa blossoms in summer and salty scents of the sea. 

‘In Brushstrokes of Memory Karen McMillan has written a very tender love story - not the typical tale of a young couple falling head over heels – but of a woman remembering herself – her mistakes, her grief and her courage. This is a story of a woman choosing the best version of herself and falling in love with her life.’ Hannah Tunnicliffe, author of A French Wedding.  

From the author:

‘The idea for Brushstrokes of Memory first came to me after reading a real-life account of a young mother in the UK who woke up after being in a coma and had forgotten fourteen years of her life. She didn’t recognise her husband, and she had no recollection of their meeting and marrying. Exploring a similar scenario, I decided my main character, Rebecca, would remember her husband and the early days of their marriage but not almost a decade fraught with unexpected changes. I wanted to explore the impact memories have in our lives, in both negative and positive ways. I’ve also spent time looking at the changes in the world from 2003 to 2013, especially the impact of social media in our daily lives.


Brushstrokes of Memory is entirely a work of fiction, apart from two aspects. Rebecca has the same breast cancer that I battled in 2011, and our experiences of this particular forced march are similar. And the second factual part of the book? Our beloved cat, Blong, features in the book as himself.’ – Karen McMillan

About the author:

Karen McMillan is the author of fiction and non-fiction. Her novels include the bestselling historical novels, The Paris of the East, and The Paris of the West. Her non-fiction books include Unbreakable Spirit: Facing the Challenge of Cancer in New Zealand; Feast or Famine; Unleash Your Inner Seductress and Love Bytes.  She has also undertaken several ghost-writing projects, the most recent is From the Blitz to the Burmese Jungle and Beyond.

Karen is a breast cancer survivor, and she lives in Auckland with her husband and a cat called Blong.

For more information about Karen and her writing visit

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