win prizes
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Historical Fiction   Books of the Month   Literary Fiction   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
Download an extract Discuss on Facebook Discuss this book on our Literary Contemporary Facebook group Share this book

Lovereading view...

May 2017 Book of the Month.

A rather beautiful and entirely captivating tale, set in several time periods, framing passion, deception, love and loss. In the 1600’s artist Sara channels her despair at the death of her daughter, in 1958 the painting ‘At the Edge of a Wood’ is stolen, and in 2000 the various strands all start to finally flow together, will they form a network of answers? Dominic Smith writes so compassionately, yet he quite literally paints with his words, at times shaping them with hammer hard blows. The intimacy of emotions felt, creates a connection between the three time spans, while the painting exists within touching distance yet somehow outside of time. ‘The Last Painting of Sara de Vos’ is a deeply moving tale, using an intriguing gap in history to paint a vividly striking picture, and I can thoroughly recommend it. ~ Liz Robinson


The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith

In the 1600s Sara de Vos loses her young daughter suddenly to illness. In her grief, she secretly begins painting a dark landscape of a girl watching a group of ice skaters from the edge of a wood. In 1950s New York, Martijn de Groot has At the Edge of a Wood hanging above his bed. Though it is a dark, peculiar painting, he holds it dear and when it is stolen, he is bereft. In Brooklyn, struggling art student Ellie Shipley accepts a commission to paint an intricate forgery of the painting, not realising that her decision will come to haunt her successful academic career. Gorgeously written, brilliantly conceived and executed, filled with tension and revelation, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is one of those rare books that stops time as you read it. This is a novel you will want to revisit for the sheer pleasure of watching a master at work.


'Fiendishly clever and beautifully written.' The Times

'Smith has pulled off something authentic: a complex novel, full of painterly description, that slides between centuries with surprising fluidity.' Sunday Telegraph

'An elegant page-turner that carries its erudition effortlessly on an energetic plot.' New York Times Book Review

'The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is a deeply researched, beautifully written, intellectually absorbing novel that also has the qualities of a page-turner...a tremendous story of art, deception, love, ambition and the place of women in the world, and in history. From the opening pages you know you are in the hands of a writer at the top of his game.' The Australian

'Written in prose so clear that we absorb its images as if by mind meld, The Last Painting is gorgeous storytelling: wry, playful, and utterly's fiction that keeps you up at night - first because you're barrelling through the book, then because you've slowed your pace to a crawl, savouring the suspense.' Boston Globe

About the Author

Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith holds an MFA from the University of Texas, Austin. His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and various other awards. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, such as The Atlantic Monthly. He is the author of three previous novels: The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre, The Beautiful Miscellaneous and Bright and Distant Shores.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

4th May 2017


Dominic Smith

More books by Dominic Smith
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website

Author's Facebook Latest

Loading facebook updates...
Loading twitter updates...


Allen & Unwin


384 pages


Historical Fiction
Books of the Month
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



I love reading because my cares & woes vanish for an hour or two whilst I read of the joys, adventures, lives of the characters in the book.

Jennifer Moville

Lovereading is pitched at just the right level for all the various types of people who enjoy reading in its many forms.

Pam Woodburn

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham

The selections are so varied and the reader reviews are so helpful. A fantastic website for those who love books.

Ann Quintilla

If you love reading, then you'll love Lovereading! Full of tips & info for every discerning reader.

Lynne Rapson

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston

If you LOVE reading then you will love LOVEREADING! It's a 'novel' idea. Seriously though I could not recommend them enough.

Rebecca Whymark

Lovereading takes the guesswork out of finding your next read with "if you like you'll love" and extracts to help with your decision.

Sarah Bruch