Stroke of the Brush by Morgan Elliot, narrated by Melody Alice
Stroke of the Brush by Morgan Elliot

Stroke of the Brush by Morgan Elliot, narrated by Melody Alice

An atypical story that will stay in my mind for a long time

I’ve recently read in the Lesbian Audiobooks Facebook group that this book won the Speak Up Talk Radio International Firebird Literary Awards. I admit that I’d never heard of author Morgan Elliot, narrator Melody Alice or this particular award but my curiosity was piqued and I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did because it was a very enjoyable listen.


I’ll keep the blurb vague as this is not a typical formulaic romance and the less you know before reading this book, the more you are going to enjoy it. Riley Raynor is a 50-year-old eye surgeon who finds herself smitten with a painting of a dancer which sets in motion a journey across three countries in search of the one thing missing in her life.

This book is hard to categorize. To start with, the main protagonist is a doctor and there are a few medical scenes but it’s not a typical medical romance. It reminded me a bit of The Fifth Surgeon by Faith Prize which is also an unconventional story. I personally loved the medical scenes in Stroke of the Brush because they aren’t the classic emergency room scenes found in many medical romances. Having said that, I’m an optician myself and anything related to eyesight fascinates me so maybe you should take my endorsement with a pinch of salt.

As I mentioned above, this novel features a romance but it doesn’t follow the stereotypical formula of the genre. This story is more of a character study, Riley’s internal and external journeys to discover hidden parts of herself. Even though this novel is much character-driven, the very clever plot plays an essential role in how the story develops.

This book presents romance, adventure, angst and humor in equal parts, a tall order which isn’t easy to accomplish. Written in first person from the almost exclusive point of view of Riley, being in this character’s headspace is sometimes suffocating but the author cleverly mixes some hard parts with a great sense of humor. I found Morgan Elliot’s humor similar to Ann McMan’s in its clever, intellectual, and self-deprecating way. Riley’s best friend Ana is hilarious and brings much-needed levity to the plot.

Stroke of the Brush would have been an easy 5 stars for me if it wasn’t for the fact that the end felt a bit unrealistic and some decisions of secondary characters felt a bit contrived. Despite this, the positives outnumber the negatives in this story and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.

It’s the first time I’ve listened to Melody Alice narrating and she did a decent job though some voices seemed similar to each other. Her Spanish pronunciation was far from perfect but I’m aware that I’m being pedantic and most people won’t notice.

Overall, an atypical story that will stay in my mind for a long time. 4.5 stars.

Length: 8 hrs and 55 mins

Stroke of the Brush by Morgan ElliotStroke of the Brush by Morgan Elliot

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