• Becca McCulloch

Review: Painting Blue Water

Katherine Ross, a struggling artist-turned-successful-businesswoman, has a life many would envy. At only thirty-one years old, Katherine runs one of the top luxury real-estate firms in Manhattan, and she lives in a fabulous loft with her dreamy husband. That is, of course, until her marriage comes to a screeching halt, forcing Katherine to face the truths she’s been burying deep within her heart. She hasn’t been happy for a long time. And her life, while glamorous, is not the life she ever wanted.

Fighting through the fog of her confusion and pain, Katherine makes the daring, or possibly insane, choice to start over somewhere new. She leaves her business, her friends, and the city behind, while she ventures alone to the mountains in hopes of rediscovering her artistic roots in a place surrounded by beauty, peace, and quiet.

But life in Bluewater isn’t as simple as it may seem, and when her art career suddenly begins to take off in this unlikely setting, Katherine finds herself torn between two worlds. Does she pursue her lifelong dream and become the world-famous artist she always wanted to be? Or does she open her heart to the possibility of new dreams and a life she never imagined?


If I were a wealthy woman, I would be a patron of the arts. My entire basement would be filled with slightly-deranged dreamers high on color and words and low on monetary value. As such, this book was straight up every one of my metaphorical alleys. I loved the descriptions of colorful brushstrokes. I was hooked at the mention of a lesser-known Monet. And I even forgave the foray into fantasy when a woman paints a landscape and ends up with a gallery display in the Met. Hey - these are the things of dreams and dreamers.

The prose is quite beautiful. This introspective novel is a journey of memory and experience, not action. Even the moments of direct interaction with others get swallowed into the internal experience of the protagonist. I wish the novel had been in first person since the third person competed with rather than enhanced the complex emotional landscape. However, I am a first person afficionado - a view not shared by many readers.

On the critique side, however, I was disappointed in the ending. There was a broken promise in the ending that broke my heart. While I won't reveal why, the ending undid so much of the protagonist's promise that we looped right back to the beginning. The premise of the novel - that she would invest in her dreams - felt forgotten in the finale. I don't suppose many will mind, but I felt like that broken promise soured what could have been a truly remarkable novel.

I'll end with a hint of warning - the book contains a rape sequence that's rather forgotten by the next page. I'm not sure what it added since it's never a major plot point. The writer seems aware it's an assault but the assault never comes into play after it's been revealed. In fact, the next scene would not really have been possible for most recent rape victims or it would have been re-traumatizing, but this is never addressed. So if you're sensitive to such things, you may want to skip this novel or at least that portion of it.

All in all, it's a beautiful novel. I delved into a more in-depth critique because it was worthy of it. Leigh Fossan writes beautifully. She captures emotion without drowning you in it. I could watch her paint blue water all day long.

Purchase Links

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Amazon UK


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Author Bio – Painting Blue Water is the debut novel for Leigh Fossan. A creative soul at

heart, Leigh grew up with a paintbrush in her hand, and went on to study the arts in Florence, Italy. While abroad, Leigh was one of the few recipients of the Coluccio Salutati Award for Creative Writing. Today, Leigh is a professional artist and her paintings are collected around the world. She lives in Colorado with her artist husband, and their young daughter, who wants to be a scientist.

​You can see Leigh's paintings at www.lavfineart.com

Social Media Links –

WEBSITE: https://www.leighfossanauthor.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/leighfossanauthor/

INSTAGRAM: @leighfossanauthor

TWITTER: @LeighFossan

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