Media Reviews

The Painting

‘Booth keeps up the suspense and brings her mystery to a satisfying conclusion while examining, with delicacy and insight, the corrosive personal cost of living in a Soviet satellite state.’ 

The Herald Scotland

 ‘What Booth does so well in The Painting is threading the mystery of the stolen painting through her narrative while maintaining pace and tension. Booth is an elegant writer who excels at inhabiting the intellectual headspace of her characters. While much of the action in The Painting takes place within Anika's head, the narrative never feels sluggish. Booth raises as many questions as she answers, and her artistry exists in leading the reader through Anika's thought processes as she tries to work out who may have stolen the painting and why.’

The Canberra Times


‘The subtle layering of the political and the personal make this an intriguing and suspenseful fiction read as well as a study in 20th century European history…. this novel offers us beautifully crafted prose and the strong evocation of a sense of place… The author also explores the diverse experiences of war, of totalitarianism, of the long aftermath of confinement, brutality and loss. The novel is rich and thought-provoking, skilfully placing us in the skins of others, those who leave and those who stay… Such is Alison Booth’s skill as a novelist that the stitches never show. We just know at the end that we have been given a perfectly made garment.’ 

Living Arts Canberra


‘There is a mystery about the painting, a story with its roots in the European past, and after it arrives in Australia it continues to cause trouble. This sort of story is always an intriguing one, luring the reader forward through the plot to find out where the object came from and what its significance might be. The romance sub-plot ties in well with the central mystery, keeping both Anika and the reader guessing. This is a carefully plotted tale in which the recent historical past is convincingly evoked and explored.’ 

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Melbourne


 ‘… the various twists and turns in the plot [made The Painting]… an engaging read. The author effectively illustrated the lifestyle and atmosphere in the two countries. She portrayed the violence and oppression of past times in Hungary, where lives were controlled, people lived in fear and learnt to trust nobody. In comparison the warmth, positivity, openness and opportunities offered in Australia, provide a sharp contrast.’ 

NB Magazine

‘Booth unfolds her carefully constructed, intricate plot, from Anika’s perspective… while exploring the consequences of totalitarianism and war. Booth weaves a nicely taut thread of suspense through her novel, pleasingly resolved at the end. Altogether a smart, absorbing piece of summer reading with a cast of perceptively drawn characters and I see Booth has a backlist to explore which I’m hoping is available here in the UK.’ 

A Life In Books

 ‘The final unravelling [of The Painting is] a vivid reminder of the disruption and suffering experienced by Hungarians during and after World War II.’

Historical Novel Society Reviews, UK