I have always had an interest in archeology. At one point I considered majoring in archeology in college; but that was before I fully understood the requirement for working outside, under the burning sun, for hours on end. At that point my intellectual interest came crashing up against my physical reality that I’m not really an outdoor person. Being extremely fair, I’ve always spent more time inside than outside; but that was only part of the problem. In truth, I’m being honest when I describe myself as a marshmallow.
I don’t like to camp. We did take our children on a week-long wagon train in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone when they were young, and yes, I slept in a tent I pitched, inside a sleeping bag. The biggest concession to comfort was the wagon train company provided each of us with a bit of cushion to go under said sleeping bag to make it a little easier. Still, we were on our own trying to find level ground for the tent, not to mention putting it up every evening at a new campsite and taking it down the next morning. Since our children were young, that meant Steve and I had to do everything times two, they were simply too young to do their own tent without major help from mom and dad.
I’ve never been happier to arrive back at a hotel in my life as when we returned to Jackson Hole, Wy. The first thing I did was hog the shower in our hotel room, and I didn’t even feel guilty about it. Of course, the children thought being dirty was lots of fun and Steve was gracious about waiting for me to peel off at least the first five layers of dirt and campfire soot.
The joke in our family since then has been that camping for mom is staying at (insert name brand of most any average hotel/motel here). Roughing it? For me that would be when we are staying somewhere there isn’t a pool.
So, you can see why archeology and I were never going to be a marriage made in heaven. I was either going to have to develop a love of the outdoors and an acceptance of all those pesky flying insects…not likely; or I was going to have to feed my interest in past cultures through books. Guess which one won?
Of course, I also had a deep interest in mystery books, probably one that was instilled in my from my early encounters with Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew. I moved through those books so fast, by the time I was in the third or fourth grade my dad introduced me to Agatha Christie and Rex Stout and I was off on a lifelong love of reading.
At some point, I decided to branch out from my favorite authors and also, expand the sub-genre of books I read. It was a decision I’m delighted to have made, and one that led me to THE TIME COLLECTOR by Gwendolyn Womack. Once again, I had the opportunity to read this book courtesy of NetGalley, and I’m so happy I did. What follows is the honest, unbiased review of the book which I will submit to NetGalley.
THE TIME COLLECTOR by Gwendolyn Womack crosses several sub-genres of books. It has elements of historical fiction based or inspired on actual events, a bit of romance, a bit of mystery, even a murder that is revealed late in the story. All these different factors combine to make a fascinating, delightful read that defies labels or any type of formula.
From the start of the book, the reader is captivated by the central character, Roan, a gifted paranormal psychometrist, who can touch an object and “see” emotions and events that people experienced while holding or owning the object. His gift, which has elements of being a curse at times, is so pronounced he goes everywhere wearing gloves so he can avoid touching things unless he specifically decided to “read” them.
As the book opens, Roan is supposed to meet a friend, another psychometrist, to do some rock climbing which is his way of releasing tension from his psychometric work. The trouble begins when his friend doesn’t show up, something totally out of character.
As Roan decides to investigate, he begins a trip he has schedule, only to stumble on a television show while in his hotel room that features an episode of the Antiques Roadshow and a young woman, Melicent, who brings a valuable watch to be valued. When the appraiser asks her where she found it, she reveals she uncovered it at a flea market and had suspected it had value from the images she got when she touched it.
That episode puts Roan and Melicent on a collision course. He feels compelled to meet her, but at their first exchange he leaves without talking with her. Then he learns there are other psychometrist who have disappeared and he begins to fear for their safety as well as Melicent’s. That sends him back to her just as someone tries to burn down her house with Melicent and her brother Parker in it.
These events bring Melicent and Roan together with him working to try and keep her safe while he tries to learn what is happening to his psychometrist friends. The path is full of danger and intrigue, along with encounters with some significant treasures having belonged to people over the decades and centuries. When Roan holds some of these objects, the point of view switches to the historical event he is experiencing and is written as though he is in the room, experiencing the event at the same time.
This switching of time zones can be a little confusing initially, but soon the reader becomes accustomed to the writing style and it doesn’t even create a blip on the radar in terms of pacing. The book itself is so well paced you can get lost for big chunks of time because you don’t want to put it down. The pace accelerates to a exciting conclusion for the final few chapters. At that point, it would be difficult to put it down without finding out how the book ends.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a story that combines wonderful character building and a plot that follows its own path. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will be looking for other books by Ms. Womack in the future. My thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan-Picador for providing me with an advanced digital copy of this book. This review and these opinions are completely my own.
So, have I piqued your interest? I hope so as this book has something for just about everyone. The book is scheduled to be released on April 16, 2019, so now is the time to check with your local bookseller if you want to pre order, or ask your library if they are planning to get the book and if so, get on the waiting list. As always, happy reading.