The Dream Collector: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour.

The Dream Collector immerses the reader into the exciting milieu of late 19th Century Paris when art and medicine were in the throes of revolution, art turning to Impressionism, medicine turning to psychology. In 1885, Julie Forette, a self-educated woman from Marseilles, finds employment at the infamous Salpêtrière, hospital and asylum to over five thousand disabled, demented and abandoned women, a walled city ruled by the famed neurologist and arrogant director, Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot.  

Julie Forette forms a friendship with the young, visiting intern Sigmund Freud who introduces her to the altering-conscious power of cocaine. Together they pursue the hidden potential of hypnotism and dream interpretation. After Freud receives the baffling case of the star hysteric, Sabrine Weiss, he is encouraged by Julie to experiment with different modes of treatment, including “talking sessions.” Their urgent quest is to find a cure for Sabrine, Princess of the Hysterics, before Dr. Charcot resorts to the radical removal of her ovaries.  

In Paris, Julie finds a passion for the new art emerging, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, and forms friendships with the major artists of the period, including Pissarro, Monet, and Degas. Julie becomes intimately involved with the reclusive Cezanne only to be seduced by the “Peruvian Savage” Paul Gauguin.  Julie is the eponymous ‘Dream Collector’ collecting the one unforgettable, soul-defining dream of the major historical figures of the period. 

Praise for The Dream Collector: 

“Meek never fails to stun and impress with his evocation of scenes and events, of sights and dialogue, and of peoples’ reactions to them.”

~ HFC Reviews

“Tribute must be paid to the obvious and clear literary skills of the author R.w. Meek and to his ability to invoke historic personages and the Belle Époque he so evidently adores.”

~ Julian de la Motte, award winning author of Senlac

                                                        EXCERPT 6

                                          Sabrine Freed from the Asylum

Not wishing to endure one moment more inside the city of the misbegotten, I escorted her as quickly as possible out the gate. On the other side of Boulevard de l’Hopital, the carriage and the coachman waited, he bundled ear to toe in a ragged coat and thick scarf, the reins ready in his hands, the two roans exhaling white feathery plumes of mist.

         She eagerly climbed into the back cab while I gave the driver the written address. But I instructed him to first taxi leisurely through the Bois du Boulogne. We now had time to do as we wished. 

         The horses fell into a rhythmic trot, our carriage car rocking us gently as Sabrine stayed intently interested in the passing scenery. She took to humming cheerfully, occasionally turning with a reassuring smile. I thought her smile expressed the happiness of being liberated, of the fact that we were once more together to share the adventure of life. No one under the sun, moon or stars would separate us again.   

         After a pleasant ride through the park, I signaled the driver, tapping the little window, and he steered the horses toward Montmartre. The moment seemed appropriate to hand her the present I had saved for weeks. “A diary to write down your thoughts, and…” I so hoped, “your poems, but only if you wish.” My sister did not disappoint me.  When we reached our destination, her new home, she showed me the poem she had composed. 

                                        you are vellum to me 

                                        crisp at the edges 

                                        i want to slow-turn 

                                        your slim-paged ivory self 

                                        and peruse you voraciously! 

         We fell into an embrace. So much was waiting to make our lives whole again.

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R.w. Meek has a Master’s degree in Art History from the American University in Washington, D.C., his areas of expertise are Impressionism and Post-Impressionism, with a particular interest in Vincent van Gogh.  He has interned and conducted tours at the National Museum of American and the National Gallery of Art. In 2022 and 2023 five of his chapter excerpts from his soon to be published novel “The Dream Collector” were either finalists or published in various literary journals. The author has also won the Palm Beach Book Festival Competition for “Best Writer in Palm Beach’ his manuscript judged by a panel of NYT Best Selling authors. “The Dream Collector” also received gold and silver medals in the Historical Fiction Company literary contest and earned runner-up for the “Best Historical Fiction Novel’ of 2022. 

The author was born in Baltimore, adventured in Europe for many years, and recently moved from Delray Beach, Florida to Santa Clarita, California.  His wife is a psychologist, sculptress, playwright and stand-up story teller.  His daughter Nora is a story board artist in the animation world and resides in Hollywood, California. His favorite writers are Dostoevsky, John Fowles, and Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 

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