One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack

THE TIME COLLECTOR

A Novel


A thrilling page-turner from Gwendolyn Womack, the USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller.

Travel through time with the touch of a hand.

Roan West was born with an extraordinary gift: he can perceive the past of any object he touches. A highly skilled psychometrist, he uses his talents to find and sell valuable antiques, but his quiet life in New Orleans is about to change. Stuart, a fellow pyschometrist and Roan’s close friend, has used his own abilities to unearth several out-of-place-artifacts or “ooparts”—like a ring that once belonged to the seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher René Descartes,

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A thrilling page-turner from Gwendolyn Womack, the USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller.

Travel through time with the touch of a hand.

Roan West was born with an extraordinary gift: he can perceive the past of any object he touches. A highly skilled psychometrist, he uses his talents to find and sell valuable antiques, but his quiet life in New Orleans is about to change. Stuart, a fellow pyschometrist and Roan’s close friend, has used his own abilities to unearth several out-of-place-artifacts or “ooparts”—like a ring that once belonged to the seventeenth-century mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, but was found buried in prehistoric bedrock.

The relics challenge recorded history, but soon after the discovery, Stuart disappears, making him one of several psychometrists who have recently died or vanished without a trace. When Roan comes across a viral video of a young woman who has discovered a priceless pocket watch just by “sensing” it, he knows he has to warn her—but will Melicent Tilpin listen? And can Roan find Stuart before it’s too late?

The quest for answers will lead Roan and Melicent around the world—before it brings them closer to each other and a startling truth—in the latest romantic thriller from Gwendolyn Womack, the bestselling, PRISM Award-winning author of The Memory Painter and The Fortune Teller.

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  • Picador
  • Paperback
  • April 2019
  • 368 Pages
  • 9781250169235

Buy the Book

$17.00

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About Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack is the author of The Time CollectorOriginally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. She is the USA Today bestselling author of The Fortune Teller and the RWA Prism Award-winning reincarnation thriller, The Memory Painter. She resides in Los Angeles with her family.

Author Website

Praise

“A mystical thrill ride, spanning several continents. Flashbacks to different times in history enrich the story with tragedy and hope…For fans of historical fiction who like a hint of the supernatural and cosmic connection.” Booklist

“A compelling exploration of time, history, and our primal need to connect with the past, The Time Collector is also a rollicking adventure through ancient mysteries and the moving story of two stunningly drawn characters, chasing the answer to the question of what it means to be human.” —Charlie Lovett, New York Times bestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale and The Lost Book of the Grail

“A wonderfully intriguing tale, filled with the mystery of objects that tell a story. The Time Collector‘s fast pace and fascinating premise will delight history and romance lovers.” —Yangsze Choo, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghost Bride

“Gwendolyn Womack weaves a suspenseful tale that tackles the question of ‘time’—how it’s measured, its impact on nature and human consciousness—and I could hardly put it down! The Time Collector is a treasure trove of ancient artifacts, mysticism, and intrigue, sprinkled with a dash of romance—my very favorite things. What a book!” —Heather Webb, international bestselling author of Meet Me in Monaco

“Gwendolyn Womack creates such marvelous worlds, magnetic characters, and fascinating stories. The Time Collector is her best novel yet—a feast of historical delights that enrich a spellbinding mystery. I can’t wait to see where she takes us next.” —Glen Erik Hamilton, Anthony Award-winning author of Mercy River

The Time Collector is a glittering jewel of a novel, in which the past is something tangible that is all around us. With multi-faceted characters, a pulse-pounding plot, and threads of history beautifully woven into the story, this is a novel you won’t want to put down, and one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.” —Alyssa Palombo, author of The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel

The Time Collector is a fascinating tale of psychometrists, people who touch an object and sense the stories embedded within them. Pick up this book and you too will be transported across the globe and the centuries into exhilarating worlds filled with history and mystery, magic and mysticism, romance and danger. Its pages make the past come alive. Once you hold this object in your hands, you won’t be able to put it down.” —Amy Weiss, author of Crescendo

The Time Collector is more than a story; it’s a fantastical, inventive, and masterfully woven adventure across many lifetimes. Perhaps a future psychometrist will hold my copy of the book and know how much I enjoyed it. One can only hope.” —Therese Walsh, author of the critically acclaimed novel The Moon Sisters

Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever heard of psychometry before? Do you think it is the same as being a psychic?

2. Have you ever experienced a moment like Melicent or Roan have, where you touched an antique and had a sense of the story that might exist inside of it? Or felt a strong emotional tie to an object that you couldn’t explain?

3. What did you think of Sun’s character? Did her backstory surprise you? If so, in what ways?

4. Ooparts, or out-of-place artifacts, are real archaeological phenomena. If you were an archaeologist and had to discuss ooparts with a classroom, how would you explain their existence to your students?

5. Have you ever visited a crop circle? Do you think they are manmade, or is there a more mysterious force behind their creation?

6. Were you able to guess who was behind the abductions and the murders? What led you to suspect them? Or were you caught off guard like Melicent?

7. Roan decides not to take Melicent with him when he travels to Mexico. Did you empathize with his decision? What would you have done if you were in his shoes?

8. If you were a psychometrist, how would you use your ability? What would you accomplish?

9. One of the narrative’s central ideas is that objects hold memories that can reveal the hidden truths and secrets people carry with them. Which character surprised you the most?

10. At one point, Roan thinks, “Souls left echoes of their lives on earth. Was there a way to follow the echoes back to the original voice?” Do you agree with him? And do you think that kind of time travel will ever be possible?

11. Roan’s Time Room charts how time pieces have evolved over the centuries, from antiquity to the most advanced contemporary inventions. Where do you see our ability to understand and “capture” time heading in the future?

Excerpt

1. THE MUSIC BOX

EL PASO, TEXAS

Roan took off his gloves like a man about to duel.

He slid the supple black leather away one finger at a time. He had not been planning to touch anything today, but the enameled singing bird box set with pearls was proving too irresistible—he wanted to make sure the music box was what he suspected it to be.

Earlier in the day, he’d flown to El Paso and rented a car to drive to Hueco Tanks, the low-lying mountains in El Paso County. On the way, a strip mall antique store off the highway caught his eye and he pulled over. Stuart wouldn’t be at their meeting point for another two hours and Roan had time. As a general rule, he never missed an opportunity to visit an antique store, the more out-of-the-way the better. Some of his most exciting finds had been in unassuming places such as this.

The elderly shopkeeper glanced up from behind the counter when Roan entered and after a minute offered a greeting.

Roan hid a smile at the man’s appraisal. He was used to getting that look, being well over six feet, with dark hair that cut a dramatic swath to his shoulders. He always wore black, a severe choice, but he found it also helped detract from the fact that he always wore gloves.

Before Roan walked in, the man behind the counter had been squinting hard at an account ledger, tallying numbers while he ate an egg salad sandwich, but his attention was divided now that Roan was in the room. The only sound breaking the silence was the relentless ticking from a wall of cuckoo clocks and the drone from the rusted fan on the counter.

The shop owner finally got up the nerve to ask him, “Just passing through?”

Roan gave a distracted nod, his eyes surveying the showroom. Most pieces appeared to be from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the majority Texan and old Americana from Mexico all the way south to Panama. Not an inch of wall or table space was wasted. A dozen well-oiled saddles were on display next to rows of vintage typewriters, assorted crystal, and ceramics riddled with chips and hairline cracks. Old bar globe oil lamps stood clustered in the corner and antique country quilts hung on the wall like tapestries. Behind the register a cabinet with glass doors showcased guns from the Old West.

No other customer was in the store, and Roan doubted anyone else had been in that day. The entire space felt stale and forgotten, like a shoebox full of relics no one wanted. The old man looked to be in his early seventies and ready to retire—perhaps he would have years ago if he could afford it.

Roan’s eyes took in every bauble, knowing each one held a story. They were all doorways to the past, to histories tucked away. No item was immune, no matter how small. Even the copper spoon collection for ten dollars contained the moments of every hand that had ever held them.

The vintage costume jewelry glittering in the glass display under the register caught his eye. On top of the counter a delicate gold box, no bigger than a woman’s hand, sat like a crown on a piece of velvet.

Roan approached the box in amazement. He had no idea how it had made its way to Texas—or to the United States for that matter. The music box had to be the oldest antique in the store.

He tried to contain his excitement, already deciding he had to touch it.

“That’s French I believe, and real pearls,” the old man said, clearing his throat.

Roan studied the box, knowing it was from Switzerland, not France, and that if he turned the music box’s handle, an exquisite lifelike miniature bird would pop out. He could tell by the masterful craftsmanship the musical bird box had been made by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot—and not only were the pearls real, so was the gold.

“One of my finest pieces.” The man nodded, beginning to sound nervous.

A handwritten price tag dangled from the dainty wind-up handle with $1,200 scribbled in blue ballpoint pen. Next to the Civil War cavalry rifle hanging over the man’s head, the music box was the highest-priced item.

Roan bent down to continue his appraisal, not quite ready to touch it yet, not with someone standing so close to him.

“What brings you to El Paso?” the old man asked.

“Rock climbing,” Roan murmured.

“Oh, you must be heading to Hueco Tanks.” The man visibly relaxed now that he could peg Roan as an out-of-town climber. “We get all sorts of interesting folk visiting up there. You in some kind of rock band?”

“No.” Roan smiled at the man’s curiosity. He didn’t tell him he was in the same business as he was—antiques—though Roan handled one-of-a-kind rare items and by appointment only. He had sold a Jaquet-Droz musical bird box once. If his instincts were correct, this one would be worth more.

The phone behind the counter gave a shrill ring. The old man excused himself to answer it.

As soon as his back was turned, Roan seized the opportunity.He would touch the box quickly and be done before the man could turn back around. What the shop owner didn’t know was that he was a master psychometrist who’d been born with a rare gift.

With the speed gained from a lifetime of training, Roan brought his hands together in an elegant Surabhi mudra, a complex finger lock to help his mind break through the barrier.

Inhaling deeply, he placed his hand on the music box, wrapped his mind around the scrim of time, and pushed past it.

Copyright © 2019 by Gwendolyn Womack