The Dream Collector | An Evocative Historical Fiction Novel of 19th Century Paris

The Dream Collector
“Sabrine & Sigmund Freud”
Book 1
by R.w. Meek
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
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Enjoy an Excerpt: Gauguin in Fragments
The shameful, shameless truth, Paul Gauguin deeply impressed me the moment I set eyes on him.  The dark hair which fell rakishly about his neck, the dark, heavy-lidded eyes with their promise of sensual pleasure, and his strong, hawkish nose which he claimed had been broken in a boxing match. Such were among the features I found attractive.  A grace in the way he moved, a lazy elegance to each and every gesture, be it as simple as undoing his scarf, picking up a cognac glass, smoking a clay pipe—all became a secret pleasure to watch. He reminded me of a jungle animal, what I sometimes visualized was a slow, heavy footed panther, svelte and dark as night, a panther in whose sleepy look burned rapt attentiveness. And in every drowsy-lidded glance he gave there was just a hint of menace, a readiness to strike if provoked, such that most men were wary of offending him.
Above all else, he was sensuous.  I sometimes mused—as any woman alive to passion might—when he paused to finger the silk of a scarf or relish the smoky taste of a cognac upon his tongue—how would he savor me, my skin, hair, eyelids, my lips?

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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