Review: The Time Collector by Gwendolyn Womack

Format: Trade Paperback
Pub Date: April 16, 2019
Publisher: Picador
Length: 386 pages
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Review copy courtesy of the publisher

Way back when, in the days before college burnout, I was going to be a history teacher. Even though that never worked out, my love of history has never waned. This book made that nerdy bookworm happy, with its vignettes of various historical events and people.

Roan West is a psychometrist. He can see and experience the past of objects he touches. Sometimes he makes money with it, sometimes he uses it to return lost family heirlooms to their rightful owners. His friend, Stuart, has gone missing, but he gets sidetracked on his quest to find him by a viral video of a young woman just discovering her psychometry talents.

This is a genre-bending book. It has romantic elements, a mystery/thriller element, a historical fiction element, some mild paranormal themes, a quest...Pieces from all kinds of stories are woven in here, but I particularly liked how vivid and well researched the historical "flashback" scenes were. The author chooses some particularly painful events to tie to objects, and doesn't shy away from showing those events with unflinching honesty.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I did feel like the romance was a little shoehorned in. The author tells us the two characters are attracted to each other instead of showing us. I wanted some more emotion there on the page, because while this isn't genre romance, it is a book about all kinds of relationships, and the emotional connection just seemed muted.

My Grade: B
The Blurb:
Travel through time with the touch of a hand.
Roan West 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 psychometrist and Roan's close friend, has used his own abilities to unearth several "ooparts"―out-of-place artifacts that challenge recorded history. Soon after the discovery, Stuart disappears, making him one of several pyschometrists who have recently died or vanished. 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, bringing them closer to each other and a startling truth.

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