Saturday, February 6, 2010

Amelia Island Book Festival - 2010

Festival Focus
A series of reviews of books to be featured at the Amelia Island Book Festival – 2010. Reviewers represent a broad spectrum of community readers and writers.. M.J. Rose, author of The Memorist, will be a keynote speaker at the Book Festival luncheon, Feb. 13, 2010.

The Memorist by M.J. Rose
Reviewed by Joani Selement
International best-selling author M.J. Rose is attractive, articulate, and an expert on reincarnation, the jumping-off point of her attention-getting, two-part series, The Reincarnationist and The Memorist. Fox Network has bought a pilot one-hour drama based on The Reincarnationist, raising the expectation that reincarnation may soon go mainstream.
Or is belief in reincarnation already mainstream? Ms. Rose heads many chapters of The Memorist with explanatory quotes from serious thinkers such as Count Leo Tolstoy, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jack London, and Socrates, as well as The Kabbalah. Each quotation states that in one way or another the soul survives death to live again and again in different times, in different forms, behind different faces, but always trailing the unresolved problems of the past as the soul strives to “develop all the perfections.” [from The Kabbalah].

Still, no one needs to believe in the possibility of memories bubbling up from past lives to enjoy Rose’s The Memorist. Simply close your eyes and recall being young and in love, dancing to the romantic strains of “Stars Fell on Alabama”. Or hum the theme to the 1975 movie “Jaws” and let the tingles climb up your spine all these years later. Remember how music evokes memories in all of us, suspend your skepticism for a time, and pick up The Memorist ‘s riveting tale of Meer Logan, who lives with a sketchy, haunting melody that inconveniently -- and without warning -- plunges her into the intimate thoughts and happenings of a life [or two] that she’s lived centuries before.

Early in the book, Meer is presented with two pieces of paper: a drawing of a wooden box, one she drew from memory as a child, and a page from a current auction catalog showing the identical box and identifying it as one owned by a friend of Ludwig van Beethoven. Is there any way she could have known about the box as a child? What connection could it possibly have to her? Did she or did she not actually live as Margaux Neidermier in 1814, meet the musician Beethoven, and become the link to an ancient, lost flute inscribed with a melody that could open up past lives to those who hear it?

Steve Berry promises, in a cover blurb, that The Memorist is a “riveting and suspenseful” mystery. The Washington Post calls Rose “an unusually skillful storyteller,” adding, “Her polished prose and intricate plot will grip even the most skeptical reader.” Rose uses short chapters, shifting time frames, and multiple sets of characters to move from present day Vienna to Vienna in 1814, then back to ancient Egypt. Like all good tales of ancient-secret codes, M.J. Rose’s The Memorist provokes reflection.

The reviewer, Joani Selement, is one of the founders of the Amelia Island Book Festival and an adjunct professor at Florida State College, Nassau Campus.

For information about the book festival:
or contact Executive Director - Dickie Anderson at

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