Douglas Smith's Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh

"Maroch pulls his eyes away as the team lifts Laure's slim corpse onto the body bag. Instead, he stares at the painting, which is like Laure in two very particular ways: it is beautiful -- and it is impossible."

I've struggled trying to decide what to write about Douglas Smith's Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh because I don't trust that I have the words to do justice to this beautiful story. I want to say, "This is an important story. A story that matters. Go out and read it," -- preferably without painting myself to be a raving, over-the-top fanatic -- and I'm not sure that I know how to do that. But Bouquet is an important story, a story that matters, and I hope that many, many people will read it. So I am compelled to attempt, as best I can, to convey how I feel about this masterpiece and hope that, somehow, my words will be adequate to convince you to experience the work for yourself.

Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh tells the story of a pair of remote viewers who put their skills to work in an attempt to uncover lost paintings by Vincent Van Gogh. They soon learn, however, that Van Gogh isn't the only one with hidden secrets. As the search intensifies, lines between life and art, present and past, become blurred, and far more is discovered than anyone had bargained for.

Bouquet is a beautifully written, brilliantly crafted story in which Douglas Smith raises the bar even higher than his previous works. Doug's characteristic vivid settings and compelling characters are present, driven, as always, by love, and by a mystery which keeps the pages turning as the reader is drawn ever deeper into the lives of Maroch and Laure, retracing Van Gogh's steps during his final days, ever deeper into Van Gogh's painted landsapes of rural France.

The story begins with its protagonist, Maroch, gazing upon the lifeless body of the second woman he has loved and lost. From here, Douglas Smith expertly weaves between Maroch's present, and his recent past with Laure -- the events leading up to her death -- while simultaneously drawing in threads from Maroch's earlier life with his wife, Laure's history, and the life and death of the famous painter whose lost works they seek. Bouquet thereby presents a double layer of life mirroring art, as Maroch and Laure travel through Van Gogh's paintings, and the story travels through time in both theme and structure.

Bouquet of Flowers in a Vase, by Van Gogh is a story which begins in tragedy but, ultimately, ends in hope. Don't miss this one!

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