Painted with Love

A novel by Karen Diana Montee © 2013

Treatment by Diana Anderson and Andrew Fitzgerald


A contemporary photographer’s work and love life are transformed after she wakes from a coma where she dreamt of a past life as a young 19th century Parisienne who faced the challenges of falling in love with a painter while betrothed to an arrogant law student.


Nairobi, 2005. Dee is a photographer from Seattle who documents cultures around the world. Paul, who owns a gallery in San Francisco, is eagerly waiting for her photographs to exhibit. On assignment in Kenya, Dee is working to photograph the Masai performing circumcision rites. Brian, who is in love with Dee, crashes a van and Dee is severely injured. Back in San Francisco, Paul has no idea why Dee fails to contact him regarding the exhibit. Dee slips into a coma and dreams of a past life as another woman, Cherie.

Paris, 1898. It’s New Year’s Eve, and Cherie meets an artist named Jean-Paul. Though she is betrothed to André, a law student, Cherie finds herself drawn to Jean-Paul. He invites her to his studio and a painting of a beautiful older woman overwhelms her. She feels connected to a lost self but can’t explain why the painting moves her so. Cherie and Jean-Paul fall in love, which is an obstacle in trying to win her family’s approval and avoid the wrath of the law student, André. André beats up Jean-Paul and dumps him on a ship to New York. Cherie pursues Jean-Paul to America and eventually marries Jean-Paul, although André remains a threat.

San Francisco, 1901. During a boat accident in the San Francisco Bay, Cherie dies when vengeful André throws her overboard under the pretext of saving her. As Cherie’s life ends, Dee emerges from her coma.

Nairobi and San Francisco, 2005. Dee wakes up nearly blind in a Nairobi hospital…. (for the balance of the summary please contact Diana at


Act 1

A frightened and shaken Dee wakes in her tent in the Massai Martha National Wildlife Refuge with a feeling of pending disaster.  Unsure of the cause of her fear, she observes the Massai tribe in their morning rituals and grabs her camera to begin her work of documenting the group.

She narrates about her friendship with her project companion, Brian. Brian is interested in Dee. He is writing a book on the circumcision of Massai teenage girls and boys. He asked her to come with him to Nairobi to take pictures for his book.

Dee accompanies several Massai to the watering hole where they encounter zebras getting water. The zebras are spooked and start a stampede. A young Massai boy saves Dee from getting trampled.

The following day, while Dee and Brian are in a raised roof van on the way to Kilimanjaro to take photos, Dee requests a stop in Nairobi to make calls. Dee calls Paul Brown, a gallery owner in San Francisco who is preparing to have an exclusive exhibit of her photographs the following month. Paul is flirtatious and requests dinner with Dee. Brian overhears her and grabs the phone from Dee and tells Paul to keep it professional. The call ends abruptly. They continue south towards Kilimanjaro.

On the drive south, a jeep bumps their van into an oncoming truck. Dee is severely injured. As she slips into a coma, she sees Paris in December, 1898, and becomes a young French woman walking home near the Louvre.

She enters her house and is addressed as Cherie. Against her wishes she is forced to attend a New Year’s Eve party with her parents that night at the estate of Jacques and Martine. There she meets Jean-Paul, a man she has lusted for from afar. Jean-Paul is smitten by the eighteen year old Cherie. While visiting, Cherie reveals to Jean-Paul that she is betrothed to André, a law student friend of her family. In light this, Jean-Paul tries to excuse himself. But Cherie requests his company during the party. He is a painter and he shows her his art. Cherie is touched. One painting in particular evokes in her a profound sense of familiarity and unresolved emotion.

Hours later, fireworks commemorate the New Year. Jean-Paul slips Cherie a note inviting her to see the sunrise with him. Cherie agrees and they see the most spectacular sunrise of their lives. Cherie’s mother, Catherine, discovers the two alone in the garden and angrily pulls Cherie away.


Act 2

Cherie is invited to the ballet by Martine, the host of the New Year’s Eve party, as is Jean-Paul. At the ballet Cherie flirts with Jean-Paul and suggests that if he makes her fall in love with him, she will break her betrothal to André.

During the next two monts, Jean-Paul and Cherie meet secretly each day at the park where she walks her dog. Jean-Paul buys her chocolate, makes her laugh, and they fall in love.

In March, Cherie’s betrothed, André, comes to Paris on holiday from school. During a dinner, Cherie tells André she doesn’t want to marry him and in fact, loves another man. Angry André demands she apologize for trying to make him jealous… (for the balance of the treatment contact Diana at