Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: The Cure for Dreaming

The Cure for Dreaming
By Cat Winters
Amulet Books, 2014
Reviewed from NetGalley
Audience: Grades 8 to 12
ISBN:  9781419712166
Expected Publication Date:  October 14, 2014

Olivia Mead is a headstrong girl living with her dentist father in Portland, Oregon, 1900.  She goes to a hypnotist show on her birthday, October 31, and is brought up on stage by the charismatic Henri Reverie and taken under.  Her submissiveness and cooperation catch the attention of playboy Percy Adkins and word gets back to her father that she was the perfect subject for hypnosis.  He decides that maybe hypnosis is the answer to his troubles, as Olivia has started having dreams above her station-of wanting to vote, attend college, and be independent like her mother.  Dr. Mead contracts Henri Reverie to hypnotize Olivia into being the ideal daughter.  What Henri instructs her to do however is see the world as it truly is, and what Olivia sees are monsters and fading women and other terrifying sights.  Amidst her visions, Olivia is trying to find her voice in the world, while men want to take that voice away.  This is a frightening book that addresses history and women's rights while still remaining spellbinding.  Truly magical.  

Fresh off the success of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Winters brings another amazing book that weaves the paranormal with history.  It is well worth noting that Olivia was not nearly as headstrong in the being of the book as her father thought, rather it was his actions that made her crave a voice even more.  And Dr. Mead is a frightening man--his dentistry scenes may be the most chilling in the book.  Dentistry in the 1900's was little more than torture, and some of what he did to get his way is positively shocking.  At one point, I did not know if what Olivia was seeing in her father's study was  another gruesome vision or the truth.  

Olivia begins a partnership with Henri in order to overcome his hypnosis and still appease her father, all while still fighting for women's rights.  This partnership turns romantic, but thankfully, Olivia does not lose her way in the relationship.  I think that I was most impressed by how Winters resolved that plot line.  

There is such richness in the book that I can't begin to cover it all.  The parallels with Dracula, the fight for voting rights and women's place in society, the hypnosis and visions.  It was all wonderfully crafted.  Another perfect book for a cool fall evening.

Happy Reading!

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