The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Rating: 5 (million) Stars
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.
A while ago I fell head-over-heels-in-love with Cat Winter’s debut, In The Shadow of Blackbirds, as demonstrated in this shamelessly self-promoted review. Now, that love is being rivaled by this brilliant, beautiful, magnificent, amazing, wonderful… (shall I stop??) book.
Because WOW. AM SO IN LOVE. RIDICULOUSLY IN LOVE.
Cat Winters does such an amazing job at combining historical fiction with supernatural elements. Blackbirds wove a story set during the Spanish Influenza with ghosts and seances and spirit photographers. This one is about the Women’s Suffrage movement, and is effortlessly combined with hypnosis.
I love how the character’s struggles are subtly illustrated by the supernatural elements. In Dreaming, Olivia is hypnotized and is suddenly able to see the world “as it really is.” So now, instead of seeing people, she sees them as monsters that illustrate who they are and the roles society has forced upon some of them. But it’s so well done it never feels fake or cheesy.
But I think my favorite part of this book was Olivia. She has such a vivid personality, and I loved how mature and kind she was. I also love the unbelievably sexy (almost) French hypnotist. I mean, what more does a book really need? I was also amazed at how well the author portrayed the complicated relationship between Olivia and her father, who really is a tragic, sympathetic character, no matter how horrific he appears at first. Really, though, all the relationships and characters, even the barely-mentioned SIDE characters are so well developed it’s unbelievable.
And then there’s an almost – love triangle that was so PERFECT. (This is coming from someone who would rather die than read another YA love triangle, by the way.) But this one was just so unique and amusing, and really not like other love triangles at all. It is clever and entertaining and hilarious at times.
There was also a slow – burn romance that doesn’t end the way you’d expect. It didn’t end the way I wanted it to, but that’s okay, because it ended the right way. (But I am a sucker for bittersweet endings, so…)
And this is another slow-without-being-boring book in terms of plot, which is my very, very favorite kind of book. So if you like quiet, multilayered plots that develop over time, Cat Winter’s books are for you. That being said, however, it’s all still very entertaining.
Nothing I could possibly say could recommend this book enough, guys. Please, go do yourself a favor and read it. Pretty please?? You’ll thank me, I promise.
No, DON’T!! GO READ THIS BOOK INSTEAD!!
Just kidding, I would love to chat with you. What is your favorite kind of book?? eg. fast paced adventure-type, slow meandering plots, plot-twist filled stories, etc.) Do you like love triangles? Do you ever read Historical Fiction?
*Content Guide: Some occasional very light swearing.