Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters (Review)

Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance
Publication.Date:October 14, 2014
Pages:342 (hardcover)
Published By:  Amulet Books
Website:Cat Winters 

The Cure for Dreaming on Goodreads
My review copy:
Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Where to get:

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. (Goodreads)

The Metropolitan Theater simmered with heat of more than a thousand bodies packed together in red velvet chairs. My nose itched from the lingering scent of cigarette smoke wafting off the gentlemen's coats - a burning odor that added to the sensation that we were all seated inside a beautiful oven, waiting to be broiled. Even the cloud of warring perfume hanging over the audience smelled over cooked, like toast gone crisp and black.
"I kissed you because I thought that it would be fun." I pushed my hands against the floor and slid myself to him. "I thought we could both use a kiss. It had nothing to do with hypnosis or female equality or anything else but the simple fact that we were having a grand time."
I believe you have always seen the vampires and the fading souls in the world, Olivia. You just never paid close attention to them before. As I've learned through my own ordeals, once you start viewing the world the way it truly is, it is impossible to ignore both its beauty and its ugliness.

I'll never get enough of Cat Winters's writing. Her books are incredibly detailed and gripping. You cannot put her books down, nor do you want to. Unlike In The Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming isn't heavy into the paranormal - instead of ghosts, we're dealing with a hypnotist.

The basis of The Cure for Dreaming is the suffragist movement in the early 1900's, where Cat and Olivia take us through the trials and tribulations women faced just to be heard. And I guess I always knew it to be true, seeing it played out is a lot different than just being told, but it blew my mind that there were some women who were anti-suffragettes. Women, who agreed that their place was in the home and doing wifely duties. That their husbands, fathers, brothers, and sons thought this way too. I don't know about you, but it makes my skin crawl.

But I digress. The Cure for Dreaming is a beautiful, beautiful novel. The scenery is vivid, characters realistic, and plot immaculate. Olivia is a terribly strong main character and I want her as a friend. In a time when women were silenced and mocked, she became a voice of a gender. Although she started out as meek and afraid of her father, her strength grew to such a level that I can't imagine her not being admired.

It's easy to imagine Olivia's character because Cat's words make her come alive. She makes this story come alive. I was sucked into this story, into this world, and it still won't let me go. These women, both real and fictitious, are incredibly brave and strong. Cat's characters aren't characters and The Cure For Dreaming isn't fiction. It's real and it's true. It's history. It's our history.

Each relationship Olivia has with the various characters is artfully unique and well thought out - even that with her pigheaded father who is bound and determined she become the "perfect" daughter and future wife. And while I could not stand this man, a part of me also pities him. Teeny tiny amount of pity, mind you.

I love Henri. While I would not say he is as strong as Olivia, I admire his strength through the situation he find himself in. He is an honest character who merely wants to do what is right, but finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. The relationship he and Olivia has is so simple and so sweet that it's hard not to fall for Henri yourself.

I have my copy of The Cure for Dreaming sitting next to me as I write this and I'm ready to read it again. I'm ready to re-experience Olivia's plight to find her voice and stand up for women's rights. There is absolutely nothing negative I can say about this book and it warms my heart.

An exceptionally well told story, Cat certainly did her research to put the reader in 1900 Portland, Oregon. The strong ending only solidifies Cat's solid story telling. With a mixture of factual information, a detailed plot, a strong heroine, and the perfect dash of romance, The Cure for Dreaming is not a story to be missed.

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