Author: Cat Winters (Twitter)
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy
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.
Cat Winters is the type of author who, when she crafts a new novel, you can't help but stand up and take notice. After reading The Cure for Dreaming, I am completely certain of this. It's no secret that I'm a fan of paranormal novels, and I've always loved historical fiction, but there's something about this novel that creates such a rich, intoxicating blend of the two that just captures you wholeheartedly. This is the type of novel that whisks you back to another time and place, but it gives you the a rich added layer by adding that deceitful paranormal element that really makes you think twice. Done this beautifully though, you can't help but be mesmerized and under its spell, as well.
The Cure for Dreaming was such a multi-faceted novel that it's truly difficult to break it down into the story structure, but in terms of plot, it's one of the most original and fascinating I've read in a long while. We're given a young protagonist who dreams of a better life, a father who is so afraid of losing his only daughter that he'll manipulate her into staying quiet and a mysterious hypnotist who could change everything forever. I was completely enthralled by how vivid and real this time period seemed, and I was thoroughly impressed by the detail that Ms. Winters put into her story. We weren't simply offered a time period with no real backing. Rather, the time and place are as powerful as the characters themselves - oppressive, overbearing and the driving force of change in our characters' lives. By offering us this black and white backdrop with characters full of life and colour, we can see these stark contrasts in all their glory.
Olivia was the perfect heroine for this story. Rather than painting her simply as a rebellious teen with lofty dreams, we see her as this multi-faceted young lady with dreams of more than what she's privy to in her everyday life. In start contrast, we're given her father, rigid and uptight, who's both unwilling and unable to see the beauty of his daughter's dreams and instead hires a hypnotist to cure her of her dreams of grandeur. I wanted so badly to hate him throughout the entire novel, but there was a deep-seeded sadness within him that sort of spoke to me through it all. And, of course, The Cure for Dreaming gives us Henri, our hypnotist who sets the story in motion. There was something beautiful, dark and mysterious about his character, but as his relationship and the truth of his plan is unraveled, we can't help but be mesmerized.
The Cure for Dreaming is the type of story that will ultimately suck you in from start to finish. Ms. Winters does an incredible job, as usual, of painting the perfect setup for well-developed characters to bloom and flourish through the story. And, in the end, it really won me over from start to finish. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal and historical fiction stories.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.