The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters Review

Monday, August 18, 2014

Title: The Cure for Dreaming
Author: Cat Winters (Twitter)
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publish Date: October 14, 2014
Genre: YA, Historical Fantasy
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher

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. 


  1. Couldn't have said it better myself! Although I'm a fan of historical I'm not too fond of paranormal, but Winters really makes historical paranormal work together. Great review!

  2. Fantastic review! I can't wait to read this book! Olivia sounds like my kind of heroine. I'm so glad you liked this one.

  3. Wow! This is such a gorgeous review, Melissa. I think I would absolutely love this one judging from your review.
    Olivia sounds like a brilliant character and I'm looking forward to meeting Henri.
    Also, I love that the author put a lot of detail into crafting her time period. I have got to read this book as soon as it comes out!
    Lovely review, Melissa.

  4. I think I recently read another review for this book and I said it sounded exactly like my type of book, except for the fact that it has a character with my name and it always disconcerts me for some reason. However, I definitely think I need to check it out despite that.

  5. I hadn't realized Winters had another novel coming out! This one looks so good, like it will have a similar atmosphere to her debut, but with a completely different setting and cast of characters. I'm super excited to pick this one up.

  6. Ooh, intriguing! Olivia sounds like an interesting character, one I can get behind. Dealing with her "gifts" and their limitations would be really frustrating, though.

  7. Wow, this sounds like a powerful story. I always love when the world is as powerful as the characters themselves, and it's been a while since a read a good historical read. I'm especially intrigued by the paranormal element and how it'll play a role in this! Fantastic review, Melissa :)

  8. I am so happy to hear that you loved this one, Melissa! A mix of paranormal & historical fiction with complex characters and with a 4.5 stars? I really need to get my hands on this one soon!

  9. Wow. I actually still need to read her previous book, but I've been meaning to. Very impressed with what I've heard of both of these reads so far! I don't often get to read really unique and engaging histfic, so I'm quite keen on these novels. I think I'll move them up my tar now - thanks, Melissa! Wonderful review.

  10. I desperately need to read and review this title because I know I'm going to love it. I adored Winters's debut immensely and this sophomore novel sounds just as well-researched, compelling, and powerful. Definitely need to bump this one way up the TBR. Lovely review, Melissa!(:

  11. I've yet to read a Cat Winters novel, but The Cure for Dreaming sounds really great! I love that you appreciated the setting + historical details; that's always a major bonus with historical fiction. And I love the sound of the plot too, as it seems simple but also leaves the door open for lots of things to happen! I might just have to check this out when it's released.

  12. I love everything about this book and I really need to read it. I have not read anything by Cat Winters and can tell that I am definitely missing out on it.


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