A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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.
Well, this cements it, Cat Winters is one of my favorite authors (really there was no question) and I’ll read anything she writes. The pacing was incredibly fast and I was riveted from the very start. I dropped the other books I was reading and became solely immersed in this one. I wanted nothing more than to have my nose stuck in this book until I finished. Really, that’s what I did.
I wasn’t as drawn to the summary for The Cure for Dreaming as I was her first novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, but as soon as I began reading I knew I’d fall in love with this book. Winters’ writing was incredibly powerful, emotional and engaging. There are never slow moments. I was swept into 1900 Oregon and Olivia’s life. Actually, upon finishing I feel that dreaded book hangover. I zipped through the book and now wish I could go back and read it again for the first time.
I’ve not read much about the suffragist movement and had very little to go on but I felt that Winters was able to express the time period and how it felt to be a woman beautifully. I am ashamed that I’ve not spent more time understanding where my right to vote began and feel that I will be looking deeper into it now. This book was encouraging and opened my eyes to how much things have changed in a short amount of time.
Not only does this novel touch upon a historically significant time but we are also introduced to hypnosis. Magic, the occult and hypnosis was very much in style early in American history and I adore that Winters brings up the subjects and incorporates them into her novels. I loved the other worldly quality of this book and felt that though it was fantastical it still felt incredibly realistic and even plausible to some degree. I for one have never encountered a hypnotist so have no experience with the art but I am thoroughly intrigued to learn more.
As with In the Shadow of Blackbirds, photographs either from the time or portraying this time period are scattered throughout. This provides the reader a visual peek into the 1900’s and adds so much to the experience. If anyone can create a historical atmosphere it’s Cat Winters.
Olivia was immediately relatable and likeable. Winters gave her character a beautiful progression from slightly unsure of herself to realizing her inner bravery and strength. Not only was her character outstanding, attention was paid to each of the secondary characters. The interactions and dialog between characters were impeccable.
I especially loved Olivia and Henri’s relationship. I felt that they both brought out the strength in one another and I yearned for them to share scenes together. Truth be told, I could have done with many more moments between the two. Let it be known that I am crossing my fingers for a Cat Winters book that focuses on romance a tad bit heavier than the last two (update– Cat told me that an adult book coming out next year called The Uninvited will have a bit more romance in it!).
Back to Henri, our hypnotist, I adored that he began as a magical being that seemed far removed from Olivia and the reader. As the story progressed we learn about Henri as Olivia does and find that he was flawed and real. I thought that he was a very complex character that I’d love to read more about. I could see so many more stories concerning him and his sister.
Winters excels at creating and breathing life into her cast of characters. Even Olivia’s father, who was despicable and frightening, pulled at my empathy a time or two. I’m somewhat appalled at myself, but I felt for the man in one particular scene.
I think you can tell that I adored this book as well as everything Cat Winters writes. I can’t think of another author that so seamlessly incorporates complex characters, a spooky atmosphere with historical elements. Though this story took place in 1900-elements are still applicable to our current world and resonates with readers today.
The Cure for Dreaming Book Trailer:
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