Book Reviews

Review — The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

Book title: The Cure for Dreaming
Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books (Abrams)
Release date: October 2014
Format: Hardcover, 342 pages
Source: Library.

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Synopsis:

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.


The review:

Positives:

  • Olivia Mead is a great protagonist. She is stubborn and determined, always willing to stand up for herself and others. It was absolutely dreadful reading about how men and even other women saw her as inferior, and tried to put her “in her place” as a docile, obedient woman.
  • Henri Reverie is the hypnotist. He was mysterious and dashing, and I slowly fell for him just like Olivia did. Their so called “partnership” really clicked, and the two saw each other as equals and worked together very well. The romance is subtle and sweet.
  • The opening chapter was fascinating, and reminded me very slightly of The Night Circus by its enchanting, magical display. (The rest of the book is really nothing like The Night Circus, though.)
  • The mixture of historical and supernatural was excellently done. It never once felt strange or out of place. The atmosphere felt a tiny bit Tim Burton-esque, and this was a good thing. (I kept picturing the dentist scenes from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when Dr. Mead popped up, especially in his office.)
  • I really enjoyed the black and white photographs that supported the story and gave a great look at the suffragist movement back in the early 1900s. The book’s entire presentation is gorgeous and appealing.
  • The cover is phenomenal, isn’t it? It’s beautiful, eye-catching, and different.

Negatives:

  • It did take me a good third of the way into the book to get really hooked (this isn’t really a true negative aspect, though). Everything was interesting and all the characters had their own agendas, but things didn’t really get moving until Olivia started to “see people as they really were,” which was an unfortunate effect of Henri’s hypnotism.
  • There were so many references to Bram Stoker’s Dracula! It’s Olivia’s favorite book… and one I actually haven’t read yet. Quite a lot of the quotes and references were lost on me, and it made me feel like I was missing comparisons and parallels between the two different stories. EDIT: You don’t need to have read Dracula already, I don’t think, but I imagine it’s a nice little bonus for readers who have.

Overall thoughts:

The Cure for Dreaming is such a unique, mesmerizing story. I really didn’t know what I was getting into, and the book is weird and wonderful. There are some really depressing parts as well as some really uplifting parts. It’s a quick read, and had me flying through it once I got invested in Olivia’s struggle. I highly, highly recommend this book. Author Cat Winters has really impressed me. ♦


So tell me…

Have you read The Cure for Dreaming? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? What was the last book you read featuring women’s rights? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!

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8 thoughts on “Review — The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

  1. I’ve not read The Cure For Dreaming yet…but after your review, I’d give it a try! But I’ve not read Dracula yet either (my Summer Holiday TBR list is probably the longest one I’ve ever had) – would you recommend that I read it first, or is it just as enjoyable to read The Cure For Dreaming first? I’m also really interested to see how you find Cruel Beauty, because it’s one of those books I’ve read lots about but can’t ever seem to find in my local bookshop. Thanks again for a super review!

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    1. Nah, I don’t think you need to read Dracula. All that is really mentioned are some characters and a bunch of quotes. Nothing’s too spoiler-y, I think. As for Cruel Beauty, I have actually reviewed it! Just search for it and it should pop up. I really, really enjoyed it, and I’m currently reading Rosamund Hodge’s second book, Crimson Bound, which is a Little Red Riding Hood retelling!

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    2. Thanks for the advice, I’m going to have a look for your Cruel Beauty review right now and see if I can nag the nearest Waterstones to order in a copy along with The Cure For Dreaming! Love the idea of a series of fairytale retellings – and I have to make sure to read Dracula in the near future too. Thanks again for being so helpful!

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  2. I haven’t read it, but I kiiind of want to. I haven’t read The Night Circus OR Dracula though , buuuuut if it has a Tin Burton-ish atmosphere then SIGN ME UP. Omg, I love his creeptastic movies so much.!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t read this book, but I have seen some pretty positive things around the blogosphere! I like the fact that it has (seemingly) woven historical aspects with paranormal ones, and I LOVE books that do that.

    And the fact that you mentioned Tim Burton has me pretty keen. He’s one of my all time favourite directors, and if there’s any type of his “ness” in this book, I think it might be for me!

    I, unfortunately, haven’t read a book with a theme or plot around women’s rights, which is sad to be honest. I think the closest is CODE NAME VERITY, because the main character is such a strong young woman in a time where they weren’t really viewed that way. It was a lovely book.

    To be honest, I have to say that I loathe the cover for this book. It’s so not for me D:

    Lovely review, Mallory! 😀

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    1. I haven’t read Code Name Verity yet, even though I’ve been meaning to for ages and ages. Everyone raves about Elizabeth Wein. And interesting that you’re not a fan of the cover for The Cure for Dreaming. I can understand why, but I personally love the colors and weirdness of it, ha!

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