The Cure for Dreaming
Genre: Historical, YA
Publication date: October 14th 2014
by Amulet Books
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.
-A copy was provided by Amulet Books for review-
Ooh what a wonderful, incredible, and perfectly cryptic story! It’s with no surprise that I absolutely adored this novel; having loved In the Shadow of Blackbirds a year back, I already knew the talents of Cat Winters’ storytelling, and I thoroughly expected to be transported into yet another fantastic tale – this time full of magic, mystery, with a dash of horror and romance.
The year is 1900, and Olivia is one of many women who’s currently fighting for the rights of women. But with a father who’s determined to shut her up, dreaming of a better life is not an easy feat. Olivia is a girl with a lot of opinions and strong views. She’s determined to have a future that is not controlled by men, to help bring change into the world. I loved her instantly. Her voice is one that immediately transported me into her world and dreams. Connecting with her was effortless, and rooting for her was a given. Her story begins when she meets Henrie Reverie, a hypnotist who chooses her to come on his stage where he demonstrates his skill. When her dentist father, who has equally large opinions on the roles of women, finds out a hypnotist is in town, he has this grand idea of shutting his daughter up for good. This is when the horror starts. Henri not only makes her unable to voice her dissent, he also makes her “see the world the way it truly is“. Well as we all know, the world has a lot of evil, and evil is what she sees. Some people now appear to her as terrifying monsters and blood thirsty vampires. Talk about some creepily awesome stuff – all vividly detailed, of course! I also loved the many references to Bram Stoker’s Dracula!
This leads me to talk about the fantastic atmosphere of this story. Just like her previous novel, Cat Winters has written this novel with such a rich, cinematic setting that you can’t help but feel yourself walking these historical streets. You can all but smell the air and feel the electricity of the coming change in the world. I feel as if I experienced something of importance that we now find in our history books. The historical details on the women’s suffrage movement is as fascinating as it is eye opening. The same could be said about the dentistry practices that are simply horrifying, yet that’s how things were really done back then. But I digress. The writing is fabulous, the tone is perfectly eerie, the dialogue is sharp and engaging, and the story is filled with wonderfully realistic and vivid personalities.
One of my favorite aspects of this novel is the relationship that develops between Olivia and Henri. They don’t jump into a romance right away. He comes off as a person of mystery at first, and as she gets to know him, she finds a partner and an equal. He’s also burdened with some darkness of his own that forces him to agree to the dentist’s evil demands – but unbeknownst to him, it makes him and Olivia grow closer. I loved the complexities of this story and its characters. No one is perfect, and sometimes you’re forced to do what you gotta do. The ending is bittersweet, but satisfying. I loved the realism, the hope, the light at the end of the tunnel. And I especially loved the magical touch. The Cure for Dreaming only cemented my admiration for Cat Winters. If you’re not a fan yet, read one of her books, asap!