I wasn’t really planning on reading this book. I got it in the mail last month, and though it was an October release that I’d had my eye on, I didn’t think I would have the time to read it this month. After reading the synopsis and realizing it was historical fiction, it had made me think I wouldn’t like it anyway. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always dismissed historical novels as novels that I would not enjoy reading. Kind of like how I used to refuse to read any contemporary romance novels. The thing is, lately I’ve learned that in both genres the key is to find the right books. The Cure for Dreaming was definitely the right book for me.
Olivia Mead is a young woman living in 1900 Portland, Oregon who dreams of living an independent life. In this time, women are expected to follow whatever men tell them to do, living as housewives who aren’t even given the right to vote. Olivia does not plan on living such a life. Her father is concerned with his daughter’s rebelliousness and pays a hypnotist to cure her of her headstrong personality and independent dreams. Instead of curing her, though, Henri Reverie instead gives her the ability to see the world as it really is and to see people as they truly are.
Olivia, determined to get back her mind and to stop seeing the terrifying true nature of those around her, teams up with Mr. Revere in order to take on her father and the other anti-suffragettes.
I’ve always found books where women are oppressed to feel somewhat suffocating to read. I don’t enjoy them, which is probably another reason why I’ve always stayed away from historical fiction. Olivia’s story was quite suffocating to read at times, especially when she was around her awful father, but there were plenty of moments that made up for this. Olivia’s rebelliousness cannot be snuffed out at any point in the novel, despite her father’s wishes, and Olivia proves to be an important part of the women’s suffragette movement in Oregon.
Olivia also proves to be an important person in Mr. Revere’s life, as well. We learn that Henri is a bit of an impostor, pretending to be French in order to get people to be more interested in his mysterious hypnotism act. The reason he is willing to fake a French accent and perform the hypnotism that Olivia’s father is asking for is because he needs the money for a surgery for his sister, who has cancer. As soon as Olivia learns of his sister’s condition, Olivia and Henri officially team up and plan to fool Olivia’s father into giving Henri the money, although it is obvious that she isn’t cured. I liked these two characters as partners, especially since Henri allowed Olivia to be exactly the woman she is.
The Cure for Dreaming is a great Halloween read full of creepy moments where Olivia sees people as the ghastly things they truly are on the inside. As a huge fan of the Bram Stoker novel, Dracula, many of the awful people she sees begin to resemble monstrous vampires. It would definitely be interesting to be able to see the true human nature of a person visually the way that Olivia does.
Probably one of my favorite parts of this book were the terrifying period pictures that were shown at the beginning of many of the chapters. They were not only creepy, but were actual photos taken from Olivia’s time.
I would recommend A Cure for Dreaming to anyone who is interested in a good chilling read this Halloween, especially those who enjoy historical novels. Olivia’s story about her fight for independence in a time where men were trying to smother women’s voices everywhere is a great young adult read.
• Publisher: Amulet Books (October 14, 2014)
• Length: 368, Hardcover
• Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance
• Source: Publisher sent Hardcover