The Cure For Dreaming
The Cure for Misogyny
What I Liked:
Cat Winters’ debut was absolutely amazing and with The Cure for Dreaming it becomes clear that her first book was no fluke. All of the elements that made In the Shadow of Blackbirds so wonderful are present here too, in a highly original story full of feminism. I have little doubt that all of Cat Winters’ novels will make their way into my permanent collection.
Winters strikes this amazing balance between historical and paranormal in her novels. In her first novel, it was ghosts. This time it’s hypnosis, told in such a way as to be imminently believable but also incredibly fantastical. There’s magic emanating from the book’s pages and I was entranced from the moment I began reading. Never have I been particularly interested in hypnosis nor do I technically believe it could do many of the things that occur within the book, but I had no difficulty suspending disbelief. It all just worked and felt so right in context.
The Cure for Dreaming is, at its heart, a novel of feminism. If the book has a weakness, it’s that it perhaps hits the reader over the head with this message. However, I think the message is important and beautiful, so I didn’t mind in the slightest. Winters focuses heavily in her novels on feminism and the role of women, and that’s one of the things I love most in her fiction.
Olivia Mead, our heroine, is not quite sure what to do with herself at the outset. She’s torn between being the girl her father wants her to be and the girl she feels like she is. Olivia dreams of going to college, having a career, and getting to vote, but her father believes staunchly in a woman’s proper place. He was always like that, but became even more set in his opinions after Olivia’s mother left him for her career on the stage. All he wants Olivia to do is take care of him until she marries some other man who doesn’t believe in women having any role outside of housewifery.
When Olivia’s father learns she attended a protest for women’s suffrage, he hits on a solution for controlling his willful daughter: hypnosis. He hires Henri Reverie, a traveling hypnotist, to perform hypnosis upon her, such that she will see the world as it truly is and that all she will be able to say in times of rage is “All is well.” This hypnosis has a different effect than the one Olivia’s father intended; instead of seeing that women are meant to be subservient, she sees all opponents of suffrage and feminism as actual monsters, vampires like those from her favorite novel Dracula. She can now see through people’s pretenses to being kind and no which people she can trust. As I said, the message isn’t subtle.
I love Olivia and it’s so wonderful watching her really learn to be herself. She has a lot of tough choices to make and it’s not easy. Though her father is a mean man, it’s hard to turn her back on the only family she’s ever known. In his way, he does love her, but he can’t give her what she needs: respect. Though I won’t speak to specifics, I also loved the way the romance was handled. It’s not melodramatic and I think it perfectly aligned with what Olivia needed at any given time.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The lack of subtlety. The message is very heavy-handed.
The Final Verdict:
Feminist YA readers won’t want to miss The Cure for Dreaming. The writing is beautiful, the characters compelling and the subject matter no less important today than it was in Olivia Mead’s day.
A toast to youth and vampires and rebellion
What I Loved:
Cat Winters excels at creating an atmospheric novel. I was so drawn into her world and the time period that I found myself feeling just as frustrated and trapped as the women in the story. It makes my blood boil to think about all of the ridiculous objections people had to women voting.
Olivia Mead faces such prejudice in her own home. Her father actually goes so far as to try to permanently change Olivia's thoughts. It was horrifying to see Olivia unable to express her emotions because of her father's fear and injustice. I loved how Olivia didn't let that stop her from getting her beliefs out, though.
The hypnosis aspect was an interesting twist to this historical fiction novel. Olivia begins to see people as they truly are, which can be both a blessing and a curse.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The characters, particularly the men, sometimes felt one dimensional to me. I was hoping that with a novel set during such a tumultuous time, there would be more to the story: more discussion, more intellectual conversation, more complexity to the plot.
The ending did leave me wanting more. Olivia is embarking on a great journey and I know she's going to get into all kinds of interesting situations. I want to know what happens next for her!
The Final Verdict:
The Cure For Dreaming has a rich setting that will transport readers to a different time and draw them into Olivia's story.
The Cure For Dreaming
I thought that the cure for dreaming was an eerie and beautifully written book. I found the characters to be very fun to read about and interesting. Throughout the book there were real historical pictures and many were of antique dental tools, which were very scary and dangerous looking back in the 1890s- 1900s. Olivia's father was actually a dentist in the book, and he had a very creepy feel to him. I thought he was a very well developed and fascinating character to read about. Every scene that he was in was delightfully scary.
As I said, this book has real historical pictures in it, and they really connect to the story and
help give you a clear picture of the world in 1900. Overall I think they were a great edition to the book.
As well as Olivia's dad I think Olivia herself is a strong main character and someone you really want to root for. Henry was mysterious and interesting to read about. There really aren't many books with hypnotists in them so this was a nice change. I think all of the characters were very different from each other which I really like in a book.
The whole idea of the story was just very creative and made you want to just keep reading. Right from the first chapter you're hooked on the story and can't put the book down. The writing is easy to follow and its very different from any other historical fiction books mainly because of the hypnosis element.
The only problem that I had with this book was its ending. I was left with so many questions at the end of the story, and I think that an epilogue would have been a nice touch. I just felt like there could have been just a little more. Overall though I definitely recommend this book for anyone even if you don't like historical fiction, you'll like this. Wonderful book!