Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal, Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Published by Amulet Books on October 14, 2014
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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.
This book is filling the “Published in 2014” Category in my Full House Reading Challenge.
This is an interesting combination of subtle magic, politics, and learning to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. The Cure for Dreaming appropriately has a very dreamlike quality to it, and Cat Winters’ writing is very atmospheric.
Olivia, like many women in her time, just wanted a little bit more from life. More than just bearing and raising children. More than being at her husband’s beck and call. She was tired of being looked down upon as someone with a lower intelligence simply because of her sex. She has a horrible father who believes her only use in life is to get married to a wealthy man and have children.
So I’m not much of a feminist (in the radical sense, I believe women should have equal rights, things like that), but this book really made me so glad I live in the time I do. I can’t imagine having people think you are incapable of basic intelligence or activities simply because you’re a woman.
So at the beginning of the book, Olivia is at a hypnotism show, and she is chosen as a volunteer. When her father hears how well the young Henri Reverie’s powers worked on his suffragette daughter, he hires the hypnotist to remove certain…rebellious tendencies from her psyche. What Dr. Mead doesn’t know is that Henri uses phraseology that allows Olivia to “see things as they truly are”, meaning she begins seeing horrible people as monsters, and good people as a sort of angelic creature. Olivia and Henri grow closer as Olivia fights back against her father, and tries to gain freedoms for women that are unheard of at the time.
There’s a lot to love here: the hypnotism aspect was very interesting, and I would have almost liked to see more of the actual performance that Henri does. Because we are in Olivia’s mind, we only see it from her perspective, and she’s practically asleep through the whole thing.
The romance between Henri and Olivia was sweet and slow-moving. People are constantly trying to take advantage of Olivia, and so it was very nice for someone to be on her side. I liked that Henri has his own agenda and doesn’t fall in love at first sight. It made the relationship much more interesting.
This is a great read for anyone who likes historical/romance books, with a hint of paranormal.