The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Goodreads link: (click here)
What's it about?
The year is 1900, and Olivia Mead is an intelligent, headstrong young woman who dreams of independence. She wants to be able to wear bicycle bloomers, to go to college and to be able to vote. She wants her voice to be heard. She's even attended a protest with the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association. Her father sees her behavior as dangerous and unbecoming of a lady, and he believes that her opinions and ambition will only lead to trouble and he fears that she will abandon him, like her mother did. His solution is to hire Henri Reverie, a hypnotist who is in town to perform his act, to remove the rebellious thoughts from her pretty little head. Instead of making Olivia a subservient woman who accepts her place in society, Henri compels her to see the world around her as it really is and gives her the ability to view people's true nature. Since she's recently become obsessed with Bram Stoker's Dracula, this manifests in a horrible way. She awakens to find her father transformed into a monster and surprisingly, Henri is the most beautiful man she's ever seen. With her new point of view, she witnesses women being caged, men with fangs, people becoming invisible and female suffragists glowing as if lit from within by fire. Her eyes have been opened to a whole new world and instead of taming her, her father has inspired her to fight harder. With the help of Henri, who she's become quite close to, Olivia concocts a plan to get revenge on her father and others who want to deny women their rights. If the plan works, Olivia will be able to take her first steps towards freedom, and her life and her mind will be hers and hers alone.
The Cure For Dreaming was absolutely stunning. The concept is brilliant and perfectly executed. A book about women's suffrage could end up feeling like a class assignment, but this book had just the right mix of story, history, romance, atmosphere and mysticism to make it interesting. Cat Winters' writing is gorgeous and completely immerses you in the story, transporting you to a different time and place. It really made me appreciate the things I take for granted on a daily basis, and thankful for those who fought for my own rights so long ago. Olivia is a wonderful main character. She's strong willed, smart, capable and she stands up for herself and for what she believes in. While there is a romance in it, it's not about the romance. Olivia and Henri become involved with each other, but as equals. They are partners. Olivia's decision making is never based around a man, she thinks for herself and isn't afraid to follow her own dreams. She is a true herione. I was saddened and appalled at the way women were treated by men back then, but thrilled when Olivia outsmarted them all. The only thing I have left to say about this book is, Bravo.
Throughout the book there are archival photographs which add another layer to the experience. Here are a few of them: