Book Review: The Cure For Dreaming

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ashley | Oh! How good books excite me! Oh! How I want to tell everyone about this book! 

The Cure For Dreaming by Cat Winters is one of those books that I was completely lost in. It’s full of so many wonderful elements… fierce female characters, the shattering of oppression, historical facts, a touch of supernatural and magic. Winters draws upon all these things to form a complex, heavily political story that feels anything but heavy, which is a great feat and a balance most authors have trouble with.

Understandably, The Cure For Dreaming made me endlessly furious. Using a hypnotist to strip your daughter of her “unfeminine” dreams and forcing her to accept the world for what it is? The boys noticing Olivia only after she succumbs to a hypnotism that makes her seem submissive and thus, the perfect mate? Stating more often than comfortable that a woman’s place is to be silent and obedient? All is not well, I tell you, all is not well!

The men in this book are vile creatures and they are appropriately depicted as such once Olivia is hypnotized to see them for who, or what, they really are. I love the gothic imagery that Winters threads through these descriptions along with the heavy Dracula inspiration, it paints the perfect disturbing picture.

Olivia is great. She is fierce, she will not step down and she fights back with every ounce of her strength. She actually seems almost too good to be true for a time so oppressive, how much she rebels against every man in her life when all they do is try to knock her down and put her in her place. But it’s women like Olivia who have brought us to where we are today and when you put that into perspective, this book becomes so much more important.

Of course, I have to mention Henri, the infamous hypnotist and pro-suffragist in shining armor. His dark and mysterious French-ish guardian angel-like presence in Olivia’s life is one of the lighter parts of the novel, but what book would be complete without a little amour? The chemistry between the two was electric, they really balanced each other well without playing too much into the will they won’t they roles. He offered her an equality she lacked in every other aspect of her life; he needed her just as much or maybe even more than she needed him.

The way Winters uses “the plan” that Olivia and Henri come up with to smack some sense into the anti-suffrage women is perfect and a very bold and direct way to address the irony of silencing a women’s voice and how that act will only make her fight harder to be heard.

I’m not usually a fan of open endings, but it works really well here. You feel the sense of freedom and liberation Olivia finally feels for herself and most of all, you see all the hope and potential that her future holds. It’s inspiring and wraps everything up perfectly without limiting her future to the end of the book.

Olivia is the kind of woman I look up to and The Cure For Dreaming is a book for all of us dreamers who won’t stop fighting. It’s completely brilliant.

If you read only one book this year, make it this! The Cure For Dreaming is available October 14.


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