The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters
Published: October 14th 2014 by Harry N. Abrams
Genres: young adult, historical, paranormal
Summary: 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.
For some reason, I have always been hesitant to pick up a book by Cat Winters, because I thought she only wrote books set during World War One and I’m not a fan of this time period, to be honest. But I kept seeing positive reviews for her books and added one to my TBR, in hopes to read it someday, before deciding October was the month to do so, with Halloween around the corner. Now I just want to slap myself for not reading The Cure from Dreaming sooner, because it was absolutely fantastic!
This novel captured my attention from the first page. I was swept away in 1900 Oregon and was walking along Olivia the entire time. The fact that Cat Winters added black and white photographs helped a lot to picture this era, even if it was pretty easy for me. The author really did her research perfectly, because she captured the feeling of that time period.
To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book about the suffragist movement before, but I was so involved along these women and now I would love to learn more about that. I was shocked to see women speaking against other women: I can understand women not fighting for their rights, but it’s so frightening to see women fighting for not having rights, even though it happened. It was so hard to read everything men said to women during the entire book, how they belittled them, but sadly it happened and the worst part… Is that it’s still happening. This book definitely made me go through a wide spectrum of emotions, and anger was definitely part of them, because seeing women being bullied is so infuriating.
Olivia was an amazing heroine. She was headstrong, independent and wasn’t afraid to fight for what she wanted. In the fact, the more her father was trying to tame her, the bolder she became and I was admiring her so much. At first, she was a character with beliefs but didn’t act on them too much, until she truly became active as a suffragist and stood for herself. She was definitely relatable and likeable and she’s my new favourite.
At first, Henri appeared distant, because he was this mysterious hypnotist performer but the more we got to know him, the more we saw he was human and flawed. I personally loved his close relationship to his sister, because as you might know by now, I’m always a sucker for sibling bonds. Moreover, I was digging his French accent, as I’m French myself, because it’s so enjoyable to understand a ‘foreign’ language in a book, as it was written in English.
The secondary characters had an importance place in this novel, to the point they even saved the day, at some point. It was very interesting to read about all these women that fought for their rights and to see how mentalities were changing in this new century.
I loved Olivia and Henri’s relationship. This book didn’t focus on the romance and actually I would have loved for it to. For once, I’m complaining about that, who am I? Olivia and Henri were the perfect partenaires all along the book and it was interesting to see how Olivia came to trust him, even if she didn’t rely on him too much. Between the two, she was clearly the stronger one by the end, which is so rare in books. Nevertheless, these two brought out the best of each other and I would love to read a sequel or an epilogue about them.
I confess I was drawn to this book because of the hypnosis aspect, and I was completely satisfied. The first chapter of the book was dedicated to Henri Reverie’s first show and I felt in love right away with this book because of it. I love how hypnosis was part of the American folklore and that the author incorporated to her book so beautifully. Indeed, the ‘paranormal’ aspect, with Olivia seeing the world as it actually is, was just a metaphor for us as human beings, and the way we acted, because Olivia could actually see the wickedness in people, which was so interesting. Cat Winters never completely explains how Henri hypnotized people, but it was part of the magic of this book, but we still got to understand how to resist it.
The ending was definitely faithful to Olivia and for that, I think it wrapped the book perfectly. However, I thought I would get one more chapter after it, so when I realized the book was over, I started to cry, because I would have loved an epilogue. I’m feeling so bittersweet, because I do understand the ending, but I just want more time with these characters. It’s so rare I’m that attached to characters during standalone novels, but right now it’s the case and I need to see them again. Please.
Overall, this book came as a huge surprise and I know I will be thinking about it long after I’ve finished it. It is a story about equality, pursuing one’s dreams and how oppressing a minority will only make it fight harder. I adore this book with my whole heart, and I would love to see Olivia and Henri again. I think this one is a perfect read for Halloween, so go ahead, you won't be disappointed!
Have you read any books by Cat Winters? Have you read this one? What did you think? Have you read other books involving hypnosis? What do you like to read around Halloween?