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The Quilty Reader

Lawyer, mother, avid reader. Game host extraordinaire! Partner in crime to Obsidian Black Plague! My bookish weaknesses include classics, fantasy, YA, and agreeing to read more books than is even remotely possible.

YA historical fiction with a bit of magical realism thrown in

The Cure for Dreaming - Cat Winters

I really enjoyed this book. I've read one other Cat Winters book - In the Shadow of Blackbirds - which I also just loved. If I had to choose between the two, Blackbirds has a bit of an edge, but I'd recommend either book to people who enjoy YA, historical fiction and/or magical realism.


The Cure for Dreaming is set in turn of the century Portland, Oregon, which is my beloved hometown. This no doubt enhanced the read for me, because I could picture some of the locations in my mind, and recognized street names. Cat Winters lives in Portland, and she more than did justice to our beautiful and historic city.


In addition, the main character, Olivia is a suffragette with an insufferable and abusive father who seems intent upon turning his daughter into one of the girls from my last - not remotely as enjoyable - book (Only Ever Yours) by Louise O'Neill. He asks a mesmerist who has come to time to hypnotize Olivia into docility and renunciation of her feminist views. Not surprisingly this backfires gloriously.


Your future is to become a respectable housewife and mother. Women belong in the home, and inside some man’s home you’ll stay.”


The final thing that I want to mention about this book is how literary it is. There are references to Nellie Bly, The Wizard of Oz, Edith Wharton and most especially, Dracula by Bram Stoker. Olivia is a huge fan of Dracula and references to the gothic horror masterpiece abound. She is unapologetically bookish - a bluestocking who buys books when she can afford them, and who saves her money so she can escape her father's tyranny once she reaches adulthood.