Hugo & Rose
Rose is disappointed with her life, though she has no reason to be - she has a beautiful family and a perfectly nice house in the suburbs. But to Rose, this ordinary life feels overshadowed by her other life - the one she leads every night in her dreams.
After a childhood accident, Rose's dreams take her to a wondrous island fraught with adventure. On this island, she has never been alone: she shares it with Hugo, a brave boy who's grown up with her into a hero of a man. But when Rose stumbles across Hugo in real life, both her real and dream worlds are changed forever. Here is the man who has shared all of her incredible adventures in impossible places, who grew up with her, even if they aren't what either one imagined. Their chance encounter begins a cascade of questions, lies, and a dangerous obsession that threatens to topple everything she knows. Is she willing to let go of everything she holds dear to understand their extraordinary connection? And will it lead her to discover who she truly wants to be?
Foley's debut is an inventive, cinematic domestic novel filled with Wizard of Oz like dreams. Unhappy protagonist Rose is married to Josh, a trauma surgeon, with three small children: Isaac, Adam, and toddler Penny. Rose and her family live in "a shitty small town in eastern Colorado" where she drives a minivan, takes her kids to soccer games, and bemoans Josh's long hours at work. As a six-year-old, she suffered a serious bicycle mishap that precipitated her lifelong dreams of an imaginary play companion she calls Hugo, and of their quest to reach the Crystal City ( la Emerald City). By strange happenstance, she bumps into the real-life Hugo, who goes by the name David. Something of a loser, he works at a fast food chain restaurant called Orange Tastee and is divorced, with his ex and daughter, Rosalie, now residing in Fort Lauderdale. Rose obsesses over Hugo both in her dreams and her daily life, and the plot takes a more sinister turn when she suspects he intends to do harm to her and her family. Desperate to rescue his distressed wife, Josh gives her a variety of sleep medications. The old Hugo-and-Rose dreams continue to besiege her as she tries to come to grips with her inner turmoil. Foley's novel is interesting enough for its strange premise, but readers may have trouble discerning just how all the pieces fit together.
Didn't hold my attention at all times and I was not impressed with it as a whole
Review originally posted on Reading Books Like a Boss
You dream the same dream your whole life. You're on a magical beach with a beautiful man who saves you from the dangers and treachery the island hides. A city filled with castles is seen in the distance but after years of trying you can't quite reach it. Then one day you see the man in real life. He sees you and it makes you question your reality, your life.
That's the premise of Hugo & Rose. I was so intrigued by it and just had to pick up the book. It took me a really long time to get into the book, and by the end, I really think the book didn't live up the book as a whole.
Rose is a mother to three kids and happily married to Josh, an ER doctor. Rose is in the trenches of motherhood. Her point-of-view is brutally honest. She loves her children, but she has no time to herself. Her once fit figure has changed due to having children and she's ashamed of her outward appearance. She doesn't feel desirable to her husband and her kids annoy her most days. During the day she's barely holding it all together, but at night escapes to her dreams with an adventurous man who slays life-size spiders and who's an expert at grass sword-fighting. Her Hugo.
Then she sees a man who looks eerily similar to her dream Hugo. A little pudgier and aged, this man is Hugo. His mannerisms, his eyes. It shakes her and leads her down a dark path that makes her question her sanity, her reality, and her life.
I read a few early reviews of this book, many of which say that the synopsis is slightly misleading. I don't know if I would use the word "misleading" because that word implies you were told one thing but you got another. I think the conclusion I drew from the cover and the summary was a much lighter feel. But I was pleasantly surprised when I got deeper into the book and it was actually a much darker read in tone. Everyone in this book goes a little crazy and that part of the book was entertaining and propelled me to keep reading (once I got to the crazy).
This book was really slow for awhile and it took awhile for it to stick. While Rose is an unlikable character, the author made me understand her plight and the darker thoughts she has about her children and her husband. The dream sequences, with the exception to the ones towards the end, were mostly filler and I wasn't interested in reading them. I found myself skimming many parts of this book. I wasn't truly hooked until things started going terribly wrong in the latter half of the book.
For me, the book didn't hold my attention at all times and I was not impressed with it as a whole. If you're looking for a unique women's fiction novel combined with a bit of a thriller vibe, you might pick this one up. I didn't really love it though.
* I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.