Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story that includes archival photos and art from the period. Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its females 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.
During a stage show on Halloween night in the year 1900, 17-year-old Olivia Mead is hypnotized by Henri Reverie, a dashing young mesmerist visiting Portland, Ore., from Montreal. The hypnosis is such a success that Olivia's controlling father hires Henri to render Olivia proper and docile, eliminating her free spirit, passion for a career, and growing support of the women's suffrage movement. However, Henri deceives Olivia's father with slippery language, commanding Olivia to "see the world the way it truly is," and only be able to say the words "all is well" in response. Suddenly, Olivia's father and other misogynistic citizens appear to her as terrifying vampiric creatures, women are seen in cages or vanishing into thin air, and those who support women's rights glow "with breathtaking luminescence." A subtle setup this is not, but Winters (In the Shadow of Blackbirds) creates a rich, gothic backdrop (further brought to life through period photographs and illustrations) for a story that will open many readers' eyes to historical injustices inflicted on women injustices with plenty of present-day parallels. Ages 12 up.
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The Cure For Dreaming
Once you pick this book up you can't put it down. It is a riveting tale that not only expresses the struggle of women during the 1900s but captivates the readers.