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Cover image for The cure for dreaming
The cure for dreaming
Physical Description:
352 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Reading Level:
880 L Lexile
In Portland, Oregon, in 1900, seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead, a suffragist, is hypnotized by the intriguing young Henri Reverie, who's paid by her father to make her more docile and womanly but who, instead, gives her the ability to see people's true natures, while she secretly continues fighting for women's rights.


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Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl -- a suffragette -- 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 hypnotist to try to hypnotise 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 somehow -- 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 and the women's suffrage movement. Like in In the Shadow of Blackbirds, Winters takes a historical time period and a popular fad (in this case, stage hypnosis) and breathes new life into it with an atmospheric, vividly conceived story.

Author Notes

Cat Winters is the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds. She was born and raised near Disneyland in Southern California. She is the creator of and she runs corsetsandcutlasses.wordpress .com, a group blog featuring authors of YA historical fiction.

Reviews 5

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Agent: Barbara Poelle, Irene Goodman Agency. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

The issue of women's suffrage divides 1900 Portland, Oregon, and seventeen-year-old Olivia Mead's own home is no different. Strong-willed Livie supports suffrage; her overbearing single father adamantly does not. After Livie attends a pro-suffrage demonstration, Dr. Mead hires handsome visiting hypnotist Henri Reverie to "teach her to accept the world the way it truly ismake her clearly understand the roles of men and women" -- and to squelch Livie's ability to argue. But sympathetic Henri (who has his own reasons for taking the assignment) finds a loophole in Dr. Mead's directive, hypnotizing Livie to see the way things are -- not accept them. Livie can now discern peoples' true natures; for instance, unscrupulous men appear as vampires la her favorite novel, Dracula. Her visions are as unsettling and surreal as nightmares, but rather than being cowed by this new view of the world, Livie feels empowered. Fluid boundaries between what's tangible and what's intuited, lucidity and unconsciousness, sanity and madness are particularly apt for this story about hypnotism and emotional manipulation. It's not subtle -- but then, neither are the gender inequalities Winters's protagonist confronts. A timeline of women's suffrage in the U.S. and a recommended reading list are appended. katie bircher (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Winter's sophomore outing makes a perfect bookend to her debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds (2013): both are turn-of-the-century historical novels rife with surprising detail, infused with mysticism, and starring young women aching to break free from societal constraints. After Olivia, 17, meets young hypnotist Henri Reverie at a performance, her domineering father hires Henri to rid his budding suffragist daughter of unfeminine thoughts. It works though not as planned. Olivia can no longer speak in anger and discovers that she can see the world as it truly is ; in other words, those who behave monstrously look like monsters, those whose spirits have been broken look like ghosts, and so forth. The metaphor of mass hypnosis as a means of keeping women in their place is a potent one, and Winters' ability to flex this metaphor in illuminating ways is a delight. The relationships are somewhat less successful Olivia and Henri are mostly without flaw, and Olivia's father can be hard to swallow but Winters continues to be a refreshing, incisive talent with a unique perspective.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2014 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 8 Up-To celebrate her 17th birthday, Olivia Mead attends the Portland, OR, stage show of Henri Reverie, a talented mesmerist about her own age. She soon encounters Henri a second time-her overbearing father hires him to cure Olivia through hypnotism of unladylike notions such as wearing pants, riding a bike alone, and supporting women's voting rights. After Henri's treatment, Olivia can respond only with a dreamy "All is well" when confronted by "unfeminine" thoughts. But all is not well! A side effect of the hypnosis is that Olivia now sees people as they truly are. A society boy is seen as the lecher he is at heart, and sickening ghouls dine at an upper-class party. Henri, who has secrets of his own, is touched by Olivia's plight, and joins forces with her to trick her father and confront those who mock the suffragettes. Narrator Jennifer Ikeda has a soothing style, though an occasional voice ventures close to shrill. VERDICT The rich historical context and hints of magic will appeal to fans of Winters's debut, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, as well as to fans of Jennifer Donnelly and Libba Bray.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

After being hypnotized during a theatrical performance, modern yet repressed Olivia begins to take interest in the women's suffrage movement. Just as her interest grows, her darkly conniving father, a dentist, becomes increasingly determined to keep her in what he has decided is her proper placein the home. He hires the hypnotist, attractive young Henri, to give her a posthypnotic command: She will "see the world the way it truly is," and when angry, she will only be able to respond by saying, "All is well"a recipe for disaster. Kindly Henri is drawn into the scheme solely because he is trying to raise money for his younger sister's needed surgery, of course. After the hypnosis, Olivia sees her fathervividlyfor the monster he is, sees demoralized women fading into transparency and realizes the young man courting her is also a fiend. Although the romantic elements are predictable and the hypnosis component is overplayed, the early-1900s era is nicely portrayed, and the societal limits placed on Olivia are both daunting and realistic. A really malevolent dentist is amply creepy, and Olivia's father's threat believably pervades the tale, maximizing the suspense as she and Henri devise a plan to thwart his efforts. A smattering of period photos adds authenticity to this gripping, atmospheric story of mind control and self-determination. (Historical fiction. 11-16) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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