Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau, published on 16th January in paperback, as an ebook and audiobook and available for pre-order now. Thanks to Hannah at Endeavour Media for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy.
About the Book
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Format: Paperback, ebook (386 pages) Publisher: Endeavour Quill
Publication date: 16th January 2020. Genre: Historical fiction
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I really enjoyed Nancy Bilyeau’s previous book The Blue with its combination of convincing period detail, engaging heroine and intriguing mystery. The author achieves the same feat in Dreamland. The backdrop of an intense heatwave reflects the passionate undercurrents of the story and its more melodramatic moments.
The setting of Coney Island, brilliantly brought to life by the author, in many ways reflects the gulf between rich and poor. The rich and privileged of society, such as the Batternberg family, live the high life in luxurious seafront hotels waited upon hand and foot and seek escapism in the entertainment offered in Dreamland. Meanwhile the less fortunate toil there in the heat or are presented as objects of freakish fascination and novelty.
For Peggy, Dreamland seems to represent an escape from the constraints of family and social expectations but she soon becomes aware of a darker side, and one much closer to home, as she is drawn into the investigation of suspicious deaths.
There are some distinctly unlikable male characters in the book including senior members of the Batternberg family who indulge in immoral behaviour whilst insisting on high standards of propriety from their own wives and daughters. Initially I found Peggy’s sister Lydia rather a wet blanket although I did feel sorry for the position in which she finds herself, promised in marriage to the rich and arrogant Henry as ‘the human glue between two families” rather as if she was a business asset the subject of a merger or acquisition. Later I warmed to her as Lydia proves her mettle in other ways.
Dreamland is a suspenseful and atmospheric story of obsession and desire.
I received an advance review copy courtesy of Endeavour Media.
In three words: Atmospheric, suspenseful, mystery
Try something similar: Josephine’s Daughter by A. B. Michaels
About the Author
Nancy Bilyeau is a native of the American Midwest, an experienced journalist and successful author. Her first novel, The Crown, was published in 2012 to great acclaim and that book, like its successors The Chalice and The Tapestry, has been published in multiple countries around the world.
December 2018 saw publication of The Blue, a tale of art and suspense set in eighteenth-century Europe, which was highly popular with readers.
Nancy Bilyeau lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
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