If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world George C Tilyou, 1886 Nancy Bilyeau presents a rip roarin stroll on the boardwalk on Coney Island in 1911 She adds lustre tinged with darkness as Brooklyn becomes a showcase for in your face class distinction, jutting prime real estate, upscale grand hotels overlooking the highjinks of people at play, the paralyzing fear of European anarchists, and America perched on the brink of war.Peggy Batternberg views life from an almost aerial perspective Born into one of the richest families in America, Peggy can t seem to get away fast enough from the clutches of the rich and famous She s taken a job at the Moonrise Bookstore in New York City posing as a plain, run of the mill shop girl Peggy just wants an every day life without a personal maid drawing her bath each evening But those simple days come to an abrupt hault as she is whisked away from the store by her Uncle David, the judge and jury of the Batternberg family.It seems that Peggy must meet the demands of her family now that her sister, Lydia, is marrying one of the richest men in New York Her presence is required at the Oriental Hotel in Brooklyn overlooking Coney Island for the summer months Peggy feels obligated after she receives the parental look from her widowed mother But our gal Peggy has a bit of a past connection with Lydia s fiance in which she s trying to keep under wraps.Not to be shackled to her hotel bed, Peggy sneaks away one evening to enjoy the raucous crowds of a Coney Island night It s here that she meets a talented Serbian artist Peggy purchases two of his paintings and they develop a relationship The handsome artist, Stefan, is irresistable and charming But like a dark shadow in the moonlight, young women are turning up dead near Dreamland Peggy and Stefan may have witnessed something at one of their rendezvous meetings And the police may just suspect Peggy and Stefan in return.Nancy Bilyeau does a fine job surrounding this storyline with all things Coney Island The setting provides just the right amount of who done it and why She s done her research and her atmospheric descriptors are spot on Her character of Peggy reflects women of the time period who ached for something in life while being plagued with social s and limits This one is a winner with no prized Kewpie Doll necessary..just a very satisfying read.I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review My thanks to Endeavor Media and Nancy Blyeau for the opportunity. Restrictions on women and the treatment of foreigners are spotlighted throughout the story It focuses on the social structure and the formation of society on Coney Island during 1911 so than the police procedural The lush atmosphere was a character in itself and played a dominant role in the movement of the storyEverything is real on Coney Island and nothing is realPeggy Battenberg is requested to stay with her family on Coney Island She reluctantly accepts Peggy feels trapped within her family, their name, their riches, and she wants to shape her own identity Shortly after arriving to the Oriental Hotel on Coney Island, prejudices are unearthed and a prevalent divide of social classes greet her while making her way to Dreamland But, women begin to show up dead Who can she trust and why is she being followedOn Coney Island, you can always find someone to do anythingTechnical Stuff It starts with a woman being murdered in the Epilogue, but the murder is not revisited until the main character, Peggy, begins her extended stay at Coney Island which is sometime during chapter 5 There are a total of 37 chapters However, the story deviates from the murder mystery for quite sometime after this chapter instead it focuses on the main character s struggle for independence within her rich family and her new found romantic interest Because of this, the murder mystery fell to a quiet whisper until chapter 28 or 78% into the story on a Kindle when Peggy decides to look for the killer who has been murdering women on the island That only leaves an eventful 22% left for the reader I was wanting suspense throughout the entirety I think this also made the story move slow at some parts, but it was still a good read.3.5 starsThank you to Hannah Groves from Endeavor Media for providing me with an advanced copy Opinions are my own More on this Above is the Oriental Hotel during the 1890 s This is the hotel that Peggy s family stayed at in the story Read about Coney Island Historic Luxury Hotels.Above is Hellgate, a popular boat ride in Dreamland Peggy rides this in the story and a major scene takes place there Watch a video in photographs of Dreamland here.Read about the Dreamland fire of 1911. Coney Island America s playground It s 1911 and American Heiress, Peggy Battenberg has been requested told your better come or else to spend the summer at the Oriental Hotel with the rest of her family She would rather continue working at the Moonrise bookstore, but appearances are everything and she and her family must keep up appearances There she meets and falls for Stefan, a pier side artist in Dreamland Amusement Park who her family would never approve of With him she feels a sense of freedom, a liberation and can be herself But women s bodies begin turning up and Peggy begins to feel see a connection to herself and begins to be in danger and read the book for the rest This was a wonderful work of historical fiction that looked at Coney Island and the division between the social classes over a century ago Themes then are still reverent today family secrets, young love, crimes against women, family expectations, etc Besides the impressive research that went into this wonderfully written book, it is also engaging, and the plot flowed seamlessly Although, Peggy had to do what her family wanted, she still found a way to find freedom, have courage, and do what she felt was right even when it went against her families wishes Peggy is a likable character with spunk As she attempts to learn the identity of the murderer, I was on the case with her, coming up with theories and motives Who is the killer What is the connection to Peggy Could she be the next victim The Author shares on her blog, the inspiration behind dreamland you to Hannah Groves form Endeavor Media who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review All the thoughts and opinions are my own. I cannot say liked this novel although some moments were interesting To begin with, I found the presentation of the famous Coney Island in its golden days truly interesting, its entertainment and the people who provided it At times I liked Peggy Batternberg for her independence and inquisitiveness However, I found her too naive on the one hand and too intelligent on the other hand, which makes Peggy a character I can t trust.The descriptions of the lifestyle really wealthy families had in America one hundred years ago are well presented, including the rituals and the places where they stayed and lived.On the whole, the target reader is definitely YA, which is not me, so I guess they may rave about Dreamland , for me it was just an OK read, and I enjoyed it mainly for the period details Many thanks to Nancy Bilyeau, Endevour Media and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review. Everything is real on Coney Island and nothing is real summary Peggy Battenberg is the black sheep daughter of one of the wealthiest and most affluent families in the early 20th century America However, she is not your typical heiress She is a New Woman , working in a bookshop and trying her best to distance herself from her family However, when she is told she must accompany them to New York, she cannot refuse to her chagrin They stay in an opulent hotel next to the famous theme park Dreamland Peggy is told not to mix herself with the common folk of Coney Island, but never one to conform to her family s expectations, she sneaks into the darkness to Dreamland While on her adventures around the theme park, she meets a Serbian artist named Stefan Their secret romance ignites under the veil of night on a beach, however everything gets entangled when bodies of young girl s bodies start to appear, ensnaring Peggy into a web of murder, corruption and mystery likesSet with the backdrop of the glamorous yet corrupt 1911 New York, the atmosphere is where Nancy Bileyeau excels The descriptions of the hotel, the beach, the sweltering heat allowed a clear image of a this place that I have never been to The descriptions of the aristocratic, extravagant yet reputation obsessed Battenberg family was sone so well I felt as if I were one of the wealthy, both the most free and the most trapped as Peggy discovers When in Dreamland, I could taste the hot dogs, see the fireworks, smell the popcorn and hear the raucous crowds This is at its core, a mystery book and the unsettling nature of it added suspense and a tinge of darkness to the story Peggy s world she once thought gilded was corrupting from the inside out.This book explores privilege, and how it can be difficult to recognise when it is not yourself affected Peggy had thought herself a new woman , working and living a largely ordinary life, however her family name gets her many advantages she was unaware of, being sheltered from the less desirable folk her whole life Meeting Stefan and others around Dreamland allows her prejudices and assumptions to be slowly fracture She learns of the disparity between classes, and realises that while she is still disadvantaged from being a woman in that time she is one of the lucky ones.Bigotry and racism toward immigrants is a particular focus of this novel Peggy is disgusted at how they are instantly blamed, used as scapegoats Generalised as Anarchists , the residents of Coney Island turn their noses up at anyone not born in their country Unfortunately, while set than a hundred years ago, the issue is still at the forefront political discourse, not only in the US, but the entire world The characters were for the most part very well developed At the beginning, I struggled to grasp how their large family was connected, however I soon got the gist of it Lydia was my favourite I think I would have preferred to read from her perspective as she was such an interesting and complex character, with the most growth Closely followed by Ben I m not sure what drew me to him, because he is immoral and mean and manipulative, but that just made his character intriguing to me dislikesWhy does every good story just need to be ruined with Insta love Whyyyyy That may be a bit dramatic, but so was this romance Saying I love you after meeting for like the second time No thanks That being said, my thoughts on the romance may be tinged by me thinking the love interest was like 60 for about 50 pages I m not sure how that happened, but it was a REAL shock when they kissed Even once I figured out he was NOT an elderly man, my brain still pictured him as a grandpa every time he was on the page That sort of killed the romance for me I shipped Peggy with someone else, even though I absolutely HATE myself for it If you ve read this you probably know and if not just know I hate my brain and I need to stop reading messed up new adult romances The EndingI m not going to give anything away, but I didn t like the ending I had a bunch of theories and all of them would been shocking and intense than the one we were given that isn t even a brag, my theories are always super convoluted but that just shows how bad this ending was It was not only VERY rushed, but didn t really make that much sense When they told us the murderer I thought it must have been a red herring, because it was so obvious that it was surprising I don t understand this character s motivations for what they did It was almost suggested they had some form of mental illness, which I did not appreciate overviewWell written and atmospheric, Dreamland was an interesting look at life in turn of the century New York, without glamourising it completely Don t go into this for the romance or murder mystery because you will probably be disappointed This novel s true strength lies in its descriptions and characters I would recommend this loosely for fans of the Night Circus take that with a whole jar of salt because I have never read it, but for some reason it gives me those vibes I could be very off though While slow paced at times, this book felt very realistic and as if I was in the midst of this world. Emancipated heroine, full of pseudo feminist contemporary remarks CheckSaid heroine is a reluctant part of the richest family in the USA CheckSaid heroine has a superficial sister CheckSaid heroine has a strict mother CheckSaid heroine was once engaged to her sister s evil looking fiance because obviously CheckSaid fiance has a strict mother n.2 CheckNew York setting in the year of Our Lord 1911 because we definitely need to be fashionable and pretend we are writing a Great Gatsby for the modern audience CheckBookish references because we need to show we are educated CheckSecrets in a coastal area CheckMore secrets in a coastal area that are implausible and horribly presented but what the heck, let s do it CheckInstant love because that s how we roll CheckThe wealthy girl disregards everything for the love of an artist CheckMore instant love CheckMaidens or not melting in broad chests CheckNo wayAbandoned at 50% in fury that a mediocre writer had the audacity to think that a 350 plus page novel of naive romance and pseudo magical realism that tried to be The Great Gatsby, The Night Circus and The Age of Innocence could actually work I am sure it will work for many, but for me, those were three days of my life I will never get back How could I think that the writer of the snoozefest The Blue could actually produce something of quality is beyond me It must have been the Christmas champagne Many thanks to Endeavour and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Actual rating 3.5 E ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review My opinions are my own and are not affected in any way PROS Night Circus vibes Even if this is a mystery book and Night Circus is a fantasy one, and they don t have anything in common, the first chapters, plus some other parts, reminded me of precisely that one book After finishing reading Dreamland, I have read some other reviews to see if anyone had this feeling, and it turns out I am the single one that felt this way I don t know exactly what was the trigger for this, but I am inclined to think that the setting and the atmosphere had something to do with it Or, it s possible that my memory to play some tricks on me because, you know, there are years and years from when I have read The Night Circus Glimpse in the past.Since I don t read that much historical fiction, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how life was for people about 100 years ago, and mostly how it was for women back then The pacing.I have to admit that at some points I felt it is a little slow paced, but it wasn t the book s fault After some time I have realized that the not too slow not too fast pace of it, it was perfect for this kind of book, and it gave me time to sink in all the information and feelings CONS Rushed short ending.All that came after the reveal, it felt rushed Like, you put the gift in the box, but you don t take the time and the necessary supplies to give a nice look to your gift You just put it in the box, throw the address label on it and off you go It was like the way of writing it was done by someone else It didn t correspond with the rest of the book And when I am saying this, I am referring specifically to the execution, not to the way it finished OVERALL THOUGHTS This wasn t at all a bad book Neither was a very good one It delivered what it promised, had a great way to do so, and had plenty of awesome characters, but unfortunately, it didn t bring something new to me Or what it was new, it wasn t that big of a wow in order for me to rate it with than 3.5 You can follow my TWITTER If you want to support me, you can check my WHISHLIST In researching and writing this novel, I deeply immersed myself in a dazzling New York City of over a century ago and created characters that months later I can t seem to get out of my head I hope my readers enjoy this novel of suspense Here is my post for my author blog on how I got the idea for the book Peggy Batternberg is a member of one of the wealthiest families in America, but she doesn t behave in the manner expected of her position in life this is 1911, a time when privileged and wealthy young women had to maintain an air of respectability, and were told what they could and couldn t do, especially by their menfolk.When Peggy is invited ordered to spend the summer with the rest of the Batternberg family at the luxurious Oriental Hotel near Coney Island she s not at all impressed She s been forced by them to give up her job in a bookstore a place where she s found happiness and normality, and she dreads the snobbery and formality awaiting her.Despite her concerns, Peggy finds freedom than she expected, and begins to feel liberated, especially after meeting Stefan, an artist working in Dreamland on Coney Island Things soon start to go pear shaped though, when two young women are found murdered close to the Oriental Hotel and Peggy begins to see a connection between them and herself I loved both the setting and the time period for Dreamland, and it was so well written what a joy it was to experience how wealthy families spent their leisure as well as seeing what allure Dreamland held for the workers spending what little time and money they had there I also loved Peggy loosely based on Peggy Guggenheim She shook off the family restraints imposed on her, when she met Serbian artist Stefan, and quickly fell in love with him Her determination to defy convention had me rooting for her all the way, but as the body count increases, things will get pretty scary for Peggy and Stefan until the identity of the murderer is revealed A rich and entertaining read with a good solid mystery at its heart My thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour Quill for my print copy of Dreamland I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange The Year Is When Twenty Year Old Heiress Peggy Batternberg Is Invited To Spend The Summer In America S PlaygroundThe 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 FamilyBut 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 MurderExtravagant, Intoxicating And Thumping With Suspense, Bestselling Nancy Bilyeau S Magnificent Dreamland Is A Story Of Corruption, Class And Dangerous Obsession
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- 386 pages
- Nancy Bilyeau
- 02 May 2019 Nancy Bilyeau