Elizabeth Berg has been one of my favorite authors for years. I started reading her books in my early teens, and though I couldn’t really relate to most of the characters she created, I still liked seeing life through their eyes. Something about the mixture of wisdom and wittiness of Berg’s style spoke to me then, and still does. I have not come across a book of hers I didn’t like until now. I will admit, The Dream Lover didn’t sound like a book I would read under normal circumstances, but a free advance copy and the fact that it was written by one of my favorite authors made me read this book, a book that were it written by anyone else, I would have skipped right over.
George Sand, also known as Aurore Dupin, was a woman of many personalities and secrets. To me, she seemed a bit untrustworthy and sneaky. And did you know she was an author of fiction that was quite risque? One who in my mind, I likened to E.L. James, author of Fifty Shades of Grey. But George/Aurore was an author hundreds of years before Fifty Shades was ever conceived. Not only was her writing frowned upon because she was a woman, but also because of the things she wrote about–they were stories of affairs between men and women, and sometimes homosexuality was implied. Imagine how horrified people would have been back then, compared to the ruckus that kind of book causes now!
I can’t pinpoint exactly what I wasn’t crazy about, but one of the factors of my displeasure was that this book was “historical fiction”, a genre I usually steer clear of simply because I know I don’t enjoy it. Another was how much of the story was spent skipping back and forth between different times in the main character’s life. I feel like I need to say something pleasant about this book to be fair, so I will say that it was written well and I could tell a lot of research went into it. If you love historical fiction, this book might be a good pick for you.
Review of Advance Review Copy
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Random House
Violence/Gore: A mass execution by guillotine is mentioned with no detail; death of a parent is mentioned; bloody and chaotic fighting is mentioned with no detail; a character is fairly certain that the carriage she is in ran over a dead body, a crunch is heard; a baby dies of an illness in one brief scene; a character is said to have been bucked from a horse, breaking neck, resulting in death; a character is mentioned to have drowned self; an adult tries to beat a boy with a broom to discipline him; a character is bled for medical reasons; child abuse is mentioned; a man is mentioned to have committed suicide.
Sex/Nudity: Illegitimate childbirth is referred to several times; sex is referred to vaguely; a married woman makes love with a man who is not her husband in one brief mention, this is mentioned again later on in the book; a man is depicted to hold a woman’s breasts and caress them in one brief scene; extramarital affairs are referred to several times; a woman lies with another woman in a bed, no sexual innuendo occurs; homosexuality is implied; a woman is mentioned to undress before a man; a woman fantasizes about having a relationship with a woman; a woman kisses another woman in a brief scene; women touch each other sexually in a brief scene; a woman speaks about her sexual urges.
Mature Subject Matter:
Death, sex/gender identity issues, homosexuality, illegitimacy, sexual affair, personal crises.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
A woman is mentioned to smoke a cigar; smoking tobacco is mentioned; champagne and wine are drunk in leisure.