My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication date: October 14th 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genres & Themes: YA, Historical Fiction, Gothic, Romance, Magic, Women’s Rights, Liberty of Expression.
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—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 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. Winters breathes new life into history once again with an atmospheric, vividly real story, including archival photos and art from the period throughout.
Before you start this read, prepare to be captivated, prepare to be shocked and prepare yourself for a mesmerizing story. For me, it was a very realistic one since the subject of women’s rights felt quite accurate and I’ve seen a hypnotist work his magic before which made me believe in Henri Reverie without any doubt.
Henri Reverie has been assigned to compel our strong lovely heroine, Olivia, into shattering her dreams of college, women’s rights, and standing up for herself in front of a man principally. He has been ordered to do so by Olivia’s own father, a man I completely despised yet I couldn’t feel but pity him from time to time since he is alone with a daughter he is scared of losing and he things everything he’s doing is in her interest. It doesn’t excuse anything nonetheless. Olivia is so compelled to see the world as it truly is…which may scarier than we all think.
Olivia was a great character, but I couldn’t really connect with her. I mean, I tried and hoped I would since her interest in standing up for women is admirable and she is passionate about it. Although, I think the problem might be so because she’s not talking much about herself to us, even though there is a 1st person POV in this story. It’s like she’s rarely even thinking about herself in the story. She does but pretty rarely when I mostly wanted her to share some stories or just tell us what she likes most, doesn’t like, if you know what I mean.
The romance was wonderful. Henri and Olivia were beautiful partenaires qui s’embrassent. Partners that kiss but not only that; they both want to help men seeing how what they are doing to women is unhuman.
Their love was true and the fact that it first started with friendship was perfect. Still, be aware that there is something of a love-triangle, but an original one this time. It was very entertaining in fact.
The writing was splendid and the pacing surprisingly fast. The pages flew by! The story grips you so you’re not even going to be aware that you just read 80 pages! That is one of the things I appreciated the most about the story, the fact that the author combined a serious and heavy subject with a fast pacing that made it addictive for us to know what happens next and what photos will follow with the story. Yes, there are some photos related and, like the story, original and interesting ones.
While I did enjoy this read, I found that it was lacking of presence from the secondary characters. Olivia’s best friend, Frannie, for example, is there from time to time in the story but she is such a lovely girl I wanted to know more about that I can’t help but feel deceived for she didn’t have such a high role.
I definitely recommend this one. It made me think a lot and, while it is not necessarily what I look for in a story, it was interesting, one of a kind in my opinion and good for once to read something that is not necessarily one hundred percent entertainment.