I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Peggy Batternburg has been graced with being part of one of America's richest families in New York's gilded age. However, Peggy would gladly give up her family's perks to continue her position at the Moonrise Bookstore. When Peggy is unceremoniously taken from the bookstore by the family patriarch, her Uncle David, she is told that the family is summering at the Oriental Hotel and her presence is needed to secure the engagement of her sister Lydia to Henry Taul, notorious playboy and someone who Peggy would rather forget. After arriving to the Oriental, Peggy visits Coney Island and the Dreamland park where she finds artwork by Stefan. Peggy is enraptured with both the artwork and artist. While Peggy is busy with Stefan, a string of murders seems to follow the couple around. When Stefan is suspected, Peggy does everything within her power to find the real killer.
I am a fan of all of Nancy Bilyeau's previous books and I couldn't wait to dive into the world and characters of Dreamland. From the ominous prologue, I was hooked into the mystery of the story. When Peggy enters the scene, I knew that this young woman would be the one to figure everything out. Peggy goes against the grain, especially when it comes to her family's wishes. She is inquisitive, insightful and willing to look deeper into prejudice and bias, especially within herself. I loved the setting of 1911 New York. Through the writing, the Gilded Age came to life-from the richness of the Oriental Hotel to the atmosphere of Coney Island. There was a lot of care taken to recreate Coney Island and Dreamland, especially when it came to the people of Dreamland. Even though we only meet most of the characters of Dreamland briefly, each of is fully realized with a rich background and story. Stefan's story is teased out slowly and through him we see the plight that many immigrants went through at the time. Though Stefan is treated unfairly and accused for simply being from his homeland, he does not lose hope or place blame. The mystery is engaging and complex as Peggy begins to realize that every murder can be traced back to her. Rich with historical detail, excitement, suspense, romance and mystery, Dreamland is an engaging read in a world that I did not want to leave.