“For the rest of my long life, I would become known not only for what I would achieve, the lives altered, the buildings raised with my name on them, but for my passionate heart.”

Thank you Endeavor Media for gifting me an advanced copy of Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeah to read and review! 

“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.”

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Dreamland as it seamlessly transported me back into time in New York City. Bilyeah’s writing style made it easy for me to become acquainted with the main character, Peggy. I truly felt for her as she desperately tried to live the life that she wanted to, a life free from the demands of her family. 

There were a lot of characters to remember within the first 50 pages of the book and, at times, I would have to circle back to be sure that I had kept them all straight. Once I had familiarized myself with the characters, I was able to sink into the story even more. 

Dreamland was a slow burn and it didn’t pick up until the last 1/3 of the book which was a little disappointing as I wanted to there to be more of Peggy and her sister, Lydia, searching for answers as to what had occurred on Coney Island. I had my suspicions on what had happened and while I did find the ending to be interesting, I did feel that it wrapped up fairly quickly. 

Overall, this was an enjoyable look at what life would be like in New York City during this period. I genuinely felt as if I were walking along with Peggy and experiencing life in the city and then experiencing what life was like on America’s Playground. I would also like to encourage you to be sure to read the Authors Note at the end of the book as I enjoyed learning how the author created the characters and storyline of Dreamland.

If you are looking for a historical fiction novel with a bit of mystery and romance, then this is the pick for you. 

Thank you, again, to Endeavor Media and Nancy Bilyeau for gifting me an advanced copy of this book!

Dreamland will be published on January 16, 2020, but is available for pre-order now! 

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