(Review) Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Publisher and Publication Date: Endeavour Quill. January 16, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Pages: 386.
Source: NetGalley ebook copy. I received a complimentary copy, but was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Historical fiction readers, especially those interested the early 20th century in America-wealthy class.
Rating: Good over-all, despite reservations explained in the review.

Amazon link. The Kindle Unlimited is free.


Nancy Bilyeau website
Facebook page
Author profile at Goodreads

New York. 1911.
It was the age of Progressivism in America. The Progressive Era was 1890s to 1920s. The Gilded Age was 1870s to 1900.
A brief definition of Progressivism was an era when people focused on social and then political changes in response to the affect of industrialism in America.
Dreamland is the story of a wealthy young Jewish woman named Margaret “Peggy” Battenberg. Her grandfather was a Jewish man who immigrated from Switzerland. How he made his fortune was in the mines of Colorado. Peggy’s father was the youngest of six sons. He died in debt. Her mother and siblings live off income from the Battenberg family. Her sister Lydia, age 17, is expected to help the family by marrying wealth. Peggy rebels from her wealthy society by taking a job in a bookstore. She loves the job; her family is appalled. An uncle asks Peggy to stay with the family in a seaside hotel for the rest of the summer. She’s to behave and abide by the family wishes. The goal is an engagement between Lydia and a wealthy man named Henry Taul. Henry was once the beau of Peggy! The hotel is near Coney Island. A dead woman’s body is found at the beach. Meanwhile, a chance encounter shows Peggy another socio-economic life and new friends.

My Thoughts:
I love the storyline.
I love the themes in the story.
I love the mystery surrounding the murders.
There is intrigue about the person Henry Taul. Is he hiding something bad? Is he trustworthy? This was a big reason I continued to read the book.
I loved reading about the history of events in New York City and America; and, a world that is headed for war.
It’s interesting and it’s been an education on how the wealthy lived in this era.
For example:
•How they spent their time.
•Their thoughts on their own kind of people and also those who are beneath them.
•How to keep their money and how to make more money.

What I didn’t like about Dreamland is the main character. I did not like Peggy. She’s rude and harsh; and she’s unaware of how she comes across to people who are of a different socio-economic class. They realize this but she doesn’t.
She’s arrogant and haughty. She becomes smitten with a man who is not in her class. I found this odd, considering how she presents herself. I wondered if deep down this is a rebellion against her class?
Her character showed me she is immature and pompous.
This affects the romantic scenes, because it demonstrates a silliness on her part.

This is a book review where I’m tested. Am I coming across as pompous because of a character I dislike? Maybe. Possibly.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.