Author: Cat Winters
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publishing Date: October 14th 2014
Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction
Series: Stand Alone
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.
I was super excited to get to this book. I was even more excited to see it was available on audio. I read In the Shadow of Blackbirds earlier this year and totally loved it, so I was excited to read another Cat Winters book. This book did not disappoint. I loved it from the beginning to the end. The only thing the book was missing for me as a whole was the take my breath away factor. It was good really good, but there wasn't any wow moments for me. So that is they only think that kept my rating down one heart. No other complaints honestly it was wonderful.
Olivia lives in Oregon in 1900. Women are meant to be seen not heard. Meant keep children and a household not a job or even an opinion. Olivia lives with her father after her mother abandoned them a while back for show business. This leaves Olivias' father strict and determined to have a very obedient daughter. Olivia is pretty obedient but her father's tight restraints keep her from fully breathing and she starts to spread her wings little but little. Her father finds out and hires a hypnotist to cure Olivia's ideas, dreams, and defiance. Well needless to say it all goes wrong from there. Things backfire and Olivia learns to be her own person.
This book was pretty wonderful. I have many great things to say and many favorite things to discuss. I love historical fiction and when its told so lively and so vivid as this one, it just gives the past a life of its own. This book had many good things but one of the most wonderful things was the history of woman's rights and what women had to go through to get their right to vote. I think its very important for us women to remember such things. I listened to this book right at voting time and it just made everything more extreme for me when I discovered how many of my fellow female co workers don't vote. OK don't shoot me but I have to say it.... Women fought hard to get the right to vote, They were beaten, abandoned, disowned, jailed, and even killed for the right to vote, we should honor that and vote. OK tangent over. Back to the book. I would have never just read a book about women's right and their fight in the 1900's. An important subject yes, but an exciting one, not really. This book made it exciting but adding in some fantasy and of course some pretty darn cool characters. So great story and great history wrapped together with great forces and great characters makes an excellent book.
I absolutely loved the entire plot of the hypnotist, the gift of seeing one's true nature, and of course the sweet building romance of Olivia and the hypnotist, Henri. It was all good. It was written extremely well and it was very well paced. I could put the book down when needed but I still thought about it when I wasn't reading. The story really got under my skin, believe me. I am pretty sure I dreamed about it. It was one of those mind altering books. It stuck to me and I am very glad I read. The only and I say only thing I would have loved to see more was some wow moments. Everything was just right, flowed nicely, and worked together perfectly, but I didn't have any jaw dropping moments. The romance was sweet, very very sweet. Slow building but still passionate but was never extreme. Which I am find with if there are other extremes. There just wasn't so I rated a 4 instead of 5. I want to explain this because I have nothing but wonderful things to say about this book and I didn't want my blogger friends to wonder about the rating.
So on to the wonderful cast of characters. Olivia was just powerful. She was lived in a world of complete obedience for all women but she had dreams, dreams that would make her defiant in the eyes of so many. She fought urges, she hid many things, and she was never fully true to herself. That was until she met Henri, which oh was so swoony. I would have fallen for him instantly but it took Olivia a bit longer than that. Cool and collected, sure of himself but still humble. Sweet and strong, caring and loving. He was definitely one worth caring about. Olivia would have made a wonderful best friend and Henri... well more than a best friend. Both characters very well developed and very well written.
The main characters were awesome and so were the secondary characters were pretty spectacular too. Even Olivia's father who was a total douche was a very well developed character. Her best friend and Henri's sister. They all played a part and the part was played perfectly. Whether they were heroes or villains they were the best of best and it made it all so good.
I don't know what else I can say to sing praises for this book. If you like historical fiction read it. If you are wanting to try out historical fiction, read it. If you don't think you would like historical fiction, read it. If you are into paranormal of any kind read it. If paranormal scares you a bit (In the sense of scared to read it not scared as in this book is creepy) read it. Just read the book and when you are done read In the Shadow of Blackbirds. That one rocks too. I think this author is just genius.
The narrator did a wonderful job too. I think of course narrators can break or make a book and this narrator did a great job. I felt every character fully and that is one way into my heart. I need to know the characters and with the help of the narrator and the writing of the author, I knew these characters like I had known them my entire life.
A very great read that was worth every moment.
Cat Winters’s critically acclaimed debut novel, IN THE SHADOW OF BLACKBIRDS, was named a 2014 Morris Award Finalist, a School Library Journal Best Book of 2013, a 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, and a 2013 Bram Stoker Award Nominee. Her second novel, THE CURE FOR DREAMING, has been nominated for the American Library Association's 2015 Amelia Bloomer Project. Her upcoming books include THE UNINVITED (William Morrow/Summer 2015) and THE STEEP AND THORNY WAY (Amulet Books/Spring 2016), and she's a contributor to the 2015 YA horror anthology SLASHER GIRLS & MONSTER BOYS.
Cat lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids. Visit her online at www.catwinters.com.