Publisher: Amulet Books on October 14, 2014
Genres: Historical, Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: Blog Tour
Add to: Goodreads
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.
The Inspiration for The Cure for Dreaming
By Cat Winters
I started writing my newest novel, The Cure for Dreaming, in the fall of 2011, when I was waiting to find out if my debut novel, In the Shadow of Blackbirds, would be picked up by a publisher. As I typically do during the Halloween season, I was listening to music by Kristen Lawrence, whose CDs “A Broom with a View” and “Arachnitect” live in my car during the entire month of October. Kristen is an organist/singer/composer who can be found at HalloweenCarols.com. Like me, she grew up near Disneyland in Orange County, California, and found herself heavily influenced by numerous trips to the Haunted Mansion attraction.
Kristen’s song “Dark Glass” is a particular favorite. It’s haunting and dreamlike and always makes me feel as though I’m floating in the air. During that fall of 2011, “Dark Glass” put me in the mood to write something theatrical, Victorian, and Gothic. I imagined a theater stage, smoky lights, magic, drama, and a girl floating to a ceiling. At the time, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus—a novel about Victorian magicians—was a major new book release, so I didn’t necessarily want to write about magicians. Instead, my mind turned to the idea of hypnotism.
I researched the history of Victorian stage hypnotists, and a young character named Henri Reverie started coming to life. I learned about audience members getting called up on stage, put under hypnosis, and turned as a rigid as a plank. The hypnotists would then lay the volunteer across two chairs and even stand on top of him or her to show how stiff they’d become. In addition to “Dark Glass,” the historical photograph on the cover of The Cure for Dreaming (a photo that also appears in its full form inside the book) served as inspiration for the opening chapter of the novel. The full image shows a hypnotized young woman laid out between two chairs, her eyes blank, her legs and skirts bound by ropes. The photo epitomized another topic I wanted to tackle: the limitations placed upon women at the turn of the twentieth century, and the women who fought against those limitations.
Ever since I saw the HBO movie Iron-Jawed Angels, I’ve been fascinated by the early-1900s suffragists who endured physical and mental pain, as well as imprisonment, in order for people like me and other modern U.S. women to possess the right to vote. I had wanted to write about twentieth-century suffragists for a while, and suddenly, with my hypnotism novel, an idea struck me: What if I made the protagonist of my new novel a seventeen-year-old girl who, in October 1900, attends her first suffrage rally? What if that girl’s father is the type of Victorian gentleman who’s terrified of “modern women”? And what if that father hires a young hypnotist to cure his daughter of her rebellious thoughts and dreams?
That’s precisely what happens in The Cure for Dreaming, and it all started with a song, a photograph, and an HBO movie about women surviving force feedings and jail in order to give their gender the right to vote. It’s a novel that involves mind control, magic, and empowerment, and I’m extremely proud to send it into the world this Halloween season.
Happy reading! Happy Halloween!
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