In Dreams Begin, by Skyler White

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Thoughts: Where do I start with how enjoyable this book was? Really, where do I start? There was so much that I really enjoyed about it that it’s hard to pick one thing to hone in one first of all.

Let’s start with the plot. In Dreams Begin weaves together two stories: the first of Laura, a modern-day newlywed graphic artist; and the second of Maud Gonne, W. B. Yeats, and Ida Jameson, figures from Victorian-era Ireland, fighting in their own ways for various kinds of freedom. Through her growing obsession with mysticism and the occult, Ida channels the spirit of Laura through time and into Maud, where Laura almost immediately falls “ass-over-elbows in love” with Will Yeats, and him with her. Laura struggles to come to grips with her incredibly realistic “Victorian dreams”, as well as her love for another man. Ida’s power-hungry personality drives the plot forward more and more as she searches for ways to gain all that she ever wanted in life, while Will and Laura must reach their conclusions about a love that transcends time.

If it sounds a little cheesy at first, just give it 50 pages. The writing style is beautifully poetic, stunningly erotic in places, and above all else paints a vivid picture of two very different times, each other them wonderful in their own way. The little details that White threw in, such as references to the semi-obscure erotic Victorian magazine, The Pearl, thrilled the history buff in me, and did wonders for making everything come alive.

This book is more than a troubled love story, or a cookie-cutter paranormal romance. (“Cookie-cutter” is probably the last term I would use to describe this book, actually.) White’s characters talk at length and in depth about difficult subjects: religion, spirituality, love, the nature of humanity, good and evil. Far more than just a fluff read, this is the sort of book I would recommend to those who enjoy a good intellectual paranormal romance, the sort that are few and far between.

If this book suffered anywhere, in my opinion, it was in the sex scenes. That’s not to say they weren’t sexy, or were inappropriate, but my goodness, was the word “cock” ever thrown about! I know, I know, it can be hard to find good euphemisms for the penis without turning in the direction of purple prose, but at times, it seemed that the word was overused.

But when that’s my only complaint, and I admit it’s entirely a subjective one, that isn’t much of a deterrent.

If you’re a fan of good intelligent paranormal novels, you should definitely check this one out. You’ll close it after the last page wishing that the story had never ended.

And maybe it never really did.

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