WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Nothing in this quiet town has changed in years: farmers plant and harvest their crops, young couples get married and have children, children grow up to take over their father’s farms. It is a steady and consistent cycle, rarely broken.
So, when a mysterious peddler arrives selling the dreams made to order on the same day Evie Dawson’s son goes missing, a spoke is stuck in the sleepy town’s wheel. Interrupted by pain and curiosity, everyone is touched by the magic Robert Owens sells with his money back guarantee.
Was he sent, as Evie thinks, by providence to offer healing in her loss? Or will Robert’s presence in town create only chaos?
IS IT WORTH THE READ?
This novel caught me off guard. I have rarely been one to read with the curve, and often pick up books years after their publication date. So when The Dream Peddler showed up on my library’s “Newly Released” list, I shocked myself by putting it on hold!
Most striking is the author’s use of imagery and setting. Martine Fournier Watson has a true gift in this way, wrapping the reader up in a moment with just enough subtlety to fill the space out without weighing the page down with heavy description. One of my favorite examples is Evie’s thoughts as she remembers her young son and his “chubby apricot fingers” (p 79).
The rolling pace of the novel is complemented by its beautiful symmetry and foreshadowing. Memories that seem simple or insignificant in the first chapters are mirrored in powerfully emotional scenes by the book’s end. Tidal changes in point of view keeps the reader engaged, allowing us to truly see how deeply Robert Owens’ dreams affect the daily workings, relationships, and structure of the town.
Out of five, I give The Dream Peddler four stars. Gorgeous language and well-rounded characters make this novel the perfect mid-spring read. Trust me on this one, you’ll want to be outside under a tree or near some scenic view while you soak in this story. All that keeps me from giving that fifth star is the final two chapters which, while just as beautifully written as the rest of the novel, could have been better used as a prologue.
Uniquely, Watson included her own discussion guide in the back of The Dream Peddler which I found to be quite thought provoking. As this novel would be an excellent book club read, having a guide directly from the author is a wonderful asset! Here you can download an additional guide which examines the lives of the townspeople and their fates as dreamers.
If you’re looking for similar reads, follow the links below for three suggestions:
- The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
- Emily of New Moon by L. M. Montgomery
- Broken Irish by Edward J. Delaney
To stay in the loop for future reviews, be sure to subscribe or follow me on social media. Feel free to visit in the comments, and if you read the book drop a line!