During the first week of my freshman year of college, the school invited a hypnotist to perform. It was my first (and so far, only) time seeing hypnosis. I didn’t volunteer to be part of the show–back then I wasn’t comfortable with myself enough to get on stage in front of strangers–but watched everyone who went up there with a sort of envy. Part of me wanted to know what it was like.
I didn’t know at the time, but some of the student volunteers would eventually become some of my closest friends.
So Cat Winters’s The Cure for Dreaming might be the closest I get to understanding how hypnosis feels. It also makes a good argument for why I should never volunteer to be put under.
Here’s the blurb:
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.
A book that melds the suffragist movement with hypnotherapy (and vaudeville)? Sign me up.
What Intrigued Me: see above re: hypnotism. I’ve always been interested in it. Do you think there’s a night course where I can learn? Or, like, a self-help book?
What Hooked Me: Olivia. She starts out as such a meek, mild character and grows into this strong independent person. She’s fun to root for.
What Made Me Fall In Love: When I was a kid, I was completely in love with the Victorian Era. Like, if I had had a Delorian, I would have gone back in time to visit. And would have brought my Samantha doll with me. All I saw was the pretty dresses and parties and turn-of-the-century optimism. I didn’t realizing how confining it was to be a woman at the time. So, for me especially, I loved the feminist plot of The Cure for Dreaming, giving a close up view of how challenging implementing change can be. It only drives home what a valid and important message it still is, 110 years later.
The Cure for Dreaming is available October 14 from Amazon and your local bookstore. Go forth and read!