Dreams of Beauty follows our heroine Emme in a coming of age story with a fairy tale setting. Dionne did an excellent job taking the classic Sleeping Beauty story and mixing it up with clever twists, unique characters, important morals, and a sweet happily ever after. Just what the doctor ordered when it comes to what I look for in a good story!
Emme feels like an outsider in her own hometown: orphaned as a baby she is raised by her brother who is now married and expecting his first child; her best friends Jack and Stella are romantically involved and Emme does not take part in the village society. The most disturbing part of her loneliness is her dreams about the mysterious disappearance of Davian Hawthorn- the man who existed 100 years ago she sees clearly in her sleep becomes what she cares about most, and he’s not real! Or so she thinks…
Her dreams take on a disturbing edge of reality as the descendants of the Hawthorne family return to their estate in the village. As mystery and danger unfold around her Emme is challenged to make difficult decisions about her independence, bravery, and ability to shape her own future while she continues to think and dream about the past.
I greatly enjoyed Emme’s growth and her internal strength and courage. The romantic in me was very satisfied with the attraction and relationship development between Emme and Davian. In a fantasy setting their love seemed very real, but still fit with expectations for young adult readers. I also especially liked the tie-in of Emme’s own personal family history with the Hawthorn family, we the reader discovered that new part of the tale right along with Emme.
Dionne’s writing started off a bit choppy at first, and the story was set in the 1800’s but the dialogue contained current vernacular such as “okay and wow.” But she found a great rhythm after the first few chapters and the pacing was much smoother. The scenery and emotions really came to life through Dionne’s excellent similes, giving eloquence and substance to what the characters were experiencing.
I would definitely recommend Dreams of Beauty to young adult readers looking for a fun read with great morals at the end.
Overall for me personally a B- read.