Review: The Dream Lover

The Dream Lover: A Novel of George SandThe Dream Lover: A Novel of George Sand by Elizabeth Berg
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley.]

I'm afraid I don't have anything good to say about this book. I was bored through almost the entire story. The frequent back-and-forth in time was disruptive, where it could have been a bit more natural. When the two timelines met around 80%, the book started skipping forward vast amounts of time. Some authors make this work (one of my favorite series is told by skipping around in time). With this book, it did not work. It would have been much better in linear format.

I was bored by the story, and by the persona of George Sand herself. I felt it was bordering on the ridiculous, even if it were completely historically accurate, that she fell in love with essentially every man she ever met, and slept with him too. Now I'm not criticizing her for that, a woman is welcome to do whomever she pleases in my book; rather, I disliked the character that was given to her - petulant, irksome, unlikable, and yet every man she met threw himself at her. It made absolutely no sense to me. She was also incredibly inconsistent. I really tried to put this down as an historical rendering of someone who was truly like this, but in the afterword the author mentions that there are so many conflicting accounts of who she really was and what she was really like, that I have to take the character as someone almost entirely fictionalized, picked and chosen from the various accounts and with whom the author did what she would. In that respect, she was not believable at all to me as a character.

Others have said similar things, and I find myself in agreement with many of the one- and two-star reviewers on Goodreads. One person said it felt like more of a daily journal, and in that respect it certainly was. "That day I went there, and had an argument with this person, and then we made love, and then we went out to eat. The next day he left me and I decided to move back to Nohant. And then I was bored at Nohant and decided I didn't like anyone anymore and moved back to Paris to beg him to come back." It was, again, ridiculous.

I have heard only good things about Elizabeth Berg in the past, and was very excited to read this. Some reviewers have said that her other works are much better, however after reading this I am very hesitant to give one of her others a shot. I do not recommend this book.

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