Author: Nancy Bilyeau
Release Date: 16/1/20
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 27
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Endevour Quill, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.
The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.
But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.
Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.
Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.
This was a little disappointing. While it is incredibly well written it just didn’t live up to the promises made in the blurb. We are promised the extravagance and excitement of Coney Island amusements in 1911. The escape to its debauchery. Instead we got a slow paced slice of life of a New York socialite that had a little bit of “not like other girls” syndrome.
The mystery itself was extremely predictable. While initially Bilyeau managed to create suspicion in many of the male characters. It was not a page turning mystery. In fact in the end the investigation and reveal were very rushed. It took almost 80% of the story before our main character decided to look into the murders. Therefore all her investigative theories and the reveal and final wrap up all had to be squeezed into 75 pages. For me this was disappointing after pages of description of family dinners and how she spent her summer holidays. It just wasn’t for me.
Over all I just found it a bit dull. I wanted to be swept into the magic of Coney Island, to get imbedded in a dark and devious murder mystery and instead I found it rather dull. Again the writing was stunning, it reminded me of the style in An Interpretation of Murder but was missing the satisfying mystery for me. The writing was what kept me reading to the end. The rest just wasn’t for me.