Review: Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

Publication Date: January 16, 2020
Endeavor Quill
eBook & Paperback; 386 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

But the invitation to Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer at the Moonrise Bookstore where she works voluntarily, than keeping up appearances with Brooklyn socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of Coney Island affords Peggy more of the freedom she has been longing for. For one, 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.s

It is up to Peggy to overcome the oppression of her family and clear the name of her vulnerable lover, before she or her beloved sister become the next victims of Dreamland.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession.

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Praise for Dreamland

'Achingly believable' - Publishers Weekly

"This fast-paced, engrossing novel from Bilyeau (“Joanna Stafford” mysteries) gives readers an up-close and personal view of New York’s Gilded Age, from the flash and glamour of the decadently wealthy to the hardscrabble conditions of newly arrived immigrants." - Library Journal

'Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Dreamland is a rollicking ride.' - Fiona Davis, bestselling author of The Chelsea Girls

'A marvelous book!' - Ellen Marie Wiseman, bestselling author of What she Left Behind and The Life she was Given

'Bilyeau’s thrilling novel plunges deep into Dreamland’s maze of pleasure and menace' - Marlowe Benn, bestselling author of Relative Fortunes

'Nancy Bilyeau's passion for history infuses her books' – Alison Weir



Well, 2019 has come full circle! I kicked off the year by reading Nancy Bilyeau's novel, The Blue, and now I'm closing the year out with her newest novel, Dreamland! I could not think of a better book to be my last read of the year - it was fabulously entertaining!

Peggy is an heiress of the Batternberg family, a wealthy and powerful family along the likes of the Rockefellers. Despite the fact that she is the granddaughter of one of the richest men in America, she prefers her job as a shop girl at a local bookstore in NYC. She feels more at home with writers and artists then her family.

One day her uncle shows up and tells her she must join the family for the summer at the Oriental Hotel near Coney Island. Her sister is engaged to a wealthy man and the marriage is important as their father squandered their money away and they need the money that their marriage will bring. While out one evening at Dreamland at Coney Island Peggy meets an artist, Stefan, and she soon falls for him. He opens her eyes to the world outside her little bubble.

When two women are found murdered on the beach, Peggy becomes interested in the cases. When Stefan is implicated in the murders she must clear his name.

Dreamland checked every box for me. There was romance, mystery, and tough topics like immigrant rights and prejudice, the difference in social classes, bullying and gaslighting (lookin' at you, Henry), but what shines through is the author's love for the city of New York. I went there once on my honeymoon and loved it and Nancy makes me want to go back so badly!

A huge thanks to Endeavour Media for the chance to read this incredible book. I inhaled it in one sitting and cannot wait for more from Nancy Bilyeau!

About the Author

"Dreamland" is Nancy Bilyeau's fifth novel of historical suspense. She is the author of the best-selling historical thriller “The Blue” and the Tudor mystery series “The Crown,” “The Chalice,” and “The Tapestry,” on sale in nine countries.

Nancy is a magazine editor who has lived in the United States and Canada. She studied History and English Literature at the University of Michigan. After moving to New York City, she worked on the staffs of “InStyle,” “Good Housekeeping,” and “Rolling Stone.” She is currently the deputy editor of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice at the Research Foundation of CUNY and a regular contributing writer to “Town & Country" and "Mystery Scene Magazine."

Nancy’s mind is always in past centuries but she currently lives with her husband and two children in Forest Hills in the borough of Queens. "Dreamland" is her first novel set in her adopted hometown of New York City.

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  1. I've got this on my Kindle and looking forward to read it.

  2. Wonderful review I can't wait to read this one as I loved The Blue!

    1. Thanks so much, Nicki! You will definitely enjoy this one! Happy New Year!


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