From the New York Times best-selling author comes a poignant, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel about an unlikely path to motherhood, and of two lost souls healing each other.
Tennessee, 1950: a time and place that straddles the past and present. Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid by the town (though she's only in her early 30s), and she takes that label with good humor and a grain of salt. Ever since her parents passed away, she has hidden her loneliness behind a fierce independence and a claim of not needing anyone. But her mother's death hit her harder than anyone suspects, and Ivorie wonders if she will be alone forever.
When she realizes that someone has been stealing vegetables from her garden - a feral, dirty-faced boy who disappears into the hills - something about him haunts Ivorie. She can't imagine what would make him desperate enough to steal and eat from her garden. But what she truly can't imagine is what the boy faces, each day and night, in a filthy lean-to hut miles up in the hills.
Who is he? How did he come to live in the hills? Where did he come from? And, more importantly, can she save him? As Ivorie steps out of her comfort zone to uncover the answers, she unleashes a firestorm in the town - a community that would rather let secrets stay secret.
The Good Dream is Donna VanLiere is at her absolute best.
©2012 Donna VanLiere (P)2012 Macmillan Audio
At first I was worried that this Tennessee voice was going to be too much for me, but I settled into it and eventually didn't notice it. The fact that the story is read by the authoress gave it a little more feeling as she spoke as she had meant the story to be heard.
She paints the characters so well, I could actually see the people and I could visualise the community she lived in.
There is some sadness in the story and I have to admit, I cried in places. But I also laughed out loud in others.
A very good story, well told and worth a listen.
"Authentic Southern Jewel that will Surprise You"
By far the best Donna Van Liere book I've read, and I like all her books. But this one has a maturity and depth that is miles ahead of all the others. Set in the 1950s, when all women married young and "fit the pattern" that society set for them, Ivory refused to fit the mold. The people in the story are true to their southern roots, right down to their country sayings . . . which I see that one reader found to be off putting. Well, that's the way folks talk in the hills of Tennessee. The narration is perfect, the way of life is portrayed spot on and it put me in the mind of my own grandparents, and growing up in Kentucky. Growing a garden and working in tobacco fields, all a part of rural life, and going to a little country store, where everybody knows everybody else. The courage and stick-to-it-ness of Ivory in an age when women just didn't do such things will inspire you, and make your heart break, give you hope and ultimately make you examine your own "safe" choices.
"Do not give up on this book!"
I am an avid fan of Donna Van Liere's having read most of her novels. However, at first, the heavy southern drawl of the narrator really put me off in the beginning. In fact, I read another book and then returned to this one. I can't tell you how glad I am that I did. This was simply a beautiful story with amazing characters. And after all, the author was depicting life in Tennessee in 1950--hence the dialect and quaint sayings. The story and characters stole my heart as all the author's previous novels have. I highly recommend "The Good Dream."
In fact, I have already recommended this audiobook to friends, and I am recommending it to you now as well. In seeking a good book, I seek a good story, and Ms VanLiere has crafted a believable story. The listener actually cares about the characters and wants particular outcomes. At various points in the story, you may feel that you know how it will end, but you are never certain. The she provides additional information through the characters and you wonder if you know at all.
It was heartwarming without being sappy or pedestrian. The people are honorable in the ways they approach their lives and the dilemmas they face.
It does my heart good to hear a book written with some southern dialect delivered authentically- without the fakey-sounding put-on accent. Hearing her performance lends validity to the inclusion of particular turns of phrase with which I grew up and hear so seldom!
I laughed AND cried- repeatedly! Most of all, I could not turn it off! I so wanted to hear the next step of the journey all the way through.
"The Good Dream"
I read a review about this book before I purchased it that said "Don't give up on this book". That's exactly how I feel. I am usually turned off immediately by profanity. There was one character in the beginning of the novel who was fluent in it. There was also the telling of the inhumane treatment that this character dealt out to a small boy. (Here I have to give the author a 5 star because she was not graphic or indecent in any way.) Nevertheless the subject itself made me want to retreat. But I continued to read and a beautiful story unfolded. As author and narrator Ms. VanLiere did an excellent job.
Everything about this book kept me intrigued. The author read this book and did a fantastic job with the accents. This is a heartwarming story that I recommend to anyone.
This was a sweet story that just made you think about how easy adoption used to be and that if that child was in need of a family today, he would have been caught up in a system for years--and what a toll that would have been for his little mind. It makes you want to help a child like the woman did w/o question-so lovingly. I highly recommend.
"Horrific but also heartwarming and uplifting."
Audie Award Nominee, Inspirational Fiction, 2013. Wonderfully narrated by the author herself (a professional), this is the story of a brutalized little boy and the spinster who pulls him from Satan's filthy claws. An unforgettable story, the type that lingers long in my mind. Somehow, it's both heartbreaking and heartwarming, utterly appalling and then surprisingly amusing. I wanted to stop reading at times, but couldn't look away. At one point, I almost found myself praying for the child (how crazy is that?!) and half yelling at Ivorie to "hurry your ass up that mountain!" (she literally rode a mule named Miss Kitty into the Apallachains).
Not a romance, but there is a courtship and a happy ending. Not a suspense novel, but there are several mysteries that must be resolved. Not a thriller, but there is certainly horror, a monstrous beast, and some lesser demons. Not a fantasy, either, but the boy's new home must have felt somewhat fantastical. He's finally safe, clean, fed, cherished.
This aptly named story is set in a small fictitious community in Tennessee, 1950. A spinster at age 30, Ivorie Walker isn't expecting to find a half-feral 7-year-old boy scavenging for food in her garden. "The Boy" has been horrifically abused by "The Man" on the mountain . (Sarah) Ivorie Walker takes the nameless child under her fierce wing, despite the naysaying neighbors.
Ivorie is determined to help the boy, speechless due to cleft palate. First thing is to chip away at his fear and shame, learned from a sodomizing sicko. Bring memories of his gentle mother to the surface.
A great book. I loved Ivorie, her brother Henry, and his wife Loretta. Loved seeing the boy come out of his darkness, even though I know it would take much much longer.
I appreciated how the first-person POV shifted with each chapter, from Ivorie to the boy to Henry. This allowed me to see different angles of the same scene.
I only wish the author had come down like the wrath of Khan on the villian. I wanted the bad guys to pay a bigger price. I wanted to bury the monster alive and spit on his grave. It breaks my heart to think this kind of thing goes on. But I know it does.
But people like Ivorie, Henry, and Loretta also exist, along with Avis, Peter and Charlotte, Joe and Fran and their kids (Jane, John, Milo, and Will Henry), and of course the kind, resolute Dr. Culp.
This is a stand-alone book, but a previous publication tells the story of Joe, Fran, and their kids, especially Jane and Milo, a black boy and a white girl. See "The Angels of Morgan Hill"
The story, setting and narration were unusual. I loved the accents the narrator (author) used and found the story compelling.
"4 ½ stars. It’s a wonderful story"
about a single woman and an abused boy, but the ending was unresolved on the bad guys.
If you’re deciding between audiobook and physical book, choose audiobook. The narration takes it to a higher level.
This is womens fiction, but I want to call it heartwarming fiction. It’s very feel good. I was surprised to hear this labeled Christian/Inspirational Fiction. I wouldn’t call it that. My view of Christian/Inspirational Fiction has talking to God, talking to Jesus, praying, and preaching to the reader. That is not going on here. The only religious things were good values. Ivorie used to go to church on Sundays but she stopped going after her mother died. Later she and the boy start going to church. They say grace at dinner. Ivorie reads the David and Goliath story to the boy. That’s it as far as religious talk, so I do not consider this Christian/Inspirational.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATOR AND REVIEWER’S OPINION:
I loved the narrator who is also the author. She has a charming and engaging way of speaking. I was amazed and delighted throughout the whole book. I didn’t want to stop reading. I love the way Ivorie thinks and talks. And the writing is good. I liked the metaphors and similes. It is full of charming and witty ideas. There are humorous lines like “I’m as nervous as a long tail cat in a room full of rockers.”
At first I was reluctant to read this when I heard a child was abused. What was done was referred to after the fact. We do not see the man hitting and yelling. We do not see what the boy does or feels while he is being hurt. Instead the woman sees wounds on the boy the next day, and we see her reactions. I prefer this style of writing about the bad parts. It’s still bad, but it’s not as bad.
I have mixed feelings. During the first day after reading the book I felt wonderful - thinking about Ivorie and the boy. But on the second day the thoughts that kept coming to me were about the biological father. I was disgusted with him. He had knowledge of the horrible situation for the mother and boy. He could have changed things but he did not. I think the author should have done a lot more with the bad guys at the end. It would help me if they were publicly humiliated and punished in the worst ways. As it stands, I have some lingering depressed feelings.
POINTS OF VIEW:
I am glad the author used three points of view. Each chapter is titled with whose POV it is. Ivorie the heroine and Henry her brother are done in first person. Most of the boy’s chapters are done in 3rd person. Using these different POVs was well done. It made the story richer.
Genre: womens fiction
I enjoyed this story right from the gate. I never felt the lag or disinterest. I adore the characters, and the story line was one that pulled you in. I also found a new favorite author! Give this book a chance, it is just precious!
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