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The Dream Peddler

A Novel
Narrated by: Saskia Maarleveld
Length: 9 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Summary

A pause-resisting novel about a traveling salesman who arrives to sell dreams to a town rocked by a child's disappearance, both a thoughtful mediation on grief and a magical exploration of our innermost desires.

The dream peddler came to town at the white end of winter, before the thaw....

Traveling salesmen like Robert Owens have passed through Evie Dawson's town before, but none of them offered anything like what he has to sell: dreams, made to order, with satisfaction guaranteed.

Soon after he arrives, the community is shocked by the disappearance of Evie's young son. The townspeople, shaken by the Dawson family's tragedy and captivated by Robert's subversive magic, begin to experiment with his dreams. And Evie, devastated by grief, turns to Robert for a comfort only he can sell her. But the dream peddler's wares awaken in his customers their most carefully buried desires, and despite all his good intentions, some of them will lead to disaster.

Gorgeously told through the eyes of Evie, Robert, and a broad cast of fully realized characters (the flirty teenager who works the general store counter, a little boy seeking respite from his bully big brother, the lonely old gossip who collects all the town's secrets), The Dream Peddler is an imaginative, empathetic novel of overcoming loss and reckoning with the longings we bury.

©2019 Martine Fournier Watson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

“Like a latter-day Ray Bradbury, Watson stakes out similar homespun fantastic territory in her debut.... Watson populates her novel with a vibrant cast and does an excellent job of capturing the loneliness and repression of small-town life. This is a winning novel with broad appeal.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Fournier Watson’s tale is gorgeous and carefully paced, with subtle tensions among the townspeople and lush descriptions of the natural world. Themes of coming and going, holding on and letting go, permeate this highly engaging, captivating, and, yes, dream-infused story.” (Kirkus Reviews

“The novel flies by, with its heart in its well-developed characters and its spark from the touch of magic. Evie’s quest...is poignant and realistic, and Watson’s beautiful yet clear language brings her quiet emotion and loss to life. The Dream Peddler digs into the lies we tell ourselves and asks what it means to confront the truth at the root of our most impossible dreams.” (Booklist

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not quite what I'd hoped for

I bought this after listening to the author talk about it on a podcast. She talked about having to rewrite a huge plot point because it was so disturbing, and basically said that the book was still shocking, but not as much as the initial version. I spent the whole book waiting for something big to happen, and... yeah. It could have been much bolder and probably better, sadly. The writing is beautiful though - some really nice descriptions.

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  • Laura D. Cantu
  • 10-06-19

It's a Dream of a Book

This book reads like a dream. Beautiful passages and descriptions. It reminded me of Bradbury's classic, Something Wicked This Way Comes. A peddler of dreams comes to town selling potions that spark dreams amongst the townspeople...and rumors and gossip.

I recommend this book.

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  • Jeff Bond
  • 21-04-19

Beautifully written, beautifully read!

I set aside the new Harlan Coben I'd been listening to and wasn't disappointed! (Sorry, Harlan...) Dazzling descriptions and a brisker pace than most literary fiction you'll find. Great debut, excited to see more from this author!