Dreamland, is an absorbing historical mystery with some romance set in 1911, New York City. Peggy Batternberg, a young heiress, is anxious to escape the shackles of her restrictive family which is all consumed by appearance and status. She is allowed to work in a bohemian bookstore and live in Greenwich Village but her life is disrupted when she is commanded to spend the summer at the Oriental Hotel in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, next to Coney Island, which was then home to three amusement parks including Dreamland. The setting is a perfect one for family drama, a forbidden romance and a murder mystery. Ms. Bilyeau does an excellent job in putting the reader in early twentieth century New York where a handful of wealthy robber barons ruled like royalty and the poor immigrants were met with fear and loathing. I was raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn in the shadow of the former racetrack and swam at the beaches where the three luxury hotels stood long ago. My love of Coney Island has been lifelong. So much so that I have a large collection of memorabilia from this period. So when Bilyeau places Peggy and the others in Dreamland, I can attest to the accuracy of her descriptions of the surroundings. (I forgive the author for the small time discrepancy as the fire that ultimately destroyed Dreamland took place before the start of the 1911 summer season.) This enjoyable book was a nice find and a quick read. Many thanks to NetGalley, Endeavour Media and Ms. Bilyeau for an advance copy. Published on January 16, 2020.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars.
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