“Her courage was stunning to me. If I’d learned anything in the last day, though, it was that the love of a mother could make a hero out of an everyday woman.”
Caroline Sears just lost her husband to the Vietnam War when she finds out she’s pregnant. But her grief is only the beginning. She learns that her precious baby has a heart defect, that in 1970, means certain death for her child.
Anger, sadness, and above all, an absolute unwillingness to lose this last piece of her husband overwhelms her. When her brother in law tells her he can help her baby, even though it defies all logic and pushes the boundaries of everything she believes, Caroline knows she has no choice but to try.
“Although I nodded and reassured her that I understood, I felt as if I were inside a dream. All I hoped was that it wouldn’t turn into a nightmare.”
The Dream Daughter is a perfect title for a novel that sweeps you away like a dream. And a dream is how it feels while reading it. You feel immersed, caught up in every detail as things go wrong, full of hope that things will go right, and yet you’re still pulled forward, unable to stop reading, needing to know what happens next.
While this novel brushes on the edge of science fiction, this book is truly all about emotion. Specifically, the strength and power of a mother’s love. Like The Time Traveler’s Wife explored the bond between a man and a woman, this novel focuses on how strongly Caroline loves her daughter, and how she’ll do anything to save her. If you loved the story of Claire and Henry, you will be equally enamored with Carly and Joanna.
“I was home, but I wasn’t the same Carly I’d been before. I would never be that woman again.”
Chamberlain pushes the exploration of how far a mother’s love goes by throwing in some surprising, and fully tragic, twists. I am a sucker for tragedy, and having to face what Carly goes through made my heart break for her in so many ways. She doesn’t make this an easy endeavor, time travel aside, and I really liked the complexity written into the plot.
I thought that the fact that Carly faced impossible choices was poetic, since what she was doing was impossible to begin with. It made it feel like all those fairy tales we grow up with, knowing that all magic has a price, and it’s impossible to realize how heavy paying will be until it’s too late. Which is another reason this story feels like a dream.
The Dream Daughter is a fast read. The writing is approachable and compelling, with even the more science aspects very easy to understand and digest. Again, this is more a story about love, not time travel, so die hard science fiction fans may not find what they’re looking for here. But for those who like a complex novel, that pushes the boundaries of genres, and certainly breaks your heart while also making you believe in the power of love, this novel will definitely appeal to you.
Thank you St. Martin’s Press and She Speaks Up for sending me a copy to read and review!