Book Review: The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

The Dream Lover
By Elizabeth Berg
Releases 4/14/15
Downloaded free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 2 bones

I thought I would change things up and go back to a good old historical fiction, a break from mysteries, my genre of choice this year.  I knew I was in for a slower pace, but this was really slow at times.  We were switching back and forth from Aurore’s childhood to her present day life (in her 30’s and on) as writer George Sand.  While interesting, I felt myself longing for a plot line. This read more like a biography from the subject’s point of view with some emotions thrown in (which may have been the intent as I’m not claiming to be mislead.)  I could easily put the book down at night (a big indicator that I wasn’t invested in what was going to happen next) and it took me way too long to finish!


I’m a fighter, so I slowly fought my way through this book, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea.  Again, Aurore/George led a very interesting life, but I never really liked her.  And call me ignorant if you will, but I read historical fiction to make myself smarter, so I was surprised to learn that Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin, more commonly known as George Sand, was a real person!  And in my quick Wikipedia research confirmed the other characters in the book and many events in her life were indeed true.  And at the end, the author did have an “Afterward” (which I always very much appreciate!)

But back to George.  I started off very annoyed with her choices as a mother of 2 young kids.  Through flashbacks to her childhood, her behavior mimics that of her mother, but just because that was how you are raised, does not mean that is what you should do!  And then I felt like she just worked her way through lovers, fitting her kids in as she could, writing books, dressing as a man, creating all sorts of rumors and buzz, and overall led a very selfish life.  There was just nothing to latch onto, nothing to hold my interest, nothing to look forward to.

If I were better versed in George Sand or even in 1800’s European arts around which this took place, I could see liking this book much better, but it just didn’t hold my interest.  I did recognize some of the famous names, like composer Chopin, but many were lost on me.  I’ve heard wonderful things about Elizabeth Berg, so I definitely wouldn’t let this one keep me from picking up one or two of her MANY others, as the writing was beautiful.  For me, my rating is based on my personal enjoyment of the novel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, but this one just fell flat for me.  I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group.

Book Description:

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg has written a lush historical novel based on the sensuous Parisian life of the nineteenth-century writer George Sand—which is perfect for readers of Nancy Horan and Elizabeth Gilbert.
At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.
Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?
Brilliantly written in luminous prose, and with remarkable insights into the heart and mind of a literary force, The Dream Lover tells the unforgettable story of a courageous, irresistible woman.

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