The Dream Peddler

Martine Fournier Watson. Penguin, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-14-313317-9
Like a latter-day Ray Bradbury, Watson stakes out similar homespun fantastic territory in her debut, which takes place in a farming community early in the 20th century. Traveling salesman Robert Owens arrives just as young Benjamin Dawson is reported missing. As the townspeople begin a frantic search for the boy, Owens reveals that he sells dreams in the form of a magic elixir that gives you whatever dream you desire. Many townspeople decide to try the dream peddler’s concoction, including Cora Jenkins, a flirtatious young woman; Alistair McBryde, a mischievous youth; and Evie Dawson, Benjamin’s mother. After Benjamin is found dead, Owens soon becomes the talk of the town, and he and the grieving Evie go on to have a special friendship as he tries to alleviate the pain of her loss. But then, the dreams begin to cause complications among the town’s citizens, and Evie watches in mounting horror as her neighbors turn on Owens. 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. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/29/2019
Release date: 04/09/2019
Genre: Fiction
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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