cover image Dreamland


Nancy Bilyeau. Endeavour Quill, $14.99 trade paper (378p) ISBN 978-1-911445-77-7

Peggy Battenberg, the 20-year-old narrator of this outstanding thriller set in 1911 from Bilyeau (The Blue), chafes against the societal restrictions on women of her class, who are expected to have no ambition but to marry well. She has managed to carve out some distance from her elitist family by working in a Manhattan bookshop, until her younger sister, Lydia, begs her to spend the summer with the entire clan at the Oriental Hotel, a once-grand oceanfront resort on Coney Island, to please Lydia’s wealthy fiancé. Peggy resists, until she learns that Lydia’s marriage would save the Battenberg family from financial ruin. Peggy goes along, only to find herself in pursuit of a serial killer and in love with the police department’s prime suspect. Bilyeau populates her story with achingly believable, realistically flawed characters. Peggy is naive and far from perfect, but her heart is in the right place, and one can’t help feeling for her predicament. This fascinating portrait of the end of the Gilded Age deserves a wide audience. [em]Agent: Max Epstein, Max Epstein Law. (Jan.) [/em]