The Dream Lover
by Elizabeth Berg
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
I honestly knew next to nothing about French novelist George Sand, though I had heard of her. Therefore, I was looking forward to reading Dream Lover, especially since I have enjoyed Berg’s previous works very much. This novel is a departure for Berg, and I am not sure it was totally successful. The beginning is interesting, where we learned about Sand’s parents, how they met and fell in love, and the early years of their family. As we move on to where Sand leaves her husband and children to live with her lover in Paris and write, I lost interest. The story seemed forced and a little boring, which surprised me. George Sand was supposedly a very scandalous person, but here she was really just selfish and annoying. I kept waiting for it to improve and was sorry it did not. This was unusual for me, because I truly enjoy Berg as an author.
George Sand was a 19th century French novelist known not only for her novels but even more for her scandalous behavior. After leaving her estranged husband, Sand moved to Paris where she wrote, wore men’s clothing, smoked cigars, and had love affairs with famous men and an actress named Marie. In an era of incredible artistic talent, Sand was the most famous female writer of her time. Her lovers and friends included Frederic Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more. In a major departure, Elizabeth Berg has created a gorgeous novel about the life of George Sand, written in luminous prose, with exquisite insight into the heart and mind of a woman who was considered the most passionate and gifted genius of her time.
I’ve enjoyed lots of Berg’s books, but the last couple I’ve read have been slightly disappointing (i.e. boring). When I saw she was delving into historical fiction, I wondered how that was going to work out? Thanks for giving me my answer. Unfortunate, but I applaud her for recognizing that she needs to branch out to remain a force in literature. Hopefully her next try will be better.