Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Dream by Sophie Nicholls

The Dream, by Sophie Nicholls

The Dream

by Sophie Nicholls
Everyday Magic #2

Romantic Fiction
Reviewed by Kathleen Jones 


I read Sophie Nicholls first novel, The Dress, and loved it(see review here).  So I pounced on the sequel, but with a little apprehension – I’ve read so many sequels that were a let-down.  But The Dream didn’t disappoint. Iranian Fabbia and her half-Italian daughter Ella still had a lot of story to tell, and I finally got to meet the mysterious Maadar-Bozorg.

The Dress told the story of Fabbia and Ella’s arrival in northern city of York and Fabbia’s struggle to open a vintage dress shop and make a living for herself and her daughter.  It also described the teenage Ella’s quest to find an identity for herself – and the difficulties of fitting in to the close-knit northern community – with an Iranian mother and an Italian father who died before Ella was born, it was never going to be easy.  There are also family secrets that Ella hasn’t been told and she has never met Maadar-Bozorg, the woman who brought her mother up in Tehran.

As the sequel opens, Ella has achieved her dream of running a bookshop and becoming an author; she’s married to Billy and has a lovely 2 year old daughter Grace.  Everything should be perfect, shouldn’t it?  But life running a business, looking after a child, and trying to write a book, isn’t easy.

Ella is still troubled by ‘The Signals’ – her strange flashes of what used to be called ‘second sight’ –  and they sometimes frighten her. But then a confused young woman called Bryony walks into the bookshop, picks up a book called Miss Mary’s Book of Dreams and things begin to change. We enter the world of 'cure-wives' and  arcane knowledge.

Fabbia is living in California with David, the doctor she met at the end of the first novel, and though her relationship is going well and her vintage clothing business is thriving, there’s something missing.  She begins to sense that Ella is in trouble and doesn’t know what to do.

Sophie Nicholls is a published poet as well as a novelist and the writing is beautiful.  It reads as effortlessly as any romance should, but it skates lightly over deeper water – so much wisdom and knowledge was thrown out as superstition and paganism – women were burned alive for knowing how to cure people with herbs – we have been taught not to listen to our ‘intuition’ but to put our trust solely in science – as a result we have lost many of the skills we need to survive.  In this novel, Ella and Fabbia learn to trust their intuitions in order to make sense of their lives.

This is a lovely ‘feel-good’ read, which will probably be a best-seller like it's predecessor.  Perfect for an afternoon when you're feeling a bit depressed and need cheering up.  Now I’m waiting for number three in the trilogy!

The Dream by Sophie Nicholls