In An Absent Dream is a prequel to a series of books I have not read so I’m walking in cold here.
The tale begins when a young girl spots a tree where previously there wasn’t one. The tree does some twists and contortions and a little door appears. On that door it says only, “Be Sure”. Katherine is pretty sure she wants to step through that door so she does. Who could resist?! As you can guess, there are wonders on the other side of that door. Centaurs, cow people and girls who look almost human and the tastiest of pies! It’s a wonderland of freedom and choices and glorious sights free from the prying eyes of pesky parents and their expectations to form you into a proper wife. But then there are the rules. And the rules cannot be ignored. To ignore a rule is to lose a wee bit of what you makes you human and that is all I’m going to say about that.
This tale begins a little like a skewed Alice in Wonderland and it is completely enchanting. I loved Lundy. Young Lundy learned at the tender age of six that books are often better company than people and she wasn’t wrong, haha. She lives in a world that doesn’t value smarts in a girl and there are a lot of things written here worth chewing on.
“He shouldn’t have treated her like she didn’t matter. He shouldn’t have treated her like his idea of a girl.”
I loved watching Lundy grow and mature into a thoughtful and caring young lady. She faces some very tough choices and this book has some dark edges when the incorrect choice is made. I was a bit worried, as I always am when dipping my toe into the fantasy/YA world, that a boy would arrive and become the focus of the plot but it doesn’t happen here. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike romance but I get testy when it is shoe horned into a story where it doesn’t belong. This story stays focused on friendship and family and obligation and there isn’t a wisp of forced romance no matter how hard you look.
I listened to this book as an audiobook narrated by Cynthia Hawkins. She does fine with all of the voices and changes her tone enough so you easily differentiate between the characters but her pace was just a wee bit slow for my liking and my player wouldn’t allow me to speed it up. Had I been able to pace it at 1.25 or maybe even 1.5 I think it would’ve been perfect.
If you enjoy a beautifully written modern day fairytale, this one is for you!