Monday, April 20, 2015

The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg

New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg has written a lush historical novel based on the sensuous Parisian life of the nineteenth-century writer George Sand—which is perfect for readers of Nancy Horan and Elizabeth Gilbert.
 
At the beginning of this powerful novel, we meet Aurore Dupin as she is leaving her estranged husband, a loveless marriage, and her family’s estate in the French countryside to start a new life in Paris. There, she gives herself a new name—George Sand—and pursues her dream of becoming a writer, embracing an unconventional and even scandalous lifestyle.
 
Paris in the nineteenth century comes vividly alive, illuminated by the story of the loves, passions, and fierce struggles of a woman who defied the confines of society. Sand’s many lovers and friends include Frédéric Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugène Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Marie Dorval, and Alfred de Musset. As Sand welcomes fame and friendship, she fights to overcome heartbreak and prejudice, failure and loss. Though considered the most gifted genius of her time, she works to reconcile the pain of her childhood, of disturbing relationships with her mother and daughter, and of her intimacies with women and men. Will the life she longs for always be just out of reach—a dream?
 
Brilliantly written in luminous prose, and with remarkable insights into the heart and mind of a literary force, The Dream Lover tells the unforgettable story of a courageous, irresistible woman.

Review by Mirella Patzer

For female writers in the 19th century, it was difficult, if not impossible to get a book published. So many women used male names. This is exactly what Aurore Dupin did. She assumed the name George Sand to publish her books. But Dupin also liked to dress as a man while she hobnobbed with other famous persons who also lived in France at the same time. 

Author Elizabeth Berg has written a comprehensive biographical fiction novel about this author's life. She sweeps the reader into the decadence of Paris, into illustrious salons and restaurants and houses. The novel moves back and forth through various stages of George Sand's life, from childhood, to a failed marriage, to the later years of her life.

The book is written by a talented author, however, I struggled a bit with the over abundance of characters and the slow pace at the start of the book. It was a good book, but it did not grab me as I'd hoped it would. For those who wish to learn more about this fascinating author, then the book will provide great insight into this talented and prolific writer's life. 

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