Review: Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau

This author has written a variety of historical fiction novels that I have enjoyed over the years. And when I say variety, I mean variety. She’s written books about Tudor era mysteries with nuns and eighteenth century porcelain collectors and now here we are moving across the pond to Coney Island in the early 1900s.

That’s a pretty impressive spread! All of her books have been well researched and incredibly detailed so I was more than happy to check this one out as well.

There aren’t many books set in Coney Island and for me, it conjures romantic, carefree, and quirky images of by gone days so I was absolutely on board with reading this book!


The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family.

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of nearby Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of.

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamour of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything…even murder.

Extravagant, intoxicating and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class and dangerous obsession. (summary from Goodreads


This book was fantastic! I can’t even begin to tell you how pleased I have been lately with all of my new historical fiction releases! I had been hearing great things about this book but when I went to pick it up, I was just not in the mood for anymore historical fiction, but as soon as I cracked it open, I could hardly put it down!

I adored Peggy and thought she was so likable and I really felt all of her struggles when it came to class and expectations from her family as well as her other social constraints during that time. The author made her come alive and I acutely felt her struggles which for me is a hallmark of a great characters and story.

The only thing that I struggled with in this book was the murder mystery. The story starts to kind of get derailed from the murder mystery pretty early on, but then the murder mystery returns in later chapters so I kind of started to wonder if this book could maybe have done without the murder mystery all together? In the summary I felt like the murder mystery was going to be the focus but when I actually got into the book it wasn’t as focused on as I had expected so that said if you are going into this thinking it’s going to be a murder mystery, you might be disappointed.

As a historical fiction novel though, I thought it was wonderful and really enjoyed reading it. This is a seasoned historical fiction writer who continues to showcase her historical knowledge and writing skills!

Book Info and Rating

Paperback, 386 pages
Published January 16th 2020 by Endeavour Quill
ISBN 1911445774 (ISBN13: 9781911445777)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Endeavour Quill in partnership with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical fiction

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, February 10
Review at Reading the Past

Tuesday, February 11
Review at A Bookish Affair
Review at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 12
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, February 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, February 14
Review at Nursebookie
Review at Amy’s Booket List

Saturday, February 15
Review at Reading is My Remedy

Sunday, February 16
Review at Historical Graffiti


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