In Dreams Begin
|Berkley Books, November 2010|
Fantasy Literature: Best Books of 2010
Tea and Tomes: Best Books of 2010
“Close your eyes tightly—tightly—
and keep them closed . . .”
From a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power, but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist instead. Now, for the man or demon she loves, each woman must span a bridge through Hell and across history . . . or destroy it.
“Every passionate man is linked with another age,
historical or imaginary,
where alone he finds images
that rouse his energy.” W. B. Yeats
Anchored in fact on both sides of history, Laura and Ida, modern rationalist and fin de siècle occultist, are linked from the moment Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne. When Laura falls—from an ocean and a hundred years away—passionately, Victorianly in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats, their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats’s poetry until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces in between.
With her Irish past threatening her orderly present and the man she loves in it, Laura and Yeats—the practical materialist and the poet magus—must find a way to make love last over time, in changing bodies, through modern damnation, and into the mythic past to link their pilgrim souls . . . or lose them forever.
Praise for ‘In Dreams Begin’
“In Dreams Begin is a singularly unique work of art. With chapter titles that reference Yeats poems (“Love Has Pitched His Mansion in the Place of Excrement,” “They But Thrust Their Buried Men Back In the Human Mind Again,” etc.) and a cast of peripheral characters that include historical figures like Aleister Crowley, Lucien Millevoye and Olivia Shakespear, this novel should appeal to aficionados of historical fiction and dark fantasy fans alike. And let’s not forget the obvious: this is an almighty romance about a love so powerful it transcends time. This storyline should more than satisfy adventurous romance readers.”
Barnes & Noble Explorations Sci-Fi Fantasy Blog
“In Dreams Begin is a dance of emotion. Pain, ecstasy, intimacy, passion, fear, yearning and hope … a fairytale unlike any I have read … flows in elegant verse [and] around the characters and their deepest and sometimes darkest wishes.”
“In Dreams Begin will leave you drunk on words … You’re going to have to work for this one, for it is not a simple read, but it will be worth it for what it provokes in you alone.”
“Victorian London and Ireland? Check. Occult practices? Check. Poetic historical figures? Check. Gorgeously written sensuality? Check. Happiness spread across my face from this amazing book? Double Check.”
Read All Over
“This modern gothic romance is dark, thoughtful, and beautifully written. If looking for a book that stands apart from others and leaves a lasting impression, definitely pick up In Dreams Begin.”
“Complex and sensual, Skyler White’s In Dreams Begin will leave you thinking in ways you never thought possible. She will challenge you to take a look at love and desire and decide what it means to you.”
“The author doesn’t assume readers need everything explained and lures us into the events as if we’d just happened upon a seance or couple making love. Her words and imagery are lyrical, and I promise you won’t find a love scene in any other book described so uniquely and yet so perfectly. And after reading the final page, you’ll want to dig out a volume of Yeats’ poetry and immerse yourself in his world of the occult, faeries, and timeless love.”
“As engrossing and gripping as this excellent story is, the narrative requires readers to think, asking them to consider what constitutes both dreams and reality and how each impacts the other.”
Bitten by Books
“A thought provoking and compelling tale that blends historical fact, the magic of mythology and folklore, and the power of love, faith, and dreams. Skyler White’s artistic writing style flows off the pages and embeds into the mind and hearts of its reader. The story taunts them with those linger thoughts and questions.”
Escape Between the Pages
“An entrancing surreal escape into dreams and the past … Can love surpass boundaries such as time, do soul mates really exist, and is a metaphysical affair really cheating?”
“This is one of the best, and most brain-tickling, books I’ve read this year.”
“Dark, lyrical, and mind-bending, In Dreams Begin will leave you breathless and questioning if there can be a happy ending. I won’t spoil it for you – read the book!”
“A book I would recommend to those who enjoy a good intellectual paranormal romance, the sort that are few and far between … You’ll close it after the last page wishing that the story had never ended.”
Tea and Tomes
“Thick and heady as the smoke of a hookah lounge, lazy and erotic as an opium den.”
Intergalactic Medicine Show
Halloween Night, 1893, in Samois’s small graveyard . . .
In Paris, Halloween festivities would be mocking the rites and devils Ida and Maud hoped to make real tonight, in the little village of Samois. Through the provincial streets to its tiny cemetery, Maud had walked, a priestess or a secret witch cloaked and hooded with Ida, her familiar bird, wing-in-elbow beside her. But inside Georges’ little burial chapel, Maud shrunk to an Irish crone, her ritual robes a weathered shawl wrapped over curling shoulders and the hollowed-out hole where her heart had been, and Ida, her carrion bird behind her.
She plucked the pins from Maud’s hair. “Let’s prepare you,” she whispered.
Maud did not move while Ida’s pecking fingers unwound the braided skeins of rust and shadow. It slithered free over Maud’s shoulders, and she absently pushed back the strands snaking into her face. She caught Ida’s hand in an icy grip. “Ida, I’m frightened.”
Maud choked on the blood-scraped whisper, but Ida had heard, and her smile broke like a towering thundercloud. Maud’s deathbed promise to her father broken—to never to be afraid of anything, not even death—and Ida here beside her. She sank down beside Maud’s shuddering shoulders and wrapped her robe-winged arms around them. “Shhh,” she murmured, cheek in flowing hair, lips to sunken throat. “You must master your fear. There is no other way. The moment Lucien arrives, we must begin.”