1911, New York.
Peggy is a member of the Battenbergs, one of the richest families in America. And although she would like to lead a more normal life, when her family asks her to spend the summer with them in a hotel in Coney Island, she can do nothing but accept. But although the whole concept looks boring and banal, she will soon find that life can be much more intriguing than what she had thought.
Soon enough, Peggy will start having a newly found sense of freedom. She’ll start sneaking out and venturing on her own. And it’s in one of those ventures that she’ll meet an unknown artist. Although he belongs in a social and economical status her family would find horrifying, Peggy is fascinated. And she might just be in love.
Welcome to Dreamland, the novel that treads between past and present, romanticism and futuristic details. Nancy Bilyeau has managed to recreate the post-WW1 in New York, where the rich were entertained and the working class could only hope.
Through the narration you don’t just read the story of Peggy trying to break free of her incredibly wealthy and utterly controlling family. You also read the story of a divided population based on income, as well as the difference in their everyday lives, their thoughts, and the future they ultimately have room to hope and dream for.
Dreamland might not always be relatable – after all, the demographics of its characters are far different than ours. But its beauty lies in the pictures and sentiments it gives the reader, as well as all its messages.