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The Dream Hunter [Kindle Edition]

Laura Kinsale
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

To love him is to face her deepest fear . . . In search of a legendary mare, Lord Winter enters the crucible of the red sands, forging unbreakable bonds of loyalty and trust with his young companion in the desert. But hidden beneath the ragged costume of a Bedouin boy is a remarkable young woman: Zenia Stanhope, daughter of the extraordinary Queen of the Desert.

Zenia wants nothing of the danger that Lord Winter lives for. She wants only to reach England, far from the blood and sand of the desert. But in one night of terror, condemned to death, their lives are irrevocably bound. Zenia escapes to an English world of elegance and comfort, leaving behind the lonely, fearless man who has changed her life and conquered her heart . . . until he returns to invade her sanctuary.

Now she must choose between safety and love, but can she find the courage to be the person she was truly born to be?

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

When Arden, Lord Winter, travels to Africa in 1838, he agrees to let a young Bedouin boy lead him across the desert in return for which Arden will take the young man to England. But the young man is in fact a young woman, Zenia, whose adventurous mother (recently deceased) insisted she hide her sex for protection. In due course, Arden and Zenia are captured, and Zenia's hoax is uncovered, so to speak. Feeling sure they are about to be executed, the two take advantage of the pleasures available. Shortly thereafter, Zenia, believing Arden dead, makes her escape during a battle and finds her way to his family in England, where she discovers that she is pregnant. With so much happening at first, it's quite a shock to find the tale grinding to a sudden halt. Even when Arden comes home three years later, the plot still lags. There is no joyous reunion, merely constant bickering over the upbringing of the child. Once it is decided that Arden and Zenia marry legally, the arrangements are gone over repeatedly by different characters, leaving the reader to suffer the same tiresome passages again and again. There are no diverting subplots, no reason, in fact, for the reader to torture him or herself by attempting to finish this tedious tale.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Lord Winter, a rebellious young viscount, restlessly searches the world for new adventure while his parents wish he would be searching for a wife. In pursuit of a legendary Arabian horse known as String of Pearls, Winter inadvertently fulfills both dreams. He hires a ragged Bedouin youth to guide him across the desert. The youth is a young woman in disguise with hopes of finally making her way to England where her father (unaware of her existence) lives. The two part during a desert battle, shortly after the disguise is uncovered. Winter is presumed dead and Zenia, carrying his child, is mistaken for his wife and encouraged by Winter's parents to keep up the pretense. Winter arrives home three years later to find his beloved waif transformed into a cool, proper English miss, and their reunion is as stormy as their first meeting. Kinsale handles her tempestuous characters well in her latest historical romance. Denise Perry Donavin

Product Details

  • File Size: 835 KB
  • Print Length: 404 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425207625
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Romance (April 1, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J84KZ7C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,080 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
61 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Winter, as in "cold" - Duh! April 12, 2005
By Cindy
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It seems to me that reviewers are missing the central source of conflict in this clever romance with literary aspirations. In a nutshell, the hero and heroine are polar opposites. Kinsale offers plenty of symbols and metaphors to convey this:

1. The hero's name is "Winter" - he is cold, emotionally withdrawn from other humans - and (paradoxically) drawn to landscapes of hot, arid emptiness. Zenia, meanwhile, has lived her entire life under the scorching desert sun. She longs for the cool, lush gardens of England, and paradoxically, the warmth of human contact.

2. More conflict stems from the enormous material differences in the life experiences of the two principles: Winter has always possessed social power and wealth; ergo, they mean nothing to him; Zenia has always lived a powerless and materially deprived existence. She longs for financial security, basic creature comforts and certainty about what the next day will bring. That she transforms herself from a Bedouin boy into a proper English lady at the earliest opportunity is perfectly logical. Readers who find English-Zenia tedious or bitchy misunderstand her character completely by assuming that she, like Winter, should see life as one jolly adventure.

3. Then there is the East-West difference. Zenia's worldview, we are told and shown, is essentially oriental: she is deeply superstitious, fearful of curses, genies, etc. Winter is a man of science, a product of European enlightenment. It is not hard to understand why Zenia and he might not see eye-to-eye on basic things.

Why does she hold him at arm's length, despite the best counsel of everyone around her, despite her own feelings for him, despite his obviously sincere and honorable courtship?
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Note on Character July 6, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is one of my favorite books, but then I spent 10 years in the Middle East, and have a particular thing for those intrepid Victorian explorers, the ladies like Isabelle Earnhardt and Hester Stanhope, and the Burton/Spekes types. A variation on that theme was right up my alley in a way it might not be for a generic reader… A lot of these reviews mention characterization, but what satisfies some readers/Amazon reviewers as laudable character development in this genre, rarely approaches the basic literary minimum. ... The story in The Dream Hunter is propelled by the biographies of the characters. This is always true in a Kinsale novel, even when her plots sometimes fail to congeal. So, for example, I found the mother and father of Winter to be extremely affecting – the mother is presented as so emotionally detached as to be among the walking dead, but in the course of exposition it is revealed that her detachment might be a reasonable adaptation to the losses in her life. The parents’ attempts to cocoon their only child to survive to adulthood, were mis-choices made out of love. Ultimately their parenting style created the very sort of son they feared the most: one of these Victorian adventure-travelers. It seems inevitable that Winter would become a (shy & awkward) thrill-seeking wanderer, if only in reaction to his parents’ zero-risk form of caring. And I think Winter wanders because of his own innate sense of outsider-ness, which is only appropriate in a foreign location, but can be very isolating in one’s own setting. There are some who have not been able to relate to Zenia. I found her actions to be internally consistent. Having been born into extremely dysfunctional circumstances, and raised (trans-genderly? Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Top favorites of all time May 16, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
For me, a romance novel works when I feel that somehow, the hero and the heroine's love makes them each a better person than they would be without each other - that sense of "connection and belonging." This book is definitely worth the read. I'm not a big Kinsale fan; in fact, the only other book by her that I've liked is "The Shadow and the Star."
The hero, Lord Winter, is definitely likeable. He seems to have the typically pampered aristocratic life, but the lack of warmth in his familial relationships and extreme shyness cause him to seek a sense of purpose in travel to exotic locales. Zenia, the heroine, has had a rough childhood, with only a mother who is one of those larger than life characters that can be overbearing. Without a stable family background, Zenia is also lost. She seeks an identity for herself by secretly hoping to go back to England and become an English lady. Lord Winter and Zenia meet. They then go through a series of events and misunderstandings that bring them together then pull them apart. Some people found this journey to be annoying because they could not understand Zenia's motivations. Zenia's extreme resistance to a seemingly perfect match is understandable within the context of her childhood.
Overall, it is truly a touching, realistic depiction of two people who are seeking an "anchor", which they could find only in each other.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Laura Kinsale continues her tradition of writing romance with unusual settings, flawed characters you want to root for, and a beautiful, unique style. The plot revolves around a search through the desert for a mythical mare known as the String of Pearls. Arden Winter never suspects that the Bedu boy acting as his guide is in fact a girl of English parentage desperate to return to the homeland she's never visited. The two at first seem like opposites. She grew up in the wilderness, but longs for the security of England. He grew up under the constraints of an English gentleman's upbringing, but wanted adventure and danger. It turns out, though, that they have more in common than they first suspect. Kinsale is the best at creating tortured characters whom you desperately want to find happiness, and then making you doubt that they will, not an easy thing to do in a genre novel. This one is one of my favorites of her work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars WHAT CAN I SAY...
Laura Kinsale puts so much into her books.
I loved every one of them.
This one was very intriguing and kept me up wanting to know what would happen, next. Read more
Published 2 days ago by TexasJo
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An absolute joy to read. Soul-touching, self-realizing, and heartfelt romanticizing.
Published 18 days ago by mymine
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Talk about a writer taking you to faraway places...this was a unique story.
Published 1 month ago by NOEMI GALVAN
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing ruined by an unlikeable heroine.
Like many others, I devoured the first half of the book. The pace, the adventure, the characters during that section was writing done so very well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jessica
4.0 out of 5 stars Not so dreamy for me.
Please don't misunderstand, this is a beautifully written book, and the characters and locales are well thought out, however this particular storyline was painful. Read more
Published 3 months ago by cLeahpatra56
5.0 out of 5 stars The one that got me started
This is the book that has started me reading this author's books. Loved the unusual story line and I am having fun reading her other stories.
Published 5 months ago by Michele D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Kinsale - Please. Find. Your. Muse. - We Need More Stories
I struggled with how many stars to give this book. Although, I must confess there were parts of this storyline that made me want to scream out in protest, in the end, the good... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Judge Tabor
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Characters and Settings
4.5 stars. I thought this book was great. I particularly enjoyed that the heroine was a reluctant gender bender who adapted to her circumstances rather than creating it. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Trixienell
4.0 out of 5 stars Laura Kinsdale at her best!
erotic, funny, and out of this world. Read in one sitting. Couldn't put down once I started reading it. Love her books.
Published 8 months ago by ljohnson7357
3.0 out of 5 stars Ugh! Another tiresome heroine who refuses to get married.....
I absolutely loved the first half of this book! Lord Winter and Zenia's adventures in the desert are exciting and beautifully written with descriptive detail. Read more
Published 8 months ago by amtmcm
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More About the Author

Laura Kinsale is a New York Times bestselling author and both winner and multiple nominee for the Best Book of the Year award given by the Romance Writers of America. Her novel FLOWERS FROM THE STORM was chosen by readers of Glamour Magazine and the Washington Post as one of the Greatest Love Stories of All Time.

Laura believes that a romance novel can be more. More fascinating characters than you ever anticipated. More unexpected depth. Emotion to engage your heart and your mind. Stories that keep you awake and words you will remember long after you close the book.

Whenever readers list their "Desert Isle Keepers," the books they couldn't live without, Laura Kinsale's award-winning historical romances are included near the top.


You've heard of Nick and Norah...well, now you can listen to Nick and Laura. Find out all about my audiobooks, read by the incomparable Nicholas Boulton, at

I personally chose Nick to narrate my books, and it's been phenomenal. Not only does he have the World's Wickedest Sexy Voice, he's brought a true artist's creativity and respect to my books. Every single audiobook is a unique work of art in itself--these are very, very special recordings. Many listeners have said it's like reading one of my novels again for the very first time--that's an amazing compliment to Nick's ability to bring my characters to vivid life.

His mesmerizing performance of For My Lady's Heart was a 2014 Audie Finalist. (The Audies are the Oscars of the audiobook world) And Flowers from the Storm? Well, just listen to the sample clip on Audible

Even if you've never tried an audiobook, Nick Boulton will wow you. Go to for a list of my currently released titles, audio samples and links to the story of how I chose Nick for my narrator. Or just go straight to

Why a puppy for an author photo? There have been a few fake author pages on the web purporting to be Laura. So whenever you see a picture of Ventoux the Peter Pan of Great Pyrenees dogs, you know it's authentic Laura Kinsale.

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