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Beautiful Dreamer Paperback – September 1, 2010
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About the Author
Joan Naper is a fifth-generation Chicagoan who is endlessly fascinated by the history and possibility that can be found in her beloved hometown. After years working as a speechwriter and editor, she works today as the research communications director at a major university. Beautiful Dreamer is her first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Author of Jib and Spinnaker: Sailors of the Low Seas
As the day goes on, you get a foretaste of each personality in this tight-knit clan, but it is the feisty Kitty, the youngest at 20, who draws us in with her hopes and dreams and fear of spinsterhood. Despite the tug of tradition, exemplified by the dreaded fortune-telling trinkets dispersed in the Christmas stew, you sense that big changes and challenges are afoot, and I found myself eager to learn what lies ahead--for Kitty, her kin, and the tumultuous city growing up around them.
Her attention to detail, her fully-developed characterizations, and her setting put one in mind of the richly-worded novels of Charles Dickens. All in all, I think we should keep an eye on Ms. Naper. She is most accomplished.
There is the indulgence and freedom of Kitty's boisterous, drinking brothers, and the requirement of the sisters to be useful and well-dressed. There are the traditions of Ireland and the promise of America. There is the heat, closeness and chaos of the house and the cool clean air of the snowy day in Chicago. There is working class drudgery and the relative luxury of the middle class. And above all, there are the traditional choices for women--spinsterhood or a marriage full of self-sacrifice--and the new opportunities for independence, as represented by Aunt Mabel.
The author lets us experience this swirl of confusion from Kitty's viewpoint, and yet places it, firmly and clearly, in its time and place: An America that was growing and changing rapidly, in a city that came to embody the new century. Ms. Naper's descriptions of the texture of life in early 20th century Chicago are vivid, loving and alive.
I finished the chapter eager to read more about how Kitty will find her way in this new, shifting world.