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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Land of Dreams

When I had the opportunity to review Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan, I really thought this would be a novel I would love. I love novels that take you back to fond times in our history, from WWII, to romance of the glory days of Hollywood in its infancy stages along with struggling to find ways to fit in for immigrants that had come to America searching for a better life. Even the back of the novel offered me a glimpse into something magical that fit the types of novels that I enjoy and find myself coming back to again and again. However this one for me didn't translate over from the premise to the actual story itself. There was a disconnect there I was searching for and never really found.

Being a huge fan of Kate Kerrigan's from Ellis Island, I was hoping for more than what I got by the end of Land of Dreams. Ellie Hogan has been through two marriages in her life time which has resulted in her being a single mother of two boys she didn't give birth to but adopted when their own birth mothers had abandoned them. Neither of the two boys, Leo and Tom were related either. She lives on Fire Island in New York where she makes a living as an Irish impressionist selling her works of art she paints from her time on the island or from her memories in Ireland. Tom, the youngest still lives with her while Leo has been sent to a Catholic boarding school.

She receives a phone call from the school telling her that Leo has simply left school and they fear is headed to California where he went with a schoolmate on vacation and found himself being lured into the magic of being the next rising star by a man he met there. Now Ellie, rushes off to find Leo in hopes of getting him to return home and back to school. When she arrives, she finds 16-year-old Leo in the company of Freddie Dubois, an upcoming agent finding new talent for the movie studios. He believes that Leo will be the next big star to make it to the big screen and has convinced Leo to audition. Ellie is torn between taking Leo back home and realizing that he already lost so much with the death of his father and abandonment of his birth mother, she relents and makes a temporary move to Los Angeles while he tries out. Upon her arrival she has now lost her drive to paint and instead immerses herself in being a full-time mother to Tom, supporting Leo in his career and making her own way in life with the men she meets. She knows she doesn't want to fall in love and get married again, but soon finds the charms of a man named Stan who comes to her aid more than once, a possibility. Soon war is declared and America is now involved with WWII and we see how that plays out for everyone involved including the internment of the Japanese Americans.

I received Land of Dreams by Kate Kerrigan compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my complimentary copy of this novel. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions included here are strictly mine. I was hoping for more than the novel delivered for me, perhaps dealing with Hollywood a bit more than just a gloss over when Leo was auditioning for the parts, but it was more along the lines of dealing with Ellie as the central character and what that meant as she transitioned to a life she never dreamed of and made the best of for the sake of her children and her friends. There were characters you got introduced to like Freddie, who seemed like filler instead of an actual character we could care about. We see bits of pieces of him through Leo's story but never understood his motivation or why he found himself in places he winds up. Even Leo's story is a bit vague considering Ellie uproots her entire life to chase after him, but he seems like a bit of a ghost in this one. I rate this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars and believe others may have different perspective than what I got. Being a huge fan of old Hollywood and WWII, I was hoping for more than what this one delivered.

For more information about Land of Dreams, Kate Kerrigan, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:

You can find Kate Kerrigan on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Land of Dreams, please visit William Morrow's website. 

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