I’m delighted to share with you a guest review of both Book of Dreams and Hidden in Dreams, from Connie Mace. Connie is the blog manager for the Northwest Christian Writers’ Association, based in the Seattle area, as well as a published author.
Connie is also hosting a giveaway contest — you could win a copy of Hidden in Dreams just by visiting her blog and leaving a comment before midnight Pacific time on August 15, 2012.
These reviews were originally published at Connie’s blog, Raise Your Eyes, and are reprinted here with her permission.
Of Dreams, Holy Scripture and Financial Derivatives
By Connie Mace
Already a fan of Davis Bunn, ever since he authored books as T. Davis Bunn, I was pleased to be thrust into the same high level vivid description, gripping plot and concise research which I expect in Bunn’s writing as I read his novel, Book of Dreams.
To Dr. Elena Burroughs — widow, clinical psychologist, and “foremost authority on dreams”– the “professional mask” she wears maintains her distance from the world. With her office at Oxford and a bestselling book: Book of Dreams, Elena hides by helping clients cope with their own problems.
The mask begins to crack with two events: First, a high profile client with frightening dreams enters her office after being referred by Elena’s mentor and godmother, Miriam.
Second, Miriam, a former clinical psychologist and her dearest friend, entrusts Elena with an ancient book of Holy Scriptures, termed “the book of dreams.”
Of Elena’s early encounters with the Holy phrase, “Our Father, who art in heaven,” Bunn writes “The words seemed to find shelter in the morning breeze, as though chanted by the leaves overhead. As though the birds sang them in time to Elena’s own heart.”
Bunn’s research of dream theory is apparent in referring to Carl Jung and Freud, yet he skillfully brings theory to an understandable level. When helping her client to cope with a recurrent dream, Elena says, “Dreams often reveal very deep issues that the conscious mind seeks not only to avoid, but to actually flee from. Yet the unconscious mind realizes that this repressed emotion and memory must be confronted. It expels the putrid mess with the same steady insistence with which the body forces out pus from an untreated wound.”
While layering the story with dreams and ancient scripture, Bunn set me on a learning curve into the world of “political fixers,” “hedge funds,” and “financial derivatives” in an all too real parallel where “the common man is crushed by debt and despair.”
Bunn is a master of gripping plot intensity much like a conductor directs a symphony in a crescendo. Just enough rests to catch your breath, but then all elements converge and build intensity as multiple characters’ dreams and reality reach the climax.
However, it’s all a novel and our dreams are only irrelevant mirages when morning dawns…or are they?
Connie’s Review of Hidden in Dreams
Although Hidden in Dreams, book two in the Elena Burroughs “Dreams” series, could easily be a “stand alone” book, I stopped reading after a couple pages in order to read Bunn’s Book of Dreams. As a fan of Davis Bunn’s storytelling, I wanted to know more about the events which brought Dr. Elena Burroughs to the opening scene; however most readers will be fine with the summations in Bunn’s opening chapter and his introduction of a new cast of characters.
Reeling from a whirlwind publicity tour for her recently revised Book of Dreams, Dr. Elena Burroughs would like to settle down from “a state of perpetual jet lag.” The previous year of helping to form a US financial oversight committee only to see it dissolve, much like her romance with an Italian, has left her emotionally exhausted.
Needing stability in her life as well as her bank account, Dr. Burroughs accepts a professorship with Atlantic Christian University in Melbourne Florida: “a quiet haven nestled between Cape Canaveral and the glitz of south Florida.” (The vivid scenes in which Bunn describes the landscape may be attributed to the fact that he and his wife, Isabella divide their time between that area and England.)
However, Davis Bunn is a master of hooks which compel his readers to keep pages turning. Elena may not have a quiet life for long as she watches rain pelt her classroom window from an approaching hurricane and in walks “Miriam, her best and oldest friend. The problem was, Miriam had died the previous summer.”
Suspense builds as dreamers around the world have nightmares of financial collapse and then, Elena herself has the dream “as though reality itself was undergoing a seismic shift…” In the midst of these nightmares, her friend, Reed cautions to measure all events by what “the Scriptures tell us” as “that is the one eternal, unchanging element by which we must judge everything that life throws at us…”
Good advice. At times, the book’s financial scenario seems to intersect with our 2012 reality; but this is only a novel, is it not? Hold tightly to that thought as Bunn expertly builds tension and the story whirls wildly with a stomach churning roar. Click on the video trailer below for a preview!
Using the Blogger’s Choice Book Review rating system, I give Hidden in Dreams 5 STARS ***** (Terrific book and would highly recommend buying a copy!)
Connie Mace is a “woodsy,” writing for GOD in a forest cabin tucked in N.W. Washington. Author of children’s picture book, Top O’ The Mornin’ Mini Minnie! Profits go to Compassion First to help stop child trafficking. She blogs at: https://raiseyoureyes.dreamhosters.com/ and is “blogservant” for NCWA’s blog: http://nwchristianwriters.wordpress.com/