I was pretty psyched to read In Dreams Begin by Skylar White. If nothing else, I knew that the book would make me think.
In a Victorian Ireland of magic, poetry, and rebellion, Ida Jameson, an amateur occultist, reaches out for power-but captures Laura Armstrong, a modern-day graphic artist, instead. When Ida channels Laura into the body of celebrated beauty and Irish freedom-fighter Maud Gonne, Laura falls in love with the young poet W. B. Yeats. Their love affair entwines with Irish history and weaves through Yeats’ poetry- until Ida discovers something she wants more than magic in the subterranean spaces between Laura’s time and her own. With Laura’s Irish past threatening her orderly present, she and Yeats must find a way to make their love last over time, in changing bodies…or lose each other forever.
And in that aspect I wasn’t disappointed. In Dreams Begin was able to easily hold my attention with the questions of love and fidelity that were posed. Laura, the main character, finds herself somehow possessing the body of a woman in Victorian Ireland through her dreams. At first she just thinks that these are just really vivid dreams, and treats them as such. A so called fantasy world where she’s considered to be one of the most beautiful women would have to be a dream right? However, as time goes on, she starts to wish she were Maud- the Victorian woman that she possesses. The dreams interfere with her work and her relationship with her husband, whom she may or may not be cheating on with her dream lover W.B Yeats.
Yep, the William Bates Yeats. A famous poet that you might be familiar with. Ms. White brought the poet to life as a handsome, loyal, and dreamy man who sees the world through his poet’s eyes. Before reading In Dreams Begin, I wasn’t at all familiar with his works. I’m not much into reading poetry and usually I don’t understand them. The poems that were put at the beginning of each chapter were no exception. I wasn’t completely lost, but I didn’t exactly understand either. Even though I read the poems multiple times, I was still a bit lost. I’m sure I would get an A for effort, but unfortunately that didn’t help me understand those poems any better. That’s why I don’t read them – they always frustrate me.
It wasn’t that big of a deal though. Yes, it detracted a little from the story when I was getting flustered, but the poems were a small part of In Dreams Begin. More than anything, the characters in the book were the most intriguing part. Ida Jameson was definitely my favorite. She’s always been considered lacking in almost every aspect of her life, and even though she’s an antagonist in In Dreams Begin, I still felt a lot of sympathy for her. She just wanted to be wholly loved by somebody, and has constantly been rebuffed and used for what she can do for others. In the end, her yearning for that acceptance leads her to manipulate those she might have considered her dearest friends out of jealousy.
In Dreams Begin by Skler White is a story that definitely made me think, posed many interesting questions about love. The most interesting of which delves into the idea of soul mates. What if someone, somewhere, complimented you so completely, so wholly that you just know that you were meant to be together? What if you’re married when you meet said soul mate? What if your soul mate hasn’t even been born yet, or maybe they lived and died a hundred years ago? Laura deals with these issues, and I found it equal parts fascinating and confusing. In the end, I think In Dreams Begin is a quality story that made me question and there are very few books that are able to engage my mind in that way.