Title: The Dream Daughter
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction/Time Travel, Historical Fiction
Story Perspective: Alternating First-Person
Themes: Mother’s Love, Loss, Grief, Family
Publication Date: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
This book was given for free, courtesy by NetGalley and
St. Martin’s Press.
It is 1970 and Carly has lost her husband in Vietnam, and now has discovered her pregnancy is a high-risk one. Afraid of the lack of technology and knowledge in 1970, Carly isn’t sure whether her baby will be okay.
However, her brother-in-law, Hunter, might be able to help. He, along with his mother and a secret agency, can manipulate time and assist people to time travel to specific times and locations. Now, Carly is determined to enter 2001, with the help of Hunter’s mom, to deliver her baby in a New York hospital with the hopes of bringing her baby back with her to 1970.
As I am going through my NetGalley backlog, I came across this book that I actually started reading about a year and a half ago. It was one that I reached about halfway through the book and gave up on it. However, since I was given a free ARC, I decided to give it another go and finish reading it.
Most of the characters within The Dream Daughter were likable and easy to keep track of. Some were developed a bit more than others, while others simply remained secondary to the plot. I did, however, have some issues with some of Carly’s decisions (further explained below).
Though almost 400 pages, the vocabulary and sentence structure of this book was simple and easy to follow. Also, even with its different timelines, due to time traveling, the author makes it clear which character perspective each chapter is focusing on and what time period each chapter takes place.
When I picked up this title again, I first couldn’t remember why I gave up on it. I reviewed the beginning and as the plot came back to me, I thoroughly read the rest. Part of the issue I have with the book is some of the decisions that some of the characters make.
**SPOILERS UP AHEAD**
For instance, Carly, the protagonist, makes a decision to time travel away from her sickly newborn and is convinced that she will be able to time travel back to her child within a day or two. This just seems too unrealistic to me. Why would a devoted mother, like Carly, leave her newborn at the hospital and take the risk or not seeing her again? This, of course, was to set up the other half of the book. Readers are supposed to sympathize with her and feel sorry when it doesn’t work out the way she wanted it to. However, some of Carly’s later decisions kind of negates all the worries she had when she first time traveled back to 1970 because at one point she was determined to stay in the future with her teenage daughter. This specific plot point, that lends to the rest of the story, really bothered me.
Also, I did not agree with how the rest of the plot unfolds when Carly is able to vaguely reconnect with her daughter later on. Carly becomes this stalker-like character and leaves her daughter with every piece of information about time traveling before throwing herself off a tree house. She could have left her daughter psychologically damaged and Carly didn’t seem to care at all; she just wanted Joanna, her daughter, to know that Carly is her biologically mother, has time traveled, and needs to jump off the tree house at that very moment, making it look like suicide.
Though the book ends in a more-or-less happy ending and everything basically turns out okay, this was a middle-of-the-road book for me. It’s not one to convince me to read other works by Ms. Chamberlain due to how frustrating character decisions and some plot points were.
Perhaps those who can be more relaxed in character decisions and for those who would like to read about one mother’s journey would enjoy The Dream Daughter.