Cover image for The dream maker
The dream maker
McLeay, Alison.
Personal Author:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Physical Description:
405 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


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An emotionally complex and wholly engrossing novel of romance, The Dream Maker finds the talents of Alison McLeay turning to London in the early 19th century, against the backdrop of George IV's reign and the dramatic aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. Our heroine -- the daughter of a court-martialed father and a ruined family -- finds herself in love with the very man responsible for her father's downfall, the darkly compelling Darius Elder. McLeay's gift in rendering realistic characters and unique locales is fully apparent in this wonderful novel.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Set in London around the time of George IV's 1821 coronation, McLeay's historical is as intricate as a Dickens novel. Flora St. Serf watches her family's fortunes decline after her father is disowned by his father, the general, for refusing to shoot French innocents on Wellington's orders. The opening scene finds Flora running off to hide the family silver from the bailiffs, until she literally collides with a gentleman who calls himself Smith. She discovers he is in truth Darius Elder, a member of the banking family that hounds the St. Serfs. Meanwhile, the dream maker of the title, Achille Dedalon, complete with a pet monkey named Solomon, creates mechanical figures such as singing birds that leap out of boxes. As the strands of McLeay's complex tale entwine, the theme of fathers refusing to let go of their daughters tragically recurs. Revenge also figures largely: despite her love for Darius, Flora is determined to repay the Elders for their treatment of her family, and the dream maker Dedalon has his own mysterious secret. --Holly Cooley

Publisher's Weekly Review

On a rainy November day in 1819, as McLeay's (The Summer House) latest historical romance begins, Flora Elizabeth Louise de Montfort St. Serf is dashing down a London street clutching the family silver under her shawl, in a desperate attempt to save some of her family's belongings from bill collectors. When she runs smack into a tall, breathtakingly handsome young man who accuses her of being a thief, 16-year-old Flora calls upon the breeding of generations to deliver a scathing set-down. After all, if the Elder Bank hadn't demanded the repayment of their loan from a penniless peer, her family wouldn't be reduced to genteel poverty. By the time Flora discovers that the young man is Darius Elder, her feelings for him have blossomed, but she refuses to let herself love a member of the heartless Elder family. As an unusual, if not downright odd, woman of her times, Flora's best friend is a prostitute; her mentor is an expatriate French automaton maker who believes man and ape are related; and she has no desire to live in luxury with her grandparents, preferring the squalor of life with her parents. Her calculating sister Sophie, however, jumps at the chance to leave the slums, and is rewarded with a society marriage to none other than Darius Elder, leaving Flora to rush into nightmarish matrimony with brutal adventurer Ralph Newsome. Matters come to a head on an expedition to Hudson's Bay, with Newsome as captain and Darius and Flora as passengers, but several more years elapse before a host of St. Serf secrets are finally laid to rest in London. McLeay's imaginative tale ranges far and wide, and her fresh take on the Regency novel remains lively and suspenseful throughout. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved