DREAM PALACE by Amanda Moores


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A frustrating first novel about blinding love, abuse, and self-deception. When 15-year-old Laurel Longstreet's car skids off a snowy and deserted road, the sweet-talking Jim Wellman saves Laurie and her mother from an almost certain death in the cold. Immediately, Laurie is smitten with the ""handsomest man"" she's ever seen. Her fantasies come to a temporary halt, however, when she baby-sits for a family friend while Jim and the children's mother entertain each other in the other room. But when she returns from college, Jim pays somewhat more attention to the budding young artist. Only ten days after the two are reunited at a party, Laurie moves down to New Orleans and marries Jim. And it's not long before Jim begins to act violent, jealous, and possessive. Laurie works as a waitress; Jim convinces himself that he can make it big by diving for buried treasure and invests a large sum of money in an expedition. While Jim goes away on his numerous trips, Laurie has time to contemplate her situation. She tries to leave Jim, but his suave and persuasive manner, as well as her textbook lack of self-esteem, pull her back. Laurie eventually meets kindhearted, sensitive Lee Carraway, who must return to Mexico on business soon after they realize their feelings for each other. Fearing what Jim might do to her, Laurie remains with her abusive husband long after she realizes she should leave. The ending displays Jim's true potential for violence. This might have been a good novel if Moores had spent more time developing the characters instead of filling up the book with unnecessary adjectives. A formulaic issues novel that's both a weak story and a weak treatment of the problems of battery and abuse it tries to address.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1994
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Carroll & Graf