A woman discovers that she isn’t merely dreaming of the past, but is actually traveling through time in her sleep in this debut fantasy.
Thirty-five-year-old Erin Brusca’s dream of her young father from 1968—when she was born— is almost tangible. If she believes the stranger who approaches her the next day, Erin’s a dream traveler. The woman, Anna, tells Erin of the Dream Travelers Council, which polices dream travel to prevent changes in the past from altering the present. There are also the reckless Terrents, with the ability to hijack a dream traveler and traverse time on their own. Erin’s trained by Sienna Goodman, a Garan, the rare breed of dream traveler who can summon other travelers into their dreams and even travel to the future. The council eventually gives Erin her first assignment, keeping an eye out for trespassing Terrents. But her real-world life, with husband, Dante, and teenage stepdaughter, Sandra, will soon clash with her newfound capability in an unexpected way. This brisk novel equally blends fantasy and Erin’s real-life drama. Erin, for example, learns she’s pregnant, works on the Kaso Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trial for a drug to cure pancreatic cancer, and deals with the perpetually moody Sandra. These sometimes carry over to the dream travels, like when the council decides whether or not an expectant mother should travel, fearing that the unborn child will be adversely affected. The dramatic scenes tend to be more engaging than the traveling, as Sienna’s training consists primarily of slide presentations and information about the council, which sidelines Erin for at least some of her pregnancy. Breheny does, however, introduce a number of curious elements, including the peculiar, intoxicating effect that cinnamon (either taste or smell) has on dream travelers. There’s likewise Erin’s indisputable attraction to fellow dream traveler Quinn Walsh, addressing the dilemma of her potential guilt—Quinn, after all, is only in her dreams. The story builds to a momentous climax that unfortunately happens very late in the book. But it’s a near-perfect setup for a sequel that will unquestionably leave readers restless in anticipation.
Melodrama well complemented by fantastical notions; a springboard for what could be a first-rate series.