SING TO ME OF DREAMS by Kathryn Lynn Davis


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More romantic protoplasm from second-novelist Davis (Too Deep for Tears, 1988), this time set in 19th-century British Columbia. The tone is Jean Auel-ish as Davis begins by transporting readers to the technologically laggard but mystically advanced Salish Indians, encamped ""among the Many Flowing Waters on the Island of the Raven in the light of misted sun."" Around 1860 a prophetess is born, called Tanu, or She Who is Blessed; and though she is half Indian, half French, the Salish embrace her as their queen--at least until Tanu falls to defeat the Red Sweating Sickness, causing the people to turn from her. Beautiful, ethereal Tanu flees to the white missionaries, where she spends three daunting years sublimating her magic and past. Then she receives a call to go to the household of Jamie Ivy outside Victoria. Jamie, the second son of an English earl, is bedridden due to mysterious illness and haunting memories of the French wife who abandoned him and his son, Julian. He has married again, but even his buxom Scottish wife, Flora, and rambunctious new son, Theron, can't coax him from his malaise. What ensues is one of the most prolonged dying scenes in recent fiction, with Tanu--now called Saylah--remaining by his side for some two thirds of the book, teaching the other Ivys to accept Jamie's passing, falling in love with stalwart young Julian, and eventually coming to the painful realization that she must break with her Salish past. The setting and Tanu's magic are evocatively rendered, but the plot and emotional quotient of the novel are exceedingly obscure--so obscure, in fact, that Davis's oeuvre will thrill only those at the extreme mystical end of the romance spectrum.

Pub Date: Nov. 7th, 1990
Publisher: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster