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The Dream Lover - A Book Review

According to wikipedia.org... 

Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin (1804-1876) best known by her pseudonym George Sand, was a French novelist and memoirist. She is equally well known for her much publicized romantic affairs with a number of artists, including the composer and pianist Frederic Chopin and the writer Alfred de Musset. 


Always known simply as "Aurore", she was born in Paris, but raised for much of her childhood by her grandmother, Marie-Aurore de Saxe, Madame Dupin de Francueil, at her grandmother's estate, Nohant. Sand later used the setting in many of her novels. 


Drawing from her childhood experiences of the countryside, she wrote the pastoral novels La Mare au Diable, François le Champi, La Petite Fadette, and Les Beaux Messieurs Bois-Doré. A Winter in Majorca described the period that she and Chopin spent on that island from 1838 to 1839. Her other novels include Indiana, Lélia, Mauprat, Le Compagnon du Tour de France, Consuelo, and Le Meunier d'Angibault.




I received a copy of "The Dream Lover" written by Elizabeth Berg, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. Italicized quotes are from the book, written in first person by the author representing George Sand. The opinions expressed here are my own.




I selected The Dream Lover for review because of the author. I knew her writings to be remarkable. This historical fiction novel is no exception. From beginning to end, this novel caught me. Although I had to look up George Sand, I didn’t remember learning of her in school, I feel like I’ve read her personal journals now. Thanks to author Elizabeth Berg.


Aurore (George Sand) spent most of her childhood years at a country estate known as estate. She lived there off and on her whole life. While a part of her longed to live among the artistic in Paris and travel to various inspiring places, she always needed her time at home in the country.




I could easily see myself in her. While I’ve never known the luxuries of living on an estate, I am country born and raised. And in the last few years, I have returned to my roots. Different countryside, but country all the same.




Also, I call myself a writer. Something I’ve stepped into shyly. I certainly don’t have a list of novels I can claim as she does. Aurore worked extremely hard and showed herself completely disciplined. But we’re both drawn to writing.

Did I love being an artist? Yes. But I worked because I had to, and not for one instant did I ever underestimate the importance of what a mother can do for her children. Or fail to do.


The similarities seemed to end there though. Throughout her whole life, Aurore sought a love she could never quite grasp. Not from her father who loved her true but died when she was young. Not from her mother who never had a consistent, true love to give. Not from her grandmother who could not seem to let Aurore be who she truly was.


Not in the arms of various lovers she had throughout her lifetime. Certainly not from her husband, who never seemed to really understand her. 


This constant longing for more than a human being could offer her was at times painful to read. That a famous author who offered her readers so much brilliance could struggle so much personally.


Coming from a place of deep faith as I do, grounded in Christ, I had a hard time relating to the restless soul I found in George Sand (Aurore). 

When I was fifteen years old, it happened that I suddenly became very religious.


This was during her days at a convent. Her grandmother’s attempt to refine her fully once and for all. But it didn’t take. At least not in a conventional way. Towards the end of her life, Aurore would confess:

I still believed in life eternal, though as ever, my faith was of my own making. I was long done with the way that man attempted to represent what religion should be and to make it in his own image.


As for George Sand’s novels, I would like to tackle one someday. I’m sure they’re typically reserved for English majors and their classic literature courses. But hey, I’ve had an inside look into the author’s life, so I just might comprehend this timeless work from almost 200 years ago.


Her friend, literary critic Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve, said of the novel, Leila:

It will not be a novel for casual and nondiscriminating readers who flip pages rapidly and read with the depth of a lamppost. It will not be for people who are uncomfortable being challenged by literature. But those with true intelligence and insight: they will sing your praises, critics and the general public alike.


I'm more than willing to give it a try.



I'm adding this review to the Literacy Musing Monday link up over at Circling the Story. Head over there for other great reads!

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