I “heart” Charlie Lovett, and let me tell you why:
- His novels are impeccably researched and he is a master of historical setting. I always want to stop reading to look up all the places and all the things to see, if they are real (many of them are) and what they looked like.
- His stories are so “just one more page." I want to know what happens.
- His literary tales are always about books and everything that surrounds them.
- His novels feature diverging historical timelines.
In an interview with Anne Bogel, of ModernMrsDarcy.com, Lovett describes Escaping Dreamland as being more character driven than his earlier works. And there are five protagonists in this novel, which could seem like a lot, but each character is so different, it wasn’t hard to keep them separate. In present day, Robert is an author who is struggling to write another novel after the success of his debut. In the early 1900s, Magda is a girl, in historical New York, who wants to write, historically a man’s job. Tom hails from a wealthy New York family but doesn’t want that life; he’d rather be poor - and free. And Gene is at war with his sexual identity. The main theme of Escaping Dreamland is trying to find one’s place in the world – the struggle to be who one is, in spite of what the world expects.
If you have the opportunity to listen to Charlie Lovett discussing this book, do it. The aforementioned interview with Anne Bogel is one of the best author interviews I have ever heard. It will enhance your reading experience (not only of this book but of all books you read) and your life in meaningful ways.— Shannan Malone
Robert Parrish's childhood obsession with series books like the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift inspired him to become an author. Just as his debut novel becomes a bestseller, his relationship with his girlfriend, Rebecca, begins to fall apart. Robert realizes he must confront his secret demons by fulfilling a youthful promise to solve a mystery surrounding his favorite series--the Tremendous Trio.
Guided by twelve tattered books and an unidentified but tantalizing fragment of a story, Robert journeys into the history of the books that changed his life, hoping they can help him once again. His odyssey takes him to 1906 Manhattan, a time of steamboats, boot blacks, and Fifth Avenue mansions, but every discovery he makes only leads to more questions.
Robert's quest intertwines with the stories of three young people trying to define their places in the world at the dawn of a new and exciting century. Magda, Gene, and Tom not only write the children's books that Robert will one day love, together they explore the vibrant city on their doorstep, from the Polo Grounds to Coney Island's Dreamland, drawing the reader into the Gilded Age as their own friendships deepen.
The connections between the authors, their creations, and Robert's redemptive journey make for a beautifully crafted novel that is an ode to the children's series books of our past, to New York City, and above all, to the power of love and friendship.