Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau – Book Review

Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau – Book Review


The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground. 

The invitation to Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New York City socialites and her snobbish, controlling family. 

But soon it transpires that the hedonism of Coney Island affords Peggy the freedom she has been yearning for, and it’s not long before she finds herself in love with a troubled pier-side artist of humble means, whom the Batternberg patriarchs would surely disapprove of. 

Disapprove they may, but hidden behind their pomposity lurks a web of deceit, betrayal, and deadly secrets. And as bodies begin to mount up amidst the sweltering clamor of Coney Island, it seems the powerful Batternbergs can get away with anything… even murder. 

Extravagant, intoxicating, and thumping with suspense, bestselling Nancy Bilyeau’s magnificent Dreamland is a story of corruption, class, and dangerous obsession.


Peggy works in the Moonrise Bookstore, that is until her Uncle arrives and tells her she is needed at home. It turns out Peggy is a member of the wealthiest families in America, the Batternbergs. It’s 1911 and Peggy is a new woman, independent and knows her own mind.

She has been told she must spend the summer with the family at the Oriental Hotel. Her father had died in debt and the Batternberg family had been paying all expenses since, but when her mother finds out she decides to sell their home, downsize and live off the proceeds….Peggy is dubious as this doesn’t sound like her mother.

At the hotel, there’s Peggy, her mother, sister Lydia and brother, Lawrence. There is also Henry, Lydia’s fiancé, plus cousin Ben.

Dealing with the stifling atmosphere, Peggy escapes and meets, artist Stefan in Dreamland on Coney Island…….but then a woman’s body is found, Stefan is suspected due to his background but she knows he’s innocent and sets out to prove it putting herself in danger at times too. 

This is just a perfect read, historical fiction at its finest, with a strong female character, a murder mystery and a little love too. It highlights the vast difference between the wealthy, the less fortunate and those from a different country or culture, not only in monetary terms but in attitudes and behaviour.  The writing is so descriptive, you can feel the sweltering heatwave and the family tensions are palpable….I love it and is a must read for anyone who enjoys engrossing historical fiction. Gloriously entertaining.

Thank you to Hannah at Endeavour Books for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. My thanks also to Pigeonhole, for the daily staves of Dreamland…..


You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/36fud4i




Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked as an editor at “Rolling Stone,” “InStyle,” and “Good Housekeeping.” 

Her new historical novel is “Dreamland,” set in 1911 New York City and telling the story of a rebellious heiress who escapes from her over protective family to experience the delights of Coney IIsland–but there are dangers too.

In December 2019 Nancy published a novella set in old New York: “The Ghost of Madison Avenue,” telling a mystery set in the private library of JP Morgan,

Nancy is the author of “The Blue,” a novel of suspense set in the art and porcelain worlds of 18th century Europe featuring a young female artist turned spy, and a trilogy of award-winning Tudor mysteries, published in 9 countries: “The Crown,” “The Chalice,” and “The Tapestry.” 

Nancy’s mind is usually in past centuries, but she lives with her family in the Queens borough of New York City.

Visit Nancy’s website at http://www.nancybilyeau.com, and follow her on Twitter @tudorscribe (courtesy of Goodreads)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: