This book was a quick historical fiction, focused around murder in Coney Island in the early 1900s, as well as class lines within society.
We follow heiress Peggy Batternberg as she travels to Coney Island with her family and her sisters fiancé and family. We can immediately see that Peggy is more of a black sheep as far as her family is concerned – she was working in a bookshop, which she loved (and didn’t need to be doing), and she quickly falls in love with the people of Coney Island and their livelihood. While the rest of her family has no interest in Coney Island or the lower class, Peggy is fascinated, and falls in love with an immigrant artist. Their love would be frowned upon, based on their different stations in life. As women start turning up dead, the police are quick to suspect people within Coney Island because of their lower station in life, and the wildness in which they live their lives. Peggy strives to uncover the truth to rescue her love, even if that means potentially hurting people around her family.
I really enjoyed the insights into how different classes are treated and how they think in the early 1900s. Peggy is a modern woman, unconcerned with where people come from or what they have in life, and more focused on the people they really are. I really enjoyed this about her! She was smart and spunky – different from the stuck up society members around her. She marches to the beat of her own drum, and I think that’s important in a main female character. She doesn’t just take what she’s given in life from her standing in society, but works for what she wants and fights for the underdog!
Overall, I did enjoy this book, but mainly for the characters within it. The murder aspect was fairly easy to figure out, and it seemed like it was wrapped up rather hastily, which I didn’t enjoy.
Thank you to Netgalley and Endeavour Media for this advanced copy. Dreamland by Nancy Bilyeau releases January 16, 2020.