Welcome to this stop on
the Dreaming Montana Tour,
sponsored by Innovative Online Book Tours!!
Since this book was published in a
Kindle edition, and I do not read ebooks,
the author was nice enough
to send me a copy of her original manuscript.
I really appreciate this!!
Her kind action has in no way influenced my opinion
of her novel.
I have always been committed to
posting totally honest reviews.
In a single day, Cara Gallagher experiences a sensual dream about a man she doesn’t know and has a premonition of her identical twin—at the exact moment her sister dies in a car accident. To escape her grief and a loveless marriage, Cara accepts a temporary job reassignment in Seattle, where she continues to have sensuous dreams of the unknown man. There she encounters an angel who claims to be sent by her dead sister to help her find the man in her dreams. Meanwhile, photographer Jay Amiens sees angel wings on his film and has recurring intimate dreams about a woman he doesn’t know—but would love to meet in person. Set in 1993, Dreaming Montana invokes the spirit of Seattle at the height of the grunge era, with the city as the backdrop for Cara and Jay to potentially cross paths.
As a lover of romance, I felt immediately attracted to this novel! The plot sounded mesmerizing. So, once I received the manuscript from the author, I began to immerse myself in it.
I also love to read fantasy of any type. With this novel, the fact that it included an angel was a huge plus. The writing style is beautiful and flowing. Nathan uses just as much description as necessary, and succeeds admirably in bringing her scenes to life, even though the reader has most likely never visited the places she mentions. (At least this reader hasn't.)
I consumed this novel, which perhaps should more accurately be called a novella, in two sittings, feverishly turning pages as I went along. It was that compelling!
The plot is kept very simple and focused, so the narrative is very intense. Interestingly, the outer events are merely catalysts for the inner ones, which are given much more importance, and all center around the main character, Cara, and her inner transformation.
Cara's dreams all feel so real! At first, she's not sure herself that they aren't. In fact, she sometimes feels that her real life, in which she's married to a man with whom she no longer feels a connection, is the dream. Rudy, her real-life husband, seems indifferent to their relationship, rarely interacting with her emotionally or spiritually. In contrast, she feels an instant connection to the unknown man in her dreams. She strongly feels the love between them, as well as the physical attraction, the emotional and spiritual connection. Jay, on his end, also feels the love, the sensual pull, between him and this woman he doesn't know and has never met.
Needless to say, both of them are very puzzled by this strange phenomenon.
The setting of the story shifts back and forth between Baltimore, where Cara lives, and Seattle, which is Jay's residence. Incredibly, Cara gets the opportunity to go to Seattle for a temporary job assignment, and immediately feels totally at home in the city. She is able to return to Baltimore every weekend; her feeling of alienation whenever she's back there increases, until she reaches the point where she knows she can no longer live in that city. Baltimore represents, for her, a stage of her life that is coming to an end, even though her entire family lives there. She feels stifled, as if living under an oppressive burden. She must be free, and freedom, for her, is in Seattle.
It saddened me that it wasn't until Caitlin, Cara's twin sister, died, that Cara began to realize that she needed to change her life. The same thing seems to have happened to Jay, who loses his mother, and then sees angel wings mysteriously appear in the photos he's developing in his darkroom. Of course, it was very touching that their relatives would reach out to them in this way, from the world beyond our physical one. Especially in Cara's case, she and her sister had always shared a very close bond, and it seems plausible that this sort of thing would happen when two siblings are that close.
At this point, I do have to say that Caitlin doesn't come across as real enough in the narrative. I wish the author had fleshed her out more, perhaps by giving readers some background on the relationship between her and Cara. I do believe Cara when she tells us that she can totally confide in Caitlin, and that Caitlin will always totally accept her. Still, I would have wanted to actually see some scenes depicting this. The same thing goes for Caitlin's relationship with her obviously very sweet, devoted boyfriend. I would have loved to see their loving relationship manifested in at least a couple of scenes.
Regarding Caitlin's relationship, there's one further point I'd like to mention. Cara's family is Catholic, and her parents are presented as very religious. Nathan makes it a point to mention that they emigrated from Londonderry in Northern Ireland, and "that she and Caitlin had been baptized by a monsignor in the Basilica Cathedral on Charles Street in Baltimore."
In light of the above, I don't think that very conservative Catholic parents such as Cara's would have approved of her living with her boyfriend. True, by the time we meet Caitlin, she and her boyfriend have been sharing an apartment for some time, so apparently her parents have at last come to terms with this. However, it still seems as if they're too accepting, considering their strong religious beliefs. It would have been nice to have seen some conflict in this area, with Cara supporting her sister.
I have to honestly add that, although I love this story, I do feel it should have been expanded, with more details about the secondary characters. I feel it would have given the book more depth. On the other hand, perhaps doing this would have taken too much attention away from the main characters and their beautiful story.
Going back to Cara and Jay, it does seem, in retrospect, that their unusual dreams were really glimpses into their future life together. This gives me chills, but in a good way! It's as if they were already living their future life. Seeing how good that future life would be, compared to her present life, is what gives Cara the determination and strength to let go of her present one.
Cara and Jay are great characters! Cara is not only a very self-aware, empathic person, but a very mature, responsible one, as well. She's her own person, too; she doesn't rely on anyone else for advice about what to do with these dreams (although she would have confided in her sister). Jay, too, comes across as very likable, sincere, and sensitive. He is that rare combination we females love to find in a romance hero -- strong and masculine, yet tender and loving. Throughout the story, we get hints here and there that he will be a wonderful, loving, devoted husband and father.
Aside from the intense, beautiful romance -- which takes place entirely in dreams -- this story also raises some interesting philosophical and religious questions that would bear investigating, such as the nature of time, the soul, and the world beyond, as well as the concept of soul mates.
To sum up, and in spite of the above objections, I think that Dreaming Montana is a totally fascinating book! I hope Ms. Nathan will make it available as a printed copy, because this reader will certainly be ordering it from Amazon as soon as that printed copy appears on the scene!
Kim Nathan is an American author of historical
and contemporary romance fiction. Her first novel was Sterling Redmond, a historical romance. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, she relocated to Seattle, Washington in 1994, where she lives with her husband and cats.
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Here's the complete tour schedule!
6/18 Cuzinlogic /Spot light and Give Away
7/6 Rea's Reading and Reviews / Excerpt