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Reviewed by Anne Boiling for Readers' Favorite
The setting varies but begins in England in the 1860s. Martha was looking forward to the dancing, gowns, parties and balls. Her father had different plans. He forced Martha to marry Jebediah Whitaker. The man was a widow with 3 sons. Not only did Martha not want to marry him but she did not like him. He proved himself a cruel, heartless, scoundrel with no morals. Jebediah took Martha and his sons across the ocean to America. From there they traveled to Wyoming by wagon train. Jebediah was a slick character and convinced the others traveling with him that he was an upstanding man. Eventually they came to call him Pastor and built him a church. Little did they know the bible he carried was stolen.
When Martha's father realized Jebediah was a swindler, murderer and scoundrel he sent for Jeremy Whitaker (Jebediah's brother) and Austin Wells (Martha's best friend since childhood.) The two men headed to Martha's rescue. What they discovered shocked them. Martha and the boys had suffered repeated beatings, mental and emotional abuse.
Shirley Roe has written several books about the Whitaker family. This installment takes place before Return To Whitakerville and The Whitaker Family Reunion. Of Dreams and Nightmares is the beginning of the Whitaker saga. There are several characters but I had no problem keeping up with who, what, when and where. It was fascinating watching Martha grow from an immature, spoiled, impulsive socialite into a mature woman. Jebediah was determined to break Martha's spirit, he raped her, beat her and threatened her life. She was terrified of Jebediah and yet she stood up to him when he was beating Abraham.
Dreams and Nightmares is a delightful historical romance. Roe effortlessly transports readers back in time. I felt as though I was riding in the wagon with Martha. Together we stumbled through the snow and comforted the boys. I was right there with Abraham when he was hiding under a bush. This tale takes place in several different settings: England, on board ship, in a wagon, at a fort, Wyoming, and St. Louis. Martha was the lead character in each of these settings and each setting was responsible for another facet of her character. The protagonist in this tale was Jebediah. He was a frightening person. I suspect he was a sociopath. Isaac was a fascinating character. He was damaged by the things his father did. Watching the change in his character made me eagerly turn pages. While I have previously read the other two books in this series, I now want to go back and reread them. Each book stands well alone but I like to read books in order.
I'd like to mention Abraham's gift. He would dream something and it foretold the future. As he matured he considered it a gift from God. I would like to see Roe write another book with Abraham as the lead and share more of his story, including his gift.
I'd be remiss if I did not mention Bo the dog. He was a canine hero. This is a very special book. It is easy to highly recommend this book to both young adults and adults.