The Lost History of Dreams

The Lost History of Dreams

A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstea...

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Title:The Lost History of Dreams
Author:Kris Waldherr
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Lost History of Dreams Reviews

  • Heather Webb

    I had the good fortune of reading an early copy of The Lost History of Dreams. In this accomplished debut, Kris Waldherr transports the reader to the fascinating world of Victorian England and its tradition of post-mortem photography with a deft hand. An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page. Mesmerizing, lyrical, and deliciously brooding, The Lost History of Dreams is a terrific contribution to Gothic lit

    I had the good fortune of reading an early copy of The Lost History of Dreams. In this accomplished debut, Kris Waldherr transports the reader to the fascinating world of Victorian England and its tradition of post-mortem photography with a deft hand. An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page. Mesmerizing, lyrical, and deliciously brooding, The Lost History of Dreams is a terrific contribution to Gothic literature.

  • Julianne Douglas

    In an early chapter of Kris Waldherr's debut novel, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS (Atria, April 2019), protagonist Robert Highstead, a frustrated writer turned post-mortem daguerrotypist, can hardly contain his excitement at opening an unfamiliar book. "Books were easy, unlike people," the narrator reveals, mirroring Robert's thoughts. "Writing them, however, was another matter."

    If writing this remarkable novel was difficult for Walherr, she has deftly disguised the strain. From its unique premise

    In an early chapter of Kris Waldherr's debut novel, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS (Atria, April 2019), protagonist Robert Highstead, a frustrated writer turned post-mortem daguerrotypist, can hardly contain his excitement at opening an unfamiliar book. "Books were easy, unlike people," the narrator reveals, mirroring Robert's thoughts. "Writing them, however, was another matter."

    If writing this remarkable novel was difficult for Walherr, she has deftly disguised the strain. From its unique premise to its elegant language to its cleverly nested and emotionally satisfying plot, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is captivating work worthy of a seasoned novelist. Recasting Ovid's story of Orpheus and Euridyce in an eerily Gothic context, Waldherr creates a sweeping tale of love and loss, of beauty and obsession, of guilt and grief that totter to the brink of madness, and of deliverance that soars on the wings of doves.

    Haunted by tragedy, Robert Highstead abandons his academic career to capture images of deceased strangers. At the request of his estranged brother, he undertakes a decidedly curious task: that of returning the embalmed body of a distant cousin, the famed poet Hugh de Bonne, to the poet's estate for burial. Hugh desired to be laid to rest beside his beloved wife and muse, Ada, in the stained-glass chapel he had built years earlier to house her remains. The key to this chapel, locked since Ada's death and an object of intense interest to the cult-like fans of Hugh's poems, is in the possession of Ada's niece, Isabelle, who lives on the now-decrepit estate. A recluse who bides in perpetual mourning for her aunt, Isabelle refuses to honor Hugh's final request unless Robert agrees to record--and publish--the true story of Hugh and Ada's marriage. Desperate to complete his task, Robert agrees. Over the course of five nights, Isabelle recounts a tale that undermines the carefully constructed chimera of Hugh's poetic fictions and draws teller and listener into an explosive confrontation with truth and with each other.

    The tragedy of Robert and Sida's marriage, the mystery of Isabelle's identity, the machinations of the Seekers of the Lost Dream, the validity of the love immortalized in Hugh's poems: Waldherr masterfully handles these numerous plot threads, playing with patterns and echoes and parallels until the distinctions between past and present, fact and fiction, truth and falsehood collapse. All love stories are ghost stories, she repeatedly reminds the reader, as characters struggle to free themselves from the grip of lost love and the anguish of unfulfilled promise. Words and art ultimately serve as both liberator and prison, for it is only by immersing himself in Isabelle's story that Robert can revise the course of his own.

    Readers of Waldherr's novel will experience the same thrill that Robert feels when he opens Hugh's book of poems for the first time. THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is not an easy book, but it is an immensely gratifying one, whose images and ideas will linger long after the cover closes.

  • Dan

    Love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

    Kris Waldherr’s THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a lush fever dream of a book. From its first pages there is a sense of disconnection from the mundane world. Robert Highstead, daguerreotypist of the dead, has severed all ties to anything and anyone that might stand between him and his love. Forced to perform a grim and unpleasant errand, Robert will ultimately have to confront his past and everything he holds dear.

    Waldherr expertly establishes the threads

    Love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

    Kris Waldherr’s THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a lush fever dream of a book. From its first pages there is a sense of disconnection from the mundane world. Robert Highstead, daguerreotypist of the dead, has severed all ties to anything and anyone that might stand between him and his love. Forced to perform a grim and unpleasant errand, Robert will ultimately have to confront his past and everything he holds dear.

    Waldherr expertly establishes the threads of loss, mourning, and love that wind throughout the novel's entwined stories, and she uses the trappings of gothic romance to repeatedly turn the tables on the reader, showing us that nothing is as we might assume, and every story has multiple authors.

  • Gina

    With a tag line like “every love story is a ghost story,” I expected THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS to be haunting, but I was still not prepared to be sucked in to the rich underworld through which Kris Waldherr’s wraithlike characters flicker. Like Orpheus, be prepared to look back and wonder what is real and what is fantastic. With tales nested in tales told by narrators of varying reliability, TLHOD will keep you guessing until the last riveting page. Waldherr’s storytelling will grip you and lea

    With a tag line like “every love story is a ghost story,” I expected THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS to be haunting, but I was still not prepared to be sucked in to the rich underworld through which Kris Waldherr’s wraithlike characters flicker. Like Orpheus, be prepared to look back and wonder what is real and what is fantastic. With tales nested in tales told by narrators of varying reliability, TLHOD will keep you guessing until the last riveting page. Waldherr’s storytelling will grip you and leave you wanting more.

  • Katherine Riley

    The Lost History of Dreams is historical fiction. It is also a delicate nesting of two love stories. It is a slim volume of romantic poetry. It is a gothic mystery. It is even, arguably, a scholarly investigation of such varied topics as Ovid, daguerreotyping, stained glass, and ornithology. The prose is exquisite, the characters compelling, and the rendering of Victorian England feels deliciously exact. Waldherr has created here something very lovely and unique.

  • Megan Collins

    This book was exquisite. The setting was eerie and beautiful, the prose was gorgeous, and the characters were as haunting as they were haunted. The entire story was richly compelling, but the last 100 pages had me basically speed-reading, eager to find out all these characters' secrets. The twists were surprising, satisfying and, at times, even moving.

    As someone who's passionate about classical mythology, when I learned that this was an Orpheus and Eurydice reimagining, I was so excited--and th

    This book was exquisite. The setting was eerie and beautiful, the prose was gorgeous, and the characters were as haunting as they were haunted. The entire story was richly compelling, but the last 100 pages had me basically speed-reading, eager to find out all these characters' secrets. The twists were surprising, satisfying and, at times, even moving.

    As someone who's passionate about classical mythology, when I learned that this was an Orpheus and Eurydice reimagining, I was so excited--and the book's use and manipulation of the myth actually exceeded my expectations. It made me think of that ancient story in ways I never had before, which I didn't even think was possible at this point, since it's one of my all-time favorite myths.

    It's rare for me to be moved to tears by a book, but this one did it for me. While the story can be deliciously creepy and chilling at times, it's ultimately a beautiful story of love, loss, and grief, and it's one I won't soon forget.

  • Kate Quinn

    Updated with my cover quote:

    "Wuthering Heights" meets "Penny Dreadful" in Kris Waldherr's LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS, a dark Victorian epic of obsessive love, thwarted genius, and ghostly visitations. When Byronic poet Hugh de Bonne dies mysteriously, post-mortem photographer Robert Highstead is propelled into a dark quest to fulfill the poet's dying wish and reunite two long-dead lovers. Still locked in obsessive grief for his own lost wife, Robert must confront his own demons as well as Hugh's if

    Updated with my cover quote:

    "Wuthering Heights" meets "Penny Dreadful" in Kris Waldherr's LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS, a dark Victorian epic of obsessive love, thwarted genius, and ghostly visitations. When Byronic poet Hugh de Bonne dies mysteriously, post-mortem photographer Robert Highstead is propelled into a dark quest to fulfill the poet's dying wish and reunite two long-dead lovers. Still locked in obsessive grief for his own lost wife, Robert must confront his own demons as well as Hugh's if he is to learn the unsettling truth behind his mission. Eerily atmospheric and gorgeously written, LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a Gothic fairy-tale to savor.

  • The Lit Bitch

    4.5 stars

    This book has been on my radar for months. I basically stalked the authors Twitter page waiting to see when there would be ARC’s available and hoping that I would get picked to be an early reader!

    To say that this book has my name written all over it is an understatement. I love all things Victorian and Gothic and this book couldn’t have been more intriguing to me if it tried. It had everything I was looking for in a great Gothic read.

    I was beyond thrilled to get picked as an early reade

    4.5 stars

    This book has been on my radar for months. I basically stalked the authors Twitter page waiting to see when there would be ARC’s available and hoping that I would get picked to be an early reader!

    To say that this book has my name written all over it is an understatement. I love all things Victorian and Gothic and this book couldn’t have been more intriguing to me if it tried. It had everything I was looking for in a great Gothic read.

    I was beyond thrilled to get picked as an early reader and patiently waited to start the book so that I could savor every single aspect of it! The hype around this book has been pretty real, it’s been all over social media for a while now and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the hype!

    Like any good Gothic novel, this one start off a little on the slow side. It takes its time building up the creepy factor and creating uneasiness for the reader. Admittedly the first third of the book was a little slow and boring for me. I was eager for the pace to quicken, but Victorians aren’t known for their speed. The author clearly tries to maintain the classic Victorian gothic feel of this book and like a classic writer of the genre, takes her time building up to the story itself.

    It had everything that a classic Gothic novel should have—a crumbling family estate, a love story, mysterious dark characters, uneasy or damaged protagonists, and of course ghosts. I absolutely loved this book. It was a thrilling read and after the first third, the rest of the book progressed nicely and the unfolding story was interesting, sensual, and creepy. I loved taking a journey into the unknown with this one!

    For me, this wasn’t a fast read. There was a lot of lush prose, historic details, and elegant descriptions that made me want to slow down and enjoy as a reader rather than rush through it to see what the ending was. I like books that move, but having this one be a bit more of a slow burn for me worked.

    I was intrigued by the setting, plot, and the characters so needless to say this was a home run for me! I loved it and am excited to read more by this author. What a wonderfully a live Gothic novel!

  • Aga Durka

    4 Mesmerizing Stars.

    A tragic love story set in Victorian England that will pull you in with its atmospheric and unique setting. I loved the gothic, dark, and eerie feel of this novel, and the paranormal theme added just enough spice to make this family mystery a compelling and fascinating read. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading gothic literature where the use of symbolism is masterfully intertwined in the story.

    Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books, and the author, Kris Waldh

    4 Mesmerizing Stars.

    A tragic love story set in Victorian England that will pull you in with its atmospheric and unique setting. I loved the gothic, dark, and eerie feel of this novel, and the paranormal theme added just enough spice to make this family mystery a compelling and fascinating read. I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys reading gothic literature where the use of symbolism is masterfully intertwined in the story.

    Thank you NetGalley, Atria Books, and the author, Kris Waldherr, for giving me an opportunity to read this beautiful novel in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Book of Secrets

    3.5 Stars → Any novel described as "in the gothic tradition of

    " is a must-read for me. So many elements of THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS grabbed me from the beginning. Set in Victorian England, this is a book within a book, that tells of two tragic love stories and the mystery surrounding a glass chapel hidden in the eerie woods.

    Robert Highstead, a widowed post-mortem photographer, is called upon to photograph his deceased cousin, the poet Hugh de Bonne. The glass chapel holds th

    3.5 Stars → Any novel described as "in the gothic tradition of

    " is a must-read for me. So many elements of THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS grabbed me from the beginning. Set in Victorian England, this is a book within a book, that tells of two tragic love stories and the mystery surrounding a glass chapel hidden in the eerie woods.

    Robert Highstead, a widowed post-mortem photographer, is called upon to photograph his deceased cousin, the poet Hugh de Bonne. The glass chapel holds the remains of Hugh's long-dead wife Ada, and in order for their niece Isabelle to receive her inheritance, she must unlock the chapel and allow Hugh to be laid to rest beside Ada. However, when Robert arrives, Isabelle refuses to do so, unless Robert listens to the story of Aunt Ada's life over the course of five nights.

    I enjoyed the beginning of this book very much, but the middle part was a struggle to get through. The pacing was slow, and there was a lot there that wasn't moving the story forward. I was still very curious about the mystery of why Isabelle refused to unlock the chapel, and what Ada's life story would reveal. The writing was beautiful and atmospheric, and it was easy for me to slip into the time and place. In true gothic tradition, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a haunting tale of ghosts, grief, and buried family secrets on the moors.

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