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The Good Dream

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,729 Ratings  ·  709 Reviews
In this full-length novel from the New York Times Bestselling author of The Christmas Hope series Donna VanLiere has written a beautifully rendered and poignant story about one woman's unlikely path to motherhood and the healing power of love.

Tennessee, 1950: Still single and in her early thirties, Ivorie Walker is considered an old maid; a label she takes with good humor
Audio CD
Published July 3rd 2012 by Macmillan Audio (first published 2012)
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"People are messy. When we're left to ourselves we can make a gollywhopper of a mess."

Just as in real life, The Good Dream has moments of joy and sorrow, bursts of laugh aloud hilarity, snippets of wisdom, bouts of frustration, hues of love, and delightful examples of great kindness and goodness.

"I've always been too impatient with myself and others, my expectations of them too high, but Mother just loved people, plain and true, warts and all. Her hope was always cell deep and child simple."
Feb 11, 2013 loretta rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put It down. It is a paradox to say that a story that deals with extreme sexual and emotional abuse of a child is sweet but it is. It is a story that shows how one woman who dared to take action in an awful circumstance, changed the life of, not only the child she rescued, but of everyone else connected to her.

Donna VanLiere tells the story of Ivorie Walker, spinster in a small southern town. Set in the 1950's when society decreed that in order to ha
Note: Plot includes disturbing child molestation!! However, despite those horrific scenes, and except for one major quibble and a few minor gripes, I loved this Audie Award Nominee for Inspirational Fiction, 2013, narrated splendidly by the author. (See below for secondary character listening guide. Also, try my 15-question quiz.)

This is the story of a brutalized little boy and the spinster who spits in Satan's eye to save him. It's an unforgettable story, the type that lingers long in my mind,
Jul 11, 2015 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
This book kept my interest the whole time!

Loved the main characters and the story. I'm happy that I randomly decided to pick this to read off my bookshelf. It's perfect for summer, even though the story was tragic there was joyous parts as well!

I recommend. :)
Sep 12, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was better than I can say. It was a quick, easy read for me because I could not put it down. The authors narrative, her characters, and the way story unfolds hooked me instantly. I think what I appreciated the most is that its a love story, but not the love story you are expecting. The main character does not realize what her life is lacking until she loses her constant companion, her mother. When her life aches with emptiness she starts to question the maiden life she has created for ...more
I listened to the audible version of The Good Dream by Donna VanLiere. The audible version is an excellent narration by the author. Set in the 1950s, The Good Dream tells the story of Ivorie Walker, an unmarried, 30 something year old, who lives in a small town in Tennessee. Recovering from her parents deaths, most especially her mothers passing, Ivorie is living alone until she rescues a young and abused boy from 'the hills'. Faced with opposition and obstacles from the small community where sh ...more
Dale Harcombe
Jul 23, 2013 Dale Harcombe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by this author and I very nearly didn’t read it, once I encountered abuse of a child. This is a hard topic to deal with emotionally. But neither could I leave it alone. The novel starts with the voice of novel of Ivorie, a spinster in her thirties back in 1950 Tennessee. After her mother’s death, Ivorie lives alone with her faithful canine companion Sally. About this time she also starts keeping company with the widowed George. The future looks promising, until someone com ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever read a book that you didn't want to end? It makes you feel so good inside that you wish it could just go on and on and on? The Good Dream was one of those books for me. I would give this book 10 stars if I could. It's a little scary that possibly here it is only the 5th of January and this feels like the best book I'll read this year. The characters, Ivoree, Peter, Henry.....they are just so real and they all just touched a place in my heart that fictional characters rarely reach. ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: see review or blog
I was drawn into this book from the very first page and I literally could not put it down. As an adoptee, adoptive parent, and former foster parent, this book spoke to my heart on many levels. Although I have never personally worked with a child that has been through as much trauma as the boy in this story, I found myself identifying with Ivorie as she dealt with the small mindedness and prejudices of her community. I cried throughout the entire book. I cried from heartbreak, I cried from joy. T ...more
Vera Marie
Aug 25, 2012 Vera Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Generally, I treat audio books as a convenience, still preferring to read a “real” book where I can easily flip back through the pages to remind me of something I missed or write in the margins. But I highly recommend listening to The Good Dream on this audio book recorded by Donna VanLiere. Unlike most authors, who should stick to quietly writing and keep their mouths shut, VanLiere background includes doing voiceovers, so she definitely knows how to interpret the written word.

She brings a h
Casey Leidig
Jan 06, 2014 Casey Leidig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in historical settings, people who are looking for a non-romantic-love story
Recommended to Casey by: Margaret
This was a book my Secret Santa recommended to me on the NBRC group page - and thank you so much, Margaret! This was a truly touching read. I really, really enjoyed it.

Even though I'm used to YA and its addicting and engaging style, I found myself listening to this with rapt attention and I became invested in the story and the characters. The relationship between Ivorie and the boy was heart-warming and perfectly done.

My only reservation is that I thought there was potential for more. I think m
Jun 01, 2012 Suzy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was fortunate enough to get an advance copy of this novel from my friend Donna VanLiere and I devoured it within several days. I used to be strictly a fiction reader and yet I find myself drawn more these days to non-fiction, likely due to the proliferation of hopelessness offered in so much fiction today. I want to find some hope (albeit realistic) in a story, and I want to find characters I can develop some empathy for. Too much modern fiction offers neither.

Donna is a friend, so it is a de
Jul 28, 2012 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 13, 2012 Guy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Background info – “The Angels of Morgan Hill” (2006) by Donna VanLiere, set in 1947 Morgan Hill, Tennessee, is currently my favorite book.

“The Good Dream” (2012) is set in 1950 Morgan Hill, Tennessee, so I was looking forward to reading about some of the beloved characters from the earlier book. Also, I’ve found that I get emotionally attached to Donna VanLiere’s characters more than any other author and expected that to happen again. I was not disappointed in either case in this new book. I do
Jane Stewart
4 stars. It’s a wonderful story about a single woman and an abused boy, but the ending was unresolved on the bad guys.

If you’re deciding between audiobook and physical book, choose audiobook. The narration takes it to a higher level.

This is womens fiction, but I want to call it heartwarming fiction. It’s very feel good. I was surprised to hear this labeled Christian/Inspirational Fiction. I wouldn’t call it that. My view of Christian/Inspirational Fiction has talking to God, talking to Je
Apr 12, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was truly enjoyable. She had me drawn in to the story of Ivorie from the very first page, and I was pleasantly surprised how it turned in to one of those - "I have to keep reading to find out what happens" - kind of book.
Realistically, I don't' think a boy living 8 years with the kind of background he did would be able to do so well, so quickly, but the eternal optimist in me loves the fact that this woman didn't give up. This boy finds a happy ending and someone to love him unconditi
Sep 07, 2012 Deb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just don't get the appeal of this book. I thought it was sappy and boring and so very predictable. How many conversations can you read talking about how great the blueberries are and how you will take them and make jam and let's eat some more biscuits and chicken and then talk about the blackberries and trade them with our neighbors at the store... this is what the book was like for me.
The boy comes down and plays with the dog and the dog barks at the kids and runs around.
I guess Ivory was ok
Angela Britnell
Jun 26, 2013 Angela Britnell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This well-written story will draw you in from the first page. It's set in 1950's rural Tennessee. Ivorie Walker is in her early thirties and considered an old maid. Having nursed both her parents she's now alone and wondering what will become of her. When a wild boy from the nearby hills steals from her garden she doesn't realize the next thing he'll steal is her heart. At the same time she's been wooed for the first time in years and tempted by the chance for a life she'd almost given up on. He
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from the 1st page. Ivorie, the main character, is a compassionate, lonely woman, who finds a young, feral boy from the hills stealing from her garden. She rescues him from an abusive home, and takes him In as her own. The author writes so descriptively, I can almost smell the food she cooks,and see her garden. This was a simple tale, but a moving story of a woman's love for a boy who needed her. I just love this book, and highly recommend if you're looking for a fe ...more
Laura (Kyahgirl)
4/5; 4 stars; A-

(Note: I originally gave this 4.5/5 but after turning it over in my mind for the day decided to go to 4)

What a moving story; sometimes heart-wrenching yet still brimming with hope and beauty. The audiobook is a real treasure because the author reads it herself and she is immensely talented. I loved the voices she used for the various characters. For some reason I kept hearing hints of Elly May Clampett in some of the female voices and it always made me smile.

I don't know what to
Jun 17, 2012 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ivorie lived with her parents until their death. Now it is just her and her dog, Sally. This is on for Ivorie as she does not need a man as she is doing just fine on her own, despite what everyone else may think. Things are going well, Ivorie has started a garden. Ivorie starts to notice beans, tomatoes and other veggies missing form her garden. At first Ivorie thought it was Sally but then Ivorie catches her bandit in action. It is a little boy. Ivorie takes the boy into her home. Soon the whol
May 21, 2012 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“The difficulty of literature is not to write, but to write what you mean; not to affect your reader, but to affect him precisely as you wish.” --Robert Louis Stevenson

Donna VanLiere is an artist with words. I have to admit I don't read fiction all that often, mostly because it's hard for me to suspend disbelief and stay inside the world the author created. That's why I was surprised (and my wife was astonished) that I entered Donna VanLiere's world in The Good Dream on page 1 and didn't leave
Kerry *Soulcaster*
Needless to say, The Good Dream will not go down as my favorite book of all time. I chose this novel because of its inspirational premise. It is the story of a single 30 year old woman who saves a little boy from a lifetime of abuse. I could not imagine the adversity she must have faced as the story took place in a small town in Tennessee in 1950.

Ivorie Walker has spurned the attentions of any bachelor within miles, and as a result is considered an "old maid" at the age of thirty. Despite this
Jul 30, 2012 Yasmin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The Good Dream seems like another story about a small town in the south of many decades ago, but the author tackles the heavy subject of childhood abuse. The spinster in the town is the heroine of the story. She's outspoken, fearless without being overly brash, smart and funny. She knows how to stand up for herself. She's one of those rare human beings who will take action in the face of great injustice. Many in this town give lip service to being Christian (as many do even today), but when they ...more
Jan 05, 2013 Kathryn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Oh my gosh what a wonderful story. This is my first book by Donna VanLiere and I will certainly read more. What I loved the most is that I thought I knew who did it, caused it or created it and every time I was wrong. That's what a good book is all about.
I really enjoy historical fiction in mid-century America and hoped this would be a bit of a slice of life in the south in the 1950s sort of thing. I should have read the reviews more closely as it was too tragic and heart wrenching a story for me. I was compelled to finish however so that counts for something. I was not impressed enough by the writing to pursue anything else with this author. Some of the prose reads like stage direction especially in the beginning. I enjoyed that style with anot ...more
Jan 21, 2015 Deborah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this audiobook really rated closer to 5 stars for me. Some reviewers thought it was syrupy or cheesy, but I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version. The narration was done by the author, and she captured the accents and attitudes of the rural peoples of Eastern Tennessee with a great accuracy. I grew up in that area in the years following the time portrayed in the book (it takes place during my birth year of 1950) and even though I lived in a larger urban area (Knoxville), I knew many, many ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Verona rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I'm a Southern girl from the mountains of North Carolina, I identified with this truly Southern novel which takes place in the mountains of Tennessee. I got the feeling that Donna Van Liere either grew up in Tennessee, or somewhere in the South. This story has a true Southern flavor. The Southern living with growing a garden, canning, and cooking homecooked meals from the garden, living in an home with no air conditioning, etc. is reminiscent of my own upbringing. My mouth watered at Ivor ...more
Sep 11, 2012 Darin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Donna VanLiere certainly doesn't disappoint her fans with her first full-length novel. This book stirs the emotions,
warms the heart and challenges the mind. She places such characters as Ivorie Walker, an old maid stated by many in the
town because she is in her thirties and not married. Then there is George Coley who wants to marry Ivorie but when she finds
a starving, abused boy raiding her garden that she wants to help, he decides that isn't the life for him. This little boy
has been abu
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Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author and gifted conference speaker. She has published ten titles including The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies (starring Rob Lowe, Kimberly Williams-Perry and Neil Patrick Harris) and garnered big ratings for CBS television. LifetimeTelevision adapted The Christmas Hope (starring Made ...more
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“I know the well of my maternal incompetence is deep but I am determined to siphon up a calm and breathing hope for him.” 9 likes
“Am I crazy Loretta?"
"A little," she says. I glance up at her. "Sometimes we're called on to do crazy things.”
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