Charlotte's Reviews > Lincoln's Dreams

Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis
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's review
Jul 29, 2008

really liked it
Read in March, 2009

I love Connie Willis and while this was not by any means my favorite of her books it left me content and thoughtful. I would call the book hauntingly beautiful but with definite weaknesses in terms of character development and plot resolution. Willis's writing style is elegant and quirky and never fails to pull me in. In this book, her style very appropriately evoked walking through a surreal and confusing dreamscape. The characters were constantly led down dead ends and in circles in their quest for answers and for each other.

The main story takes place in present time and consists of a young woman and the man who loves her searching for the source of her strange dreams. The book also follows the course of the Civil war through dreams, historical documents, and a historical novel. The portrayal of Lee as a tragic hero was adept and the depiction of the old civil war battlefields is haunting. Unfortunately, the two main characters are no near as well fleshed out. Their motivations are simplistic and they both felt a bit one-dimensional to me. The plot, too, is a bit underwhelming in its conclusion. I did not mind the rather slow pacing through the first part of the book but the climax felt weak and the book trailed off after that with very little in the way of answers or resolution. What this book did do is make me want to learn more about the Civil War and history in general. And to read more Connie Willis, of course.
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