Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Dreaming” as Want to Read:
The Dreaming
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Dreaming

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,202 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Recently orphaned, Joanna Drury, the granddaughter of Outback missionaries, travels to Australia to begin her life anew and to uncover the generations-old curse that has plagued her family. Reprint.
Mass Market Paperback, 528 pages
Published August 1st 1992 by Avon (first published 1991)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Dreaming, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Dreaming

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,202 ratings  ·  91 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Dreaming
4.5 "Outback Dreaming" Stars for the story and narration!

Historical fiction lovers with elements of romance will love the Australian exploration of the late 1870s intermixed with the rich cultural history and interesting beliefs of the Aborigines of many decades before. From its portrayal of the cultural clashes between the "white man" and the Aborigines (the original inhabitants of Australia) to the lack of acceptance among the British gentry of the "nouveau rich" sheep farmers in Australia, Th
Clare O'Beara
I had previously read Soul Flame, a historical tale set in the Middle East by Barbara Wood. I found many similarities when I was enjoying The Dreaming. The current book is set in 1800s Australia but both show women's ways of life, from differing cultures; an arid landscape which yet provides for the people; healing wisdom and medicinal herbs; travel within the wider area; exploration of culture and spirituality.

Our protagonist Joanna Drury, daughter of a woman who had missionary parents and liv
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have liked most books by Barbara Wood, but this one seemed overly long. It got tiresome hearing over and over about the dog and serpent nightmares. Don't get me wrong, the book is well written, perhaps it just wasn't a book that appealed to me at the moment.
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This wasn't a book I had heard about elsewhere and was dying to read; it just came across my desk at the library and I snagged it for myself. You can't see the cover, but it's intriguing - Aboriginal designs - and the title "The Dreaming" (a reference to Aboriginal creation stories) and subtitle, "A Novel of Australia" caught my eye. Having recently returned from there and being interested in Aboriginal culture and beliefs, I was hopeful that this book would be well-researched and give me more i ...more
Dina Goluza
A nice epic story about Australia during nineteenth century. I like chapters of this book about Aborigines and their customs and beliefs.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent story of a young woman who travels to Australia to find out about the"curse" that her mother and she have been living with. A finding of oneself.
I wanted to read it because I wanted to know more of history of Australia. Before this novel I have know of this a little from movies and a general knowledge, but I wanted to know more after A Town Like Alice and The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice. In this two books only part of the action takes place in Australia but in was enough for me to make me wanting more. Now I know more. In other words, it was a good lesson about Australia. Furthermore, there are also many other his ...more
Margaret Higgins
really odd book
Tara Chevrestt
As always, I am incredibly impressed with Barbara Wood's extensive research into any subject, country, or race she writes about. This novel offers an in depth look at the early colonial days of Australia and how the people lived. Readers will learn about Aborginal superstitions, the sheep trade, kangaroos, dingos, and early immigration. During this education, there is a love story or two, tragedy among families, and revenge plots. This novel follows Johanna from India to Australia where she marr ...more
Barbara ★
Australia has interested me since I was a kid and any "Australian saga" fascinates me to no end. I devoured this book and absolutely loved it. Though I will say that the ending was rather abrupt and left things hanging, leaving the reader to interpret how things actually turned out (hence 4 stars and not 5). Reminiscent of the Outback series by Aaron Fletcher which I read and thoroughly enjoyed years ago. This type of book just reinforces my desire to experience the Australian Outback in all it' ...more
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Although it has been almost 20 years since I read this book (I read it in college, maybe 1992), it was a favorite of mine for years. The story was mesmerizing and really drew me in. Set in Australia it grew my dream of wanting to visit some day, but most important, the main character. I was endeared to her and it was after reading this Barbara Wood novel that I fell in love with the name Joanna. At the end of the story, I thought the name a beautiful name for an adventurous, courageous and lovin ...more
I did have much time for reading but when I finally had I was very surprised I expected everything but not that I will enjoy every page...The characters came alive and the wonderful blend of storytelling with the richness of the Aborigine culture mixed with the struggles of the settlers of that time . I was surprised to find out the author hadn't lived there; her research was so richly detailed. It made me want to read more of her books.
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cried. I have never cried reading a book, but yet when the friends and family where all around Hugh, that part had me appreciating the love of family. This book had everything in it except for the kitchen sink. The ending had me searching for more. Let me just say, Pauline, what a great turnabout.
This book was full of information on history from India, England to Australia. There is so much to learn while reading this book. This was a well written book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s now my
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pending our trip to Australia, I picked up this epic book. It is a long read. Story takes you from Melbourne to Western Australia with lots of information on Aboriginal culture. Joanna is searching for her Dreamline or family history and she is tenacious. She faces numerous dead ends and keeps searching. The plot is good, characters well defined, but book is laborious with details.
Dec 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in French and found it very easy to follow. My previous large French book (a 16th century historical novel took me 18 months to read. This one was only 5 weeks as the language was much easier to follow and as it was set in Australia (I'm Australian but living in France) the subject was interesting as well.
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dreaming

I liked this book a lot. I didn't think it was predictable. The characters might have been developed a bit deeper but over you knew them and they fit in the story. I will read more of this authors books
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jeanette
Shelves: barbara-wood
Fast moving romance. It's a "can't put it downer". I thoroughly enjoyed it, even if it was a little disjointed and predictable in places.
Under the blazing sun of India, Joanna Drury was dreaming again, a recurring nightmare of troubling visions that had long plagued her mother, Emily, too before she died. Thus begins the sweeping tale of a woman's courage to seek out the mystery of a generations-old curse that has haunted her family into the untamed and forbidding land of Australia.

Barbara Wood once again presents us with a strong heroine amidst the roughness and stifling heat of the Outback in mid-nineteenth century. Joanna's st
Laura Carter
I debated over how many stars to give this book: 2 or 3? I finally settled on 3 because I liked it. And that's what 3 stars means.

What I liked:
It was a very original book with an original storyline and subplots. I enjoyed the rich history and how the author wove it all through everyone's stories. The writing itself wasn't bad and there was a lot of interesting explanations and descriptions. I really felt like I could see Australia and the events that were happening. The people came alive and h
Barbara Wood uses meticulous research and elegant writing to create novels with believable characters and realistic settings that transport the reader to exotic countries and far off times. The Dreaming takes us to Australia in the Victorian Era, when Darwin is an upstart scientist and Jules Verne is writing his inspiring novels.

Young Joanna Drury of colonial India has lost both parents within days of each other and has made a promise to her mother to go to Australia in search of answers to the
Amber Andrews
I like the cover..

I enjoyed the book after about the first quarter of it. It was hard for me to get away from the movie "Australia" in my head while reading the beginning and it didn't help that the main male of the story is named Hugh. Woman on a boat, woman finds child, rears child as own after a while. They end there, and the real story takes off. The love triangle portions were predictable and not really enjoyable, but the main story line is very good. The last half of the book was much bet
Rj Resurreccion
(view spoiler) ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia, victorian
Although I enjoyed this book, I didn't love it, primarily because it couldn't make up its mind what it wanted to be. Is it a romance? A mystery? A look at the bond between mothers and daughters? A social examination of the plight of the Aborigines? Just historical fiction about Australia? I'm still not sure what the central point was. Between the confusing, sometimes pointless side-plots, the random shifts in POV, the time jumps, and that rush job of an ending, it makes for a frustrating read, w ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first encounter with this author. All in all, it kept my attention throughout the whole (not so small) book. I feared for the ending as the mystery of "the curse" evolved and suspected that it would be hard to satisfy the reader after the unrealistic effects and powers of the curse seemed to pile up, but was somewhat pleasently surprised at the end. Book also represents a wonderful insight into the customs and traditions of Aborigines. However, Joanna's constant nightmares, expressing ...more
Nov 16, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended as "historical fiction" but read like a cheap romantic novel. I'm surprised there wasn't a cheesy picture of Fabio on the cover. I actually tried to force myself through this and ended up skipping the last 20 pages because I truly didn't care what happened to the characters by that point.
I'm sorry I wasted so much of my time reading this book.
Back to my old rule: if it doesn't grab my attention (or is so poorly written as to be laughable), I will not force myself to read it.
Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is set in Australia following the life of a young English girl who was born and raised in India but whose mother/father death when she was 18 years old sends her on a quest to claim some land left to her mother by her grandparents and to try and uncover the mysteries surrounding the 'curse' her mother believes is on their family. I liked it very much. It's a great saga and I loved the descriptions of Australia and the Aboriginis and their culture/beliefs. A good read.
Dec 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm not really into spiritual views or anything, but even with that, I loved this book! It was so exciting and interesting and nice-paced, I couldn't even put it down. The characters were real and they were really easy to identify myself with, or see their motivation. I liked that most of their conflicts or inner thought processes was based on basic human life situations and feelings that are present in every age, so I knew what they were going through.
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ahhhh. Australia. I read The Thorn Birds in middle school and ever since, I have a special lace in my heart reserved for fiction set in Australia. This book has a little bit of romance, some historical fiction, and tons of mystery and adventure. Joanna is looking to solve the mystery of what happened to her grandparents and why her mother felt the family was cursed. It brings in a lot of Aboriginal folklore and I just couldn't put it down.
May 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this story about pioneer Australians in the 1850's. A girl and her mother were planning a trip to Australia. They were going to find the origins of their family. The mother was bothered by things ( a lot of snakes and mad dogs) that are now bothering her daughter. Unfortunately the mother dies.
Astrid Falkenberg
Oct 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dreaming was the first book I've read by Barbara Wood, and then I tracked down every one of her books. A woman's journey across the Australian outback and her encounters with the aborigines was amazing. She mostly centers her books around female "heroines" in different parts of the world and different eras, and has a definite spiritual spin on her stories, which speaks to me.
« previous 1 3 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Australia 1 1 Jul 28, 2019 01:37AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Mutant Message Down Under
  • Meine Schwester Klara und die große Wanderung
  • Friends and Strangers
  • Golden Poppies
  • Life as I Know It
  • Himbeermond (Colors of Life #1)
  • Ich bin nicht süß, ich hab bloß Zucker: Eine Online-Omi sagt, wie's ist (Die Online-Omi, #1)
  • Heart of the West
  • Das verborgene Tor (Zeitenzauber, #3)
  • Stud Muffin (Donner Bakery, #2)
  • Warrior's Woman (Ly-San-Ter, #1)
  • Counselling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
  • Criminology: A Sociological Introduction
  • Key Readings in Criminology
  • Criminology
  • The Boy in the River
  • Criminology
  • Love in Due Time (Green Valley Library, #1)
See similar books…
Barbara Wood was born on 30 January 1947 in Warrington, Lancashire, England, UK. Together with her parents and older brother, she immigrated to the United States. She grew up in Southern California and attended Los Angeles Schools. After High School, Barbara attended the University of California at Santa Barbara but left to train as a surgical technician. During this time, Barbara held numerous jo ...more

Related Articles

While dealing with her husband's illness, this debut author turned to the refuge of Jane Austen's work. That refuge turned into her highly anticipa...
90 likes · 13 comments
“malcriadas, moverse inútilmente” 0 likes
More quotes…