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Let Us Dream

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  635 ratings  ·  149 reviews
A rebellious cabaret owner and her stubborn chef pursue, life, liberty, and happiness in 1917 Harlem... and find love where they least expect it.

After spending half her life pretending to be something she’s not, performance is second nature for cabaret owner Bertha Hines. With the election drawing near and women’s voting rights on the ballot, Bertha decides to use her per
Kindle Edition, 179 pages
Published February 28th 2017 by Seditious Sisters (first published February 27th 2017)
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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  635 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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Women helped each other in ways small and large every day, without thinking, and that was what kept them going even when the world came up with new and exciting ways to crush them (164).

Reading this book made me so happy. I'm so glad I "buddy read" it with Korey, even though I was way too slow and she finished it a week before I did. As she said in her review, this is a satisfying read in Mango Mussolini's America. Two people of col
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Alyssa Cole is so good at picking the right amount of conflict to make a novella feel substantial and still satisfying, and this one was no different. I loved the unusual historical setting and being in a 1910s cabaret... and of course, the characters were fabulous. I loved seeing Bertha take control of her life on her own terms and how that inspired Amir to do the same. Great chemistry, great plot-- yeah, just all around, a delight to read!
Anne Boleyn's Ghost
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
4.5 "I worship at the altar of Alyssa Cole" stars rounded up.

Let Us Dream is intense and affecting. I found myself wanting to highlight like mad - and I'm not a highlighter. I found myself moved to tears - and I'm not much of a crier. If you're not rushing off to read this, you really should.

Alyssa Cole is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Whether historical or contemporary, full-length novels or novellas, her work is smart and stirring. Let Us Dream follows the romance between Bertha,
Kate Olson
Alyssa Cole can do no wrong. I have loved everything she has written, from present-day NYC to Civil War romantic suspense, to this beauty of a novella set in 1917 Harlem. This story is fiercely feminist with an interracial romance, and addresses so many historical touchstones. From the suffragette movement to playing the numbers to the Great Migration and much more, this novella was a great one to listen to during my month-long read of The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great ...more
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-authors
Set in 1917 Harlem during the women's suffrage movement, Let Us Dream is a wonderful romance novella following the Black owner of a burlesque club and an undocumented immigrant from India who she hires to help in the kitchen. It's a slow burn relationship (as much as it can be given the length of the book) and the story is full of nuanced historical context that addresses intersectional oppression across lines of race, ethnicity, gender, class, and religion, not to mention the negative stereotyp ...more
Lexxi Kitty
I attempted and failed my first time to read this book. Though, to be fair, it was more of a glance to see if I'd read this one right then and there or something else. So I hadn't really gotten that far before turning to something else. Despite that initial failure, I did find that first attempt to tease me with potential. And, once I actually came back to this book, I found the book addictive, unexpected, and quite good and fun.

It is interesting to read a multi-racial book that contains not a s
Skye Kilaen
A satisfyingly political romance set in 1917 Harlem between Bertha Hines, a determined African-American woman who owns a cabaret called The Cashmere and organizes for women's suffrage, and Amir Chowdhury, a Muslim Bengali immigrant to the U.S. who's hired at The Cashmere as a chef after discovering that the "American dream" isn't really open to people like him. Bertha is So Over Men, for good reasons, and both she and Amir are extremely prickly people, also for good reasons, but they somehow man ...more
Korrie’s Korner
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars!

Loved the setting of this book in 1917. It was interesting to experience women’s suffrage in New York at that time at a time when it was still so segregated. I loved that the love story involved a strong black woman, who was a cabaret owner. She had no rights and couldn’t vote and yet she ran her own business. Interesting things happen when she gets in a pickle and hires an illegal immigrant, Amir and they are forced to work together. Amir works hard breaking down Bertha’s hard walls
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cole has been on my radar as an author since she released volume one of her Civil War series "An Extraordinary Union" in March, I've been meaning to check her out, and Nenia's suggestion to buddy read this was just the motivation I needed to take the plunge.

Bertha is a former prostitute and current nightclub owner who is a passionate advocate for women's suffrage. She has to contend with not only the racism and sexism of the anti-suffragists, but even her fellow suffragettes who look down upon
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
3.5 stars
Sabrina Jeffries
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story so much that it got me reading other Alyssa Cole books. It had beautiful, evocative writing, a scrumptious hero, and a prickly heroine with a heart of gold, which is my catnip. Plus, the unique setting and plot taught me something about history, which I always love. It's short, but well worth the read. ...more
2019 Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo: Show Business

Can you tell that I’m frantically trying to finish my bingo before August ends? LOL. I was so happy to realize that one of my unread Alyssa Cole novellas fit an unfinished square. This novella is sheer perfection and I cannot think of a single thing I didn’t like about it.
Dec 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
is Alyssa Cole becoming one of my favorite authors?
well, yes YES she does!!

sweet & important
charming & teachable

everything you are looking for in a romance novel and she did it exceptionally well for such a short book!!
Steph's Romance Book Talk
4 Stars / 2 Fans

OMG, I found another historical black romance that I didn't hate. This is the first historical romance that I have read from Alyssa Cole and I really enjoyed the way she laid out this story. Set in 1917, New York during women's suffrage movement and a segregated United States. Bertha is a cabaret owner which is rare because women have no right to vote, no real right to own anything, and the fact that she is black just compounds how difficult her life is. Amir is an illegal immig
Hi, this amazing novella is currently free!

"Can I help you, Amir?"
"May I sit?" he asked.
She nodded and he settled into the seat in front of her desk. She tried to read his expression to determine whether he was going to quit, demand a raise, or try to give her some friendly advice, as men were wont to do.

Alyssa Cole is awesome and this is my favorite so far (Let It Shine a close second). Because suffragettes!

"One day I just couldn't stand another minute of it. Of being told what to do and
This was genuinely one of the best novellas I've ever read. If you like smart, feminist romance - or just really good historical fiction! - you should absolutely check it out. I loooooved Bertha and Amir, I loved the rich setting in early 20th-century Harlem, and I adored all the different women working to help each other in different ways in this story.

Between this and An Extraordinary Union, Alyssa Cole has rapidly become my very favorite historical romance author, which is saying a lot. And
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
DNF 52%

This is a historical romance, emphasis on historical. The setting is interesting, the characters are engaging and the details paint a good picture of the time. So why just two stars? Because there isn't much story. It is too militant.

Rachel- Goodbye Borders
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Bertha owns the Cashmere- a dance club, restaurant, brothel. An ex-prostitute, she provided protection for her girls. She is a suffragist and gives civics lessons to the girls working for her. Amir wanted more, so he jumped ship and came to the US. Amir is here illegally as immigration laws did not favor those who were not white and from Europe. (Amir is from India and is a Muslim). Amir gets a job in Bertha's kitchen.
After Amir listens in on one of Bertha's civics lessons, they broker an agreem
Amy Cousins
This book is SO GOOD. Gah. It makes 1917 Harlem come alive, with the politicians and nightclub owners, the prostitutes and church ladies, the immigrants and the police, the number runners and the hairdressers, all moving in and out of each other's orbits in a tight-knit world of labor and corruption and gossip and kindness. Bertha is magnificent. She is fierce and demanding and controlling and care-taking. And Amir is angry and judgmental and kind and sexy as hell. I just loved the both of them, ...more
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. I so appreciated this glimpse into two non-white New Yorkers' lives 100 years ago. Plus, deliciously feminist. And the hero works for the business-owning heroine.

It's frustrating though, thinking how much hope folks had about getting the vote and how much we are still fighting the same battles.
How does Alyssa Cole master every time period and genre she decides to write????
Feb 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, owned
Bertha is a woman of color who is a shrewd businesswoman running a nightclub/brothel in 1917 NYC, constantly under threat of shutdown. She is also active in women's suffrage and advocating for the necessity of a voice/vote for lower class women, she teaches her ladies civics during the day. On top of all that the romantic interest, Amir, is an illegal immigrant from Bengal who works his way up from dishwasher to cook in her kitchen, adapting the southern dishes with his own flavor and spices. Th ...more
Jul 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
So good. Wish it was longer!

Enjoyed reading about a time and place I don't know much about. Makes me want to learn more. Alyssa has a great list of resources and references at the end.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Okay, yes, I do feel like a dick rating this novella just three stars, but hear me out: the history and representation are absolutely amazing!!! If I could, this would be a 3.5, because it's something special. However, this is a romance novella, and the romance fell pretty flat for me, so three stars it is.

Bertha Hines, who's cool enough to make that name sexy, is a Black dancer and cabaret owner. She slept her way to a position of power, and she feels no shame about that. She uses her position
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of four novellas by Alyssa Cole on Audible Escape, all of which are excellent. Let Us Dream takes place in the late 1900’s, when suffragettes were really making a push for the 19th Amendment. I think it starts out in 1917. It chronicles the trials and tribulations of Bertha and Amir, and is an interracial romance between a black woman and a South Asian man.

Bertha is the feisty and unapologetically independent owner of a cabaret dinner club. Amir was working as a ship’s cook, but fel
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
This book was so good. A bengali immigrant and a black woman in Harlem. The story is beautifully written and their struggles are real. Also ironic that so many years from the setting of the story and our society has the same issues around race, immigration, sex work, women's rights as then. I looved reading it. I didn't even know that there was something like the Bengali Harlem. Thank you for writing this awesome story. ...more
Maya B
Nice read to pass the time. The story could have used some more details as far as women suffrage and the love story between Amir and Bertha. I just felt like I needed more to make this a complete story

Nothing’s wrong with it. I’m just not enjoying it. Think it might be too politically heavy or something.

Anyway, DNF at 50%.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like historical romances
Recommended to Sandlynn by: Romance podcast
Alyssa Cole’s Let Us Dream is a novella published in 2017. The story is set in 1917’s Harlem — 100 years earlier, when women were lobbying for the suffrage in New York state.

Our hero, Amir Khan, is a young man from Bengal, India who has left his land behind to sail the seas and see the world before, possibly, returning to farm his land. It’s a tough life on the ship, but he has found a place, acting as chef. Although he’s been to New York City on previous trips, he suddenly decides to jump ship
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
For a long time I thought I didn't like romance. Not because I thought my taste was too highbrow and romance was too trashy to meet my standards (well, maybe 14-year-old me did think that), but because very often the first thing that came to my mind after finishing a romance novel was "That's it?". The only element that was described with a minimum level of depth was the romance itself, and everything else seemed shallow and uninteresting.

Not so with this novella, or, from what I've heard, anyth
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Hype Lit Book Club: February: "Let Us Dream" by Alyssa Cole 12 11 Mar 03, 2018 03:46PM  

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Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her Civil War-set espionage romance An Extraordinary Union was the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award’s Best Book of 2017 and the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, and A Princess in Theory was one of the New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2018. She’s contributed to publications including Bust ...more

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“Women helped each other in ways small and large every day, without thinking, and that was what kept them going even when the world came up with new and exciting ways to crush them.” 18 likes
“I’m sure you know this, but power dynamics rooted in social status are a system designed to separate people instead of bringing them together for the greater good.” 2 likes
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