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The Dream Peddler

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  578 ratings  ·  131 reviews
"Astonishing . . . Explores the vast underground legacy of our own desires. This is the must-read book of the year." --Rene Denfeld, bestselling author of The Child Finder

A richly imagined debut novel about a traveling salesman and the small town he changes forever

If someone offered you a magic elixir that could conjure any dream you wanted . . . would you take it?

Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 9th 2019 by Penguin Books (first published December 1st 2018)
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Martine Watson They’ve never actually met before, but you might say that because of his past, Evie’s pain feels familiar to Robert. Without adding spoilers, she…moreThey’ve never actually met before, but you might say that because of his past, Evie’s pain feels familiar to Robert. Without adding spoilers, she reminds him of someone he once knew.

In a more general way, Evie and Robert recognize “the outsider” in each other.(less)

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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  578 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Angela M
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it

There is some magical realism in this book, but I found the story to be more real than magical. There are realistic emotions - grief and love and realistic characters with wants and desires and hopes that are relatable. This is a quiet, slow moving story with an aura of mystery. Robert Owens, a traveling salesmen who is selling dreams arrives in this small town, where everyone seems connected, where people care about each other, where the sometimes stifling and narrow small town life affects
Mar 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to Penguin Publishing Group who provided an advance reader copy via Edelweiss.

This reminded me very much of a Diane Setterfield authored novel. There is no specifically identified location or time setting for this story. There is a just a general feel of a small farming village with a general store and everyone knows their neighbor. There are quaint activities such as quilt making and a summer fair where farm animals, pies and quilts get prize ribbons. People pack picnic lunches, drink
Rene Denfeld
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I was lucky to get an advance copy of this astonishing novel. THE DREAM PEDDLER unfolds like a gorgeous poem, leading us deep into the lives of its characters, and exploring the vast underground legacies of our own desires. Put this one on your must-read lists!
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
3,75 stars

This was a wonderful story that focused on the lives of people in a small town but with the addition of magical realism in the form of the dream peddler and the dreams he conjured. My favourite part of the book was probably the writing, it was so beautiful and reflected the historical aspect of the book very well. I can't say I liked the characters that much, except for Robert, he had a very complex personality in my opinion. Towards the end of the novel, I felt like the plot dragged a
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A delightful read from start to finish! I really enjoyed this book and would read it again if I could.
A man comes into town selling dreams the day after a family loses their only son. That's the foundation for this story that shows the simplicity and complication of small towns with the wonder of dreams both big and small. The titular dream peddler, Robert, is a compelling character that you understand, but know so little about. The relationships he builds with the townspeople are heartwarming
Megan C.
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I unexpectedly received this book from the publisher and it was such a treat! I was in the middle of several other reads when it arrived, however, I made the mistake of skimming through the first few pages....over 100 pages later, I finally put it down to go to bed. I finished this sweet story in two sittings and was so impressed by the gentle but firm pacing - it's a bit on the quieter side, but I never felt bored or frustrated.

The novel focuses on themes of overcoming grief, community, and
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A peddler comes to town the day a young boy goes missing. What happens in the aftermath is a beautifully written study of the townspeople, their experiences, feelings, and actions. Watson's characters live in an unnamed town at an unnamed time, but their lives are entirely relevant to every place and time. There is so much we have in common with other people just because we are all human. Some of us take longer to heal from heartbreak, some of us need more attention, some of us can't accept who ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
I’m DNF’ing this one. The prose is gorgeous, but good god I am so incredibly bored. A character who disappeared early in the novel was just found by the townspeople and my actual reaction was, “Oh god, finally, now maybe we can move on to something interesting.”
Amanda Zirn Hudson
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
"The Dream Peddler" is a luxurious debut about the whispers of a small town, the magic of dreams, and a boy who goes missing one snowy morning. When Robert Owens happens to sway into town the same day little Benjamin goes missing, the town doesn't think much of it at first. In the beginning the townsfolk find Robert mysterious... yet kind... and soon the allure of buying a custom-made dream is too much to resist. By the time the seasons have changed, half the town is secretly buying colorful ...more
Apr 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-book-drop
I was really intrigued by the concept of this book - a man who sells bottled dreams arrives in a small town the same day a young boy goes missing and the ramifications in the town of the dream peddler being there. I liked how the story played out, but I wanted more from it. I think if the book was longer and dove more into the goings on in the town, described dreams in detail and how they were changing people’s lives and the ripples that had in the town, I would have liked it more. Some of that ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it
No one before has ever seen the likes of traveling salesman Robert Owens. He makes his way, town after town, peddling the most astonishing gifts...dreams. But soon after Robert's arrival, the community has just been dealt with the most devastating of blows when nine year-old Benjamin Dawson's body was discovered only days after he went missing. With extreme expectations that Robbie's elixir will unleash deep-rooted desires and hopes, many townsfolk partake in what this man is selling while ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars but might round up to 5 later! More to share in a bit...
The Dream Peddler is a novel that had me hooked from the first chapter. There was just something about Watson's writing style, and the way we enter the story, that imbued the world with magic, wonder and mystery.

We follow the story of Robert Owens, a traveling salesman who offers magical potions that will give you whatever dream you desire. On the day he enters town, a young boy disappears, and this begins a series of events
Robert Owens is peddler of a product that is rare and quite valuable: dreams. He travels from town to town, mixing his elixirs individually for each client at their request, fulfilling their unique desires. Some dream to remember the past, some to see the future and others to relive a present day joy. Evie’s request, however, is unusual. She has a pain so intense that she believes only Robert can and his elixirs can cure. As they meet over the elixir exchange, they form a friendship, a bond, but ...more
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had heard nothing about this book and just checked it out because it sounded interesting and I liked the cover :) What a pleasant surprise. This beautifully written book is about a small town that's visited by a man who sells dreams. The magical realism was just the right touch to a book about sorrow and loss and grief. It's also about identity, religion and community. The characters in this book were well developed, real and they stay with you. It's a quiet but touching story.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Dream Peddler was a wonderful listen. I loved the portrait of a small town and I'm sure the story will stay with me. The language was lovely and the characters were interesting. I would have enjoyed a little more exploration of the character's motives particularly the more minor characters... I suspect Violet, Rose and Jackson would all have had interesting perspectives on small town life. I wasn't completely satisfied at the end. I wanted more both from the dreams and the peddler. Yet, this ...more
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Honestly, I was a little bored reading this book. My mind kept wandering- not a good sign. I just didn't find the story and characters that compelling. I didn't find the writing as "gorgeous" as other reviewers found it (I've read better). It's not a bad story, it has a good premise, but it fell flat for me in its overall telling and flow. I just wasn't feeling it. I can't say I recommend this book, but I will say I'd try reading another of the author's books. I do feel she has promise. And I ...more
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
This would have been a much better book in the hands of a more experienced writer. Good story, interesting characters, but the flow is weird. It took far too long for me to read this book, for all that it's only 315 pages.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very good read: a mix of emotions with a touch of magic realism.
I loved everything in this book: the style of writing, the characters and the plot.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Penguin Books and Edelweiss for this ARC
Seth Turner
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written. Whispers of the mystical and magical in a very real setting. Every character is well rounded and could be your neighbor.
Kelly Well Read
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parc
"The Dream Peddler unfolds like a gorgeous poem, leading us deep into the lives of its characters and exploring the vast underground legacy of our own desires." ~ Rene Denfeld, author of The Child Finder and The Butterfly Girl (coming October, 2019)

I was fortunate to receive an early copy of The Dream Peddler, the debut novel by Martine Fournier Watson, from the library marketing folks at Penguin Random House. It has a lovely review from Rene Denfeld, an author whom I admire. The premise sounds
Katie Stryker
Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won a free copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

Robert Owens, a traveling dream salesman, comes to a town right as a young boy goes missing. Set in the late 1800s/early 1900s in a small country town, you really get a feel for the people and where they live. This story was told from many of the townspeople view points, which really gives you a feel for all the events going on through the book. And how
Margo Ten
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. What a delight to get an advanced copy!
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Exquisitely written. Heartbreaking and hopeful. Imaginative and insightful. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the way this was written. Beautifully done with setting and characters perfectly described. Lucky to have read the advance copy!
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was a slooooow read for me. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for something to happen. It never really did. Not my cup of tea.
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

In "The Dream Peddler" by Martine Fournier Watson, traveling salesman Robert Owens arrives at Evie Dawson's small town offering the gift of dreams. His arrival just also happens to be on the day that Evie's young son has gone missing. "The Dream Peddler" is a story about grief and the loss of innocence as a town tries to reconcile with a tragic event. Robert's dreams offer the town a means of escape, but despite
David Dunlap
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The time: the early 20th century, where motorcars are making their appearance alongside horses. The scene: an unnamed small rural town (perhaps in the Midwest?). Robert Owens, the title character, an itinerant salesman, arrives and becomes a boarder at the home of the local church organist. He has elixirs and potions to sell, elixirs and potions that will give desired dreams to the ones imbibing them. On the same day he arrives, Ben Dawson, the nine-year-old son of farmer George and his wife ...more
Jun 07, 2019 added it
THE DREAM PEDDLER tells the story of a dream peddler who comes to a small town the day a young boy goes missing. We see how the tragedy affects the townspeople and how they slowly turn to the dream peddler for his craft in spite of the skepticism some of them have towards it. It is richly imagined and highly character driven (and hence perhaps slow building as a result), cleverly exploring with the theme of dreams and how it can deal with grief/loss while also revealing some deeply hidden ...more
Madeleine Tyber
Nov 01, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book was such a waste of my time. I should have listened to my first instinct and left it partially read. No action happens until the last quarter of the book, and it’s resolved so swiftly it wasn’t at all worth waiting for. I can forgive a book where nothing happens if the writing is beautiful, but this wasn’t quite there. The idea of a wandering seller of dreams was so great I just wish more had actually happened. At least I’m finally finished.
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Martine Fournier Watson is originally from Montreal, Canada, where she earned her master’s degree in art history after a year in Chicago as a Fulbright scholar. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband and two children. The Dream Peddler is her first novel.
“Many of us are cowards, I think. But most of us don’t ever recognize what it is we fear.” 0 likes
“Many of are cowards, I think. But most of us don’t ever recognize what it is we fear.
The Dream Peddler, p. 279”
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