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3.99  ·  Rating details ·  315 ratings  ·  196 reviews
The year is 1911 when twenty-year-old heiress Peggy Batternberg is invited to spend the summer in America’s Playground.

The invitation to the luxurious Oriental Hotel a mile from Coney Island is unwelcome. Despite hailing from one of America’s richest families, Peggy would much rather spend the summer working at the Moonrise Bookstore than keeping up appearances with New
Paperback, 386 pages
Published January 16th 2020 by Endeavour Quill
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Joel There is a relationship, but nothing much more than kissing. The focus is much more on the rest of the story…moreThere is a relationship, but nothing much more than kissing. The focus is much more on the rest of the story (less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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Miranda Reads
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it

...there is one thing I do know. Women of my family, and all others like us, cannot behave the same as men do.
Set in 1911, Peggy Batternberg (yes, she's one of those Batternbergs) is ready to spend the summer playing bookshop keeper far away from her rich, snobbish family.

But soon, she is whisked away. Her sister, Lydia, is (possibly) going to marry to the rich and gorgeous Henry Taul, but he's made a odious condition upon the whole family.

Namely Peggy and the rest of the Batternbergs must
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Peggy Batternberg is a member of one of the wealthiest families in America, but she doesn’t behave in the manner expected of her position in life - this is 1911, a time when privileged and wealthy young women had to maintain an air of respectability, and were told what they could and couldn’t do, especially by their menfolk.

When Peggy is invited/ordered to spend the summer with the rest of the Batternberg family at the luxurious Oriental Hotel near Coney Island she’s not at all impressed. She’s
Nov 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Coney Island - America's playground. It's 1911 and American Heiress, Peggy Battenberg has been requested (told/your better come or else) to spend the summer at the Oriental Hotel with the rest of her family. She would rather continue working at the Moonrise bookstore, but appearances are everything and she (and her family) must keep up appearances.

There she meets and falls for Stefan, a pier side artist in Dreamland Amusement Park who her family would never approve of. With him she feels a
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Restrictions on women and the treatment of foreigners are spotlighted throughout the story. It focuses on the social structure and the formation of society on Coney Island during 1911 more so than the police procedural. The lush atmosphere was a character in itself and played a dominant role in the movement of the story.

"Everything is real on Coney Island - and nothing is real."

Peggy Battenberg is requested to stay with her family on Coney Island. She reluctantly accepts. Peggy feels trapped
Amalia Gavea
Jan 17, 2020 rated it did not like it
Emancipated heroine, full of pseudo-feminist contemporary remarks: Check
Said heroine is a reluctant part of the richest family in the USA: Check
Said heroine has a superficial sister: Check
Said heroine has a strict mother: Check
Said heroine was once engaged to her sister’s evil-looking fiance because obviously: Check
Said fiance has a strict mother n.2:Check
New York setting in the year of Our Lord 1911 because we definitely need to be fashionable and pretend we are writing a Great Gatsby for the
sarah xoxo
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019, arcs
“Everything is real on Coney Island- and nothing is real”

Peggy Battenberg is the black sheep daughter of one of the wealthiest and most affluent families in the early 20th century America. However, she is not your typical heiress. She is a ’New Woman’, working in a bookshop and trying her best to distance herself from her family. However, when she is told she must accompany them to New York, she cannot refuse to her chagrin. They stay in an opulent hotel next to the famous theme park ‘
Lilith Black
Dec 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 3.5

E-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and are not affected in any way.

• Night Circus vibes.
Even if this is a mystery book and Night Circus is a fantasy one, and they don't have anything in common, the first chapters, plus some other parts, reminded me of precisely that one book. After finishing reading Dreamland, I have read some other reviews to see if anyone had this feeling, and it turns out I
Nancy Bilyeau
Aug 19, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
In researching and writing this novel, I deeply immersed myself in a dazzling New York City of over a century ago and created characters that months later I can't seem to get out of my head. :) I hope my readers enjoy this novel of suspense. Here is my post for my author blog on how I got the idea for the book:
"If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June and September, is the world." (George C. Tilyou, 1886)

Nancy Bilyeau presents a rip roarin' stroll on the boardwalk on Coney Island in 1911. She adds lustre tinged with darkness as Brooklyn becomes a showcase for in-your-face class distinction, jutting prime real estate, upscale grand hotels overlooking the highjinks of people at play, the paralyzing fear of European anarchists, and America perched on the brink of war.

Peggy Batternberg views
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Have you been to America’s Playground? Coney Island? I’ve always wanted to visit. Dreamland has Coney Island as a backdrop, and it’s 1911.

Peggy Battenberg is a young heiress who has been invited to the Oriental Hotel not far from Coney Island. You’d think she’d want to go, right?

No. Peggy has been working at the Moonrise Bookstore, and she dislikes nothing more than rubbing elbows with fellow socialites.

Nevertheless, she heads off to the hotel, as is expected of her, and she quickly finds a
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully told and Moving.

Review to Follow

Glued to my screen!!! I was lured in with a girl working at a bookstore: Moonrise Bookstore (who could resist that name?). I followed the breadcrumbs willingly. . . .and even when the plot seemed to turn a corner, and I spoke the murderer’s name out loud so I would have the smug satisfaction of saying I’d called it before halfway through, there was no loosening my grip on that kindle. I stayed to the very, very end. Breathless and all.

This was a roller coaster read. The characters fit
I really enjoyed Nancy Bilyeau’s previous book, The Blue, with its combination of convincing period detail, engaging heroine and intriguing mystery. The author achieves the same feat inDreamland. The backdrop of an intense heatwave reflects the passionate undercurrents of the story and its more melodramatic moments.

The setting of Coney Island, brilliantly brought to life by the author, in many ways reflects the gulf between rich and poor. The rich and privileged of society, such as the
Martie Nees Record
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Historical Fiction Murder Thriller
Publisher: Endeavour Media
Pub. Date: January 16, 2020


I had some disappointment with this novel. I thought it would be a shoo-in for me since I was reading about my childhood backyard. The novel is set in 1911 in Coney Island, Brooklyn NY. Back then, the amusement park truly earned its nickname of “America’s Playground.” For more than 100 years Coney Island has been synonymous with summer. I am a summer person. I couldn’t wait to dive into the
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dreamland, is an absorbing historical mystery with some romance set in 1911, New York City. Peggy Batternberg, a young heiress, is anxious to escape the shackles of her restrictive family which is all consumed by appearance and status. She is allowed to work in a bohemian bookstore and live in Greenwich Village but her life is disrupted when she is commanded to spend the summer at the Oriental Hotel in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn, next to Coney Island, which was then home to three amusement parks ...more
Okay, yes, I have to be honest. I requested this ARC because it was love at first sight. This cover made my cursor stop in its track and after reading the synopsis, I clicked on the button 'Request'.

Wow. This was a fun ride full of suspense. And I loved it.
Frankly, I loved Peggy the most. She was such an interesting character—strong, independent with a fierce and loyal heart. I enjoyed reading about her rebellious nature—an heiress who rejects social norms in order to live her life to the
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I have just finished reading Dreamland By Nancy Bilyeau.

The story is a historical fiction/mystery that takes place in 1911 in Coney Island, with the main character being an American Heiress, Peggy Battenberg

This to me was both very interesting and enjoyable. the era and place make for a great read. The clothing, decor, and intrigue set up for a book that kept me interested from start to finish!

Thank you to NeGalley, Nancy Bilyeau, and Endeavour Media
Michele Koop
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love all of Nancy Bilyeau’s books, and yet, this is my favorite! She captures 1911 Coney Island and Dreamland so vividly that I could taste the hotdogs and the cotton candy and feel like I’m right in the middle of the action in this lively, crazy amusement park. When Peggy, the rebellious 20 year old protagonist from a wealthy Manhattan family reminiscent of the real life Guggenheims, is forced into spending the summer with her family in a luxurious hotel near Coney Island, she escapes to the ...more
Amy Bruno
Well, 2019 has come full circle! I kicked off the year by reading Nancy Bilyeau's novel, The Blue, and now I'm closing the year out with her newest novel, Dreamland! I could not think of a better book to be my last read of the year - it was fabulously entertaining!

Peggy is an heiress of the Batternberg family, a wealthy and powerful family along the likes of the Rockefellers. Despite the fact that she is the granddaughter of one of the richest men in America, she prefers her job as a shop girl
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an advance copy of this and I LOVED it! I couldn’t put it down. The setting is so vividly described, I actually mourned that I couldn’t go and visit Dreamland. The characters are some of the most fully realized I’ve read in a long time. If you enjoyed Downton Abbey and want something from that time, set in the US, but with a delicious murder mystery thrown in, you will love this book.
gwendalyn _books_
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you been to America’s Playground? Coney Island?

I’ve always wanted to visit.

Dreamland has Coney Island as a backdrop, and it’s 1911.

This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

Dreamland is a suspenseful historical fiction of obsession and desire.

This fascinating portrait of the end of the Gilded Age was a fabulous start to 2020. Set in New York 1911, the Battenberg family are one
ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
Susan Peterson
Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dreamland takes place in 1911 at Coney Island, a hot scorching summer. It was during a time when the world was struggling with women's rights, workers' rights, and bigotry towards immigrants. It was also a time of great disparity between the rich and the poor, and Coney Island itself was a place where the rich could live sheltered in the grand hotels, but not far from the amusements, the thrills, and the depravity offered by Coney Island's Dreamland. I was completely immersed in the time and the ...more
Nov 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected to like this book based on my enjoyment of all previous books of historical fiction written by this author. I did not enjoy the book, however. The heroine possessed a very awkward combination of independence and naivety and her actions were simply impossible to embrace.
It was 1911; the young woman struggling to be free of her family edicts in New York City makes many poor/risky choices. Does that heighten the drama as it did in Bilyeau's last book? Yes, but in this case it is too
Kris Waldherr
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
DREAMLAND marks a departure for Nancy Bilyeau from her previous bestselling historical thrillers. Instead of centering on England's Tudor and Georgian periods, DREAMLAND is set in America's tawdry playground of Coney Island during the height of the Gilded Age, and draws inspiration from the scandalous life of Peggy Guggenheim. DREAMLAND's plot also takes place over a more tightly compressed time period, which really ups the tension—it's a real pageturner. I frankly think this is Bilyeau's best ...more
Heather McQueary
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with the ARC. I was so happy to see I got approved for this! Loved this!
Abbie | ab_reads
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Thank you to @endeavour_media for sending me a copy of Dreamland to review! This historical mystery set in 1911 in Coney Island is one to read if you enjoy being whisked away to a different time period! Bilyeau excels at writing atmosphere and setting, and for much of this novel I really felt like I was wandering around Dreamland, one of Coney Island’s amusement parks, seeing the bright lights, hearing the pitches of the people working the booths, smelling popcorn, hotdogs and fried
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Reasons you probably should consider reading DREAMLAND:
1) romance, murder mystery, and historical fiction all mashed into one.

2) the SETTING zomg. 1910s Coney Island?! YES, please. I spent way too long googling photos of this time period after i finished the novel

3) the history. okay this is kind of a cheater because it combines 1 and 2, but honestly, it deserves another point: the historical side of this is awesome. it's a completely fictional story set on the groundwork of a really fascinating
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don’t mind me, I’m just sitting here brooding about how eternally bitter I am that I’ll never get to experience Dreamland’s Hell Gate ride.

This is a gorgeously rendered, atmospheric historical mystery that is rooted in exceptional setting and descriptives.

From the sometimes dreamy, sometimes menacing depictions of the amusement parks and Coney Island as a whole to the somber portrayals of the oppressive, suffocating world of the rich in the early 1900s, Bilyeau gives the reader a sensory
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this captivating mystery set in the early 20th century. Full review to follow for Blog Tour
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Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has worked as an editor at "Rolling Stone," "InStyle," and "Good Housekeeping."

Her new historical novel is "Dreamland," set in 1911 New York City and telling the story of a rebellious heiress who escapes from her over protective family to experience the delights of Coney IIsland--but there are dangers too. The novel has received starred reviews from
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