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Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis
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Lincoln's Dreams (original 1987; edition 1992)

by Connie Willis

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1,233299,807 (3.61)80
Member:laurathequeen
Title:Lincoln's Dreams
Authors:Connie Willis
Info:Spectra (1992), Edition: Reissue, Mass Market Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Own, 2010

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Lincoln's Dreams by Connie Willis (1987)

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English (27)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
A long-time research assistant for a man who writes Civil War fiction becomes entangled with a young woman who is apparently having Robert E. Lee's dreams (despite the title). Jeff thinks he can help her because he knows a LOT about the events, and, being in Virginia, they are surrounded by the battlefields. As the dreams get worse and Annie starts to have physical symptoms, Jeff races against time to find the reason for the dreams before they do her permanent damage.

I devoured this story, although there were one or two things I questioned. Most unconvincing was that Jeff seemed to do most of his research in small public libraries, often dragging along his own sources to use. There's no way he wouldn't have known about the major libraries in the area, including collections at the battlefield national parks. (The book was written in the 1980s, so the Internet isn't mentioned.) When Jeff meets Annie she's living with and under the care of an old college roommate of his who is theoretically treating her for the dreams. The man is completely unprofessional, and I really couldn't get a grip on why he did the things he did. Also, there are numerous excerpts from the novel Jeff's employer is writing, and I didn't get that at all. As far as I could tell, before I starting skipping them, they add nothing to the story.

Still, the book certainly kept my interest, and while the ending is not what I expected or hoped for, it made a lot of sense within the storyline. ( )
  auntmarge64 | Mar 7, 2019 |
It's 100% Connie Willis' standard plot, and maybe it's that I've read too many of those so far, or maybe it's that I don't care about the Civil War so much, but this one worked only so-so for me. Still, she's always an entertaining and gripping writer. ( )
  mrgan | Oct 30, 2017 |
I didn't realize this was Connie Willis' first novel until I read the afterward! It is immediately clear that a lot of research went into this novel. The mystery of the dreams bleeding through and trying to decide what they meant was very interesting, interwoven as it was with the events of Robert E. Lee's life during the Civil War and after. That's right, Robert E. Lee. To me the Lincoln's Dream part was a little misleading, as it was really a lesser part of the story and to me felt like it was included because it would seem more sensational as a draw? The blurb also exaggerates the relationship of our two main characters, which is the weakest part of the story, but I suppose the mechanism needed to draw us through the dreams.


At any rate, while there are some definite flaws or lack of development in the characters themselves, the basic premise of the story, and the setting of the Civil War were the main draws for me, and did not disappoint. This is the second novel I have read by Willis (whom I didn't quite get to meet at Worldcon, but I did see her speak in the Grand Master's panel, yay!), the first being Doomsday Book, which was really good, but very affecting. Lincoln's Dreams also is very affecting and its emphasis the horrors of the Civil War, along with the allure of dreams and their meanings, made it a solid and satisfying read for me. I look forward to more of Willis' work, and expect just as much depth. ( )
  shaunesay | Jun 21, 2017 |
3.5, I'd say. History is good, title less so. Well written, but felt a bit insubstantial. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 9, 2017 |
Jeff, a researcher for a Civil War novelist, meets Annie, a woman who seems to be having Robert E. Lee's dreams. It's an interesting premise but I'm not sure how I feel about the book as a whole. It feels like it's building to a climax, but then kind of peters out. All the same, I did enjoy the majority of it, and it was refreshing to read a book that takes place in my neck of the woods (DC and Virginia) that isn't about politics. Probably not the best introduction to Connie Willis, but if you're already a fan you might like this one. ( )
  melydia | Jun 7, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Connie Willisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Batcheller, KeithCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marín Trechera, RafaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mazzella, NicolaDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Podevin, Jean-FrançoisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
It may be that life is not man's most precious possession, after all. Certainly men can be induced to give it away very freely at times, and the terms hardly seem to make sense unless there is something about the whole business that we don't understand. Lives are spent for very insignificant things which benefit the dead not at all - a few rods of ground in a cornfield for instance, or temporary ownership of a little hill or a piece of windy pasture; and now and then they are simply wasted outright, with nobody gaining anything at all.

Bruce Catton
Mr Lincoln's Army
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To Courtney and Cordelia
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Traveller died of lockjaw two years after Robert E. Lee died.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553270257, Mass Market Paperback)

"A novel of classical proportions and virtues...humane and moving."–The Washington Post Book World

"A love story on more than one level, and Ms. Willis does justice to them all. It was only toward the end of the book that I realized how much tension had been generated, how engrossed I was in the characters, how much I cared about their fates."–The New York Times Book Review

For Jeff Johnston, a young historical reseacher for a Civil War novelist, reality is redefined on a bitter cold night near the close of a lingering winter. He meets Annie, an intense and lovely young woman suffering from vivid, intense nightmares. Haunted by the dreamer and her unrelenting dreams, Jeff leads Annie on an emotional odyssey through the heartland of the Civil War in search of a cure. On long-silenced battlefields their relationship blossoms–two obsessed lovers linked by unbreakable chains of history, torn by a duty that could destroy them both. Suspenseful, moving, and highly compelling, Lincoln’s Dreams is a novel of rare imaginative power.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:00 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jeff Johnston, a young historical researcher, leads Annie through the old battlefields of the Civil War, hoping to help her find a cure for her haunting nightmares.

(summary from another edition)

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