Book Review: The Dream Daughter

The Dream Daughter

by Diane Chamberlain


Time travel stories really have to be done right to pull it off and make the story believable. In The Dream Daughter, author Diane Chamberlain does just that.

The story begins in 1970 where we find Carly Sears pregnant with a sick baby. The doctors are unable to do anything to help the baby, who has a heart defect. Carly is alone, having lost her husband in the Vietnam War. She lives with her sister and her husband, Hunter. Fortunately for Carly and the baby, Hunter is a time traveler. He sends Carly to the year 2001, where she can have fetal surgery to repair the baby’s heart and save her life. However, the baby’s health is not good and Carly is forced to return to 1970 without her, in what she hopes is a temporary arrangement. When she tries to return to 2001 though, something goes terribly wrong.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The concept of time travel is one of those well-worn plot elements, but this author did it right. The story melded together very well and the plot was not too unbelievable. Carly’s experiences in a new decade were totally convincing. The time travel method is not overly complicated for a reader to understand either. The reasons for everything Carly does are solid too.

My one objection is that Hunter made such a glaring mistake. Anyone who lived in the era of 9/11 would remember it. It would be seared in their memory. So, I was upset when Hunter ‘forgot’ and accidentally sent Carly back on the morning of 9/11/2001. He should have known that any such large disturbance would affect the calculations. If even a wind could make a difference, then those events certainly would. I understand that it was integral to the plot that something throw off the calculations, but at the time when I read it, I was angry with Hunter for failing to take that into consideration. Good writing does that. It draws the reader into the story and they react to the characters as if they were real people. So, it did work the way it was supposed to. After all, if he’d been correct, then the rest of the events would never have happened and it would not have been as good a story. As a reader, you could predict what was coming though, if you counted the months between Carly’s arrival and her due date.

As it was, the story was quite good, with a big conflict around the decisions Carly has to make once she finds Joanna. It was emotionally painful to see that she lost her baby, but she did regain the relationship eventually. The hard part was knowing how many years would separate mother and child.

This book is one of my top 5 of the year so far. I enjoyed it that much. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good time travel tale.


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