Pros: Emotional and heart-wrenching
Cons: Too many stereotypes; cartoonish villain; took a while before I could buy into the basic premise
Rating: 2 out of 5
Elizabeth Graye has been trapped in a coma ever since she was brutally mugged. She’s cut off from those around her, but a single thing manages to penetrate her inner world: the country music her nurse plays for her. She moves from lucid dream to lucid dream, always just a step ahead of death, rescued over and over by the same musician.
Rick Denning is a country singer and part-time construction worker, and he believes that Elizabeth is just a strange product of his dreams. But eventually he’s forced to realize that she’s every bit as real as he is, and then he’s off on a mission to wake his sleeping beauty and save her from her sort-of fiance, who cares about nothing but his own ambitions.
I wanted to like Ingrid Weaver’s Dream Shadows more than I ultimately did. When it was good—when it truly dipped into the meat of the romance between Rick and Elizabeth—it was sweet, sappy, and enjoyable. The rest of it, however, didn’t grab hold of me.
Elizabeth is the stereotypical overbearing female corporate shark, duly made into a softy behind the scenes so we’ll actually like her. Rick is the obligatory rugged, chivalric country singer with a critically wounded heart. The lucid dreams start off entirely too unbelievably lucid and logical, which made it tough to buy into the idea that they were dreams at all for a while. The villain is so cartoonishly evil that he might as well twirl a mustache and cackle. The side characters are almost all entirely one-sided as well.
We’re ultimately led to believe that Elizabeth can’t be both a strong corporate woman and a loving mate, which grated on me. And while there were indeed plenty of difficulties facing Rick and Elizabeth once she woke up (inevitable given that they come from different worlds), they were primarily the expected, immediate, and obvious ones (such as his being accused of wanting her for her money). They didn’t delve into the kind of real problems I’d expect to see as they try to adjust to each other’s worlds, attitudes, daily lives, and expectations. Thus, it felt like the “real” problems got swept under the rug at the end in order to wrap up the evil fiance plot.
If stereotypes don’t bother you, this could be a fun read. But it didn’t wow me.