Escaping Dreamland by Charlie Lovett
Robert Parrish’s childhood obsession with series books like the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift inspired him to become an author. Just as his debut novel becomes a bestseller, his relationship with his girlfriend, Rebecca, begins to fall apart. Robert realizes he must confront his secret demons by fulfilling a youthful promise to solve a mystery surrounding his favorite series—the Tremendous Trio.
Guided by twelve tattered books and an unidentified but tantalizing fragment of a story, Robert journeys into the history of the books that changed his life, hoping they can help him once again. His odyssey takes him to 1906 Manhattan, a time of steamboats, boot blacks, and Fifth Avenue mansions, but every discovery he makes only leads to more questions.
Robert’s quest intertwines with the stories of three young people trying to define their places in the world at the dawn of a new and exciting century. Magda, Gene, and Tom not only write the children’s books that Robert will one day love, together they explore the vibrant city on their doorstep, from the Polo Grounds to Coney Island’s Dreamland, drawing the reader into the Gilded Age as their own friendships deepen.
The connections between the authors, their creations, and Robert’s redemptive journey make for a beautifully crafted novel that is an ode to the children’s series books of our past, to New York City, and above all, to the power of love and friendship.
“The Gilded Age of New York pulses with life as Charlie Lovett cleverly weaves together historical figures and events with the compelling, emotionally layered stories of a trio of young aspiring writers juxtaposed against a struggling, modern-day Manhattan novelist. Lovett navigates skillfully between centuries while exploring interwoven themes of regret, unrequited love, loyalty, and ambition. Not since E. L. Doctorow’s Ragtime has this era in New York been so beautifully captured.” —Liza Nash Taylor, author of Etiquette for Runaways
“Nostalgic, wistful, warm, and wise, Charlie Lovett’s latest is a tribute to readers everywhere, and the writers who pen the stories that shape us. Lovett skillfully weaves together fact and fiction to deliver an immensely satisfying and thoroughly absorbing tale that explores the power of stories to irrevocably shape their readers.” —Anne Bogel, creator of Modern Mrs. Darcy and author of I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life
“As a devout childhood reader of adventure series, I can assure you that Charlie Lovett has captured their spirit in this tremendously enjoyable read for adults. Escaping Dreamland combines the whimsy of Lewis Carroll and the daredevil of the Hardy Boys in a story that takes readers through the looking glass of how we see beloved characters, their narratives, and, most importantly, ourselves in reflection.” —Sarah McCoy, New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author of Marilla of Green Gables
“Escaping Dreamland captures the dizzy thrill of falling in love with reading for the first time. It is a testament to the way the stories of our childhood haunt our imagination for years to come, shaping and sustaining us. A loving tribute to the enduring power of books.” —Wil Medearis, author of Restoration Heights
“Escaping Dreamland is an absolute delight. Charlie Lovett takes readers on a lively literary adventure that spans a century, cleverly weaving historical moments into mystery about a forgotten children’s book series. A celebration of both literature and New York City, the novel serves as a poignant reminder of how stories shape us and how, ultimately, they can save us.” —Amy Meyerson, internationally bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays
Charlie Lovett is the New York Times bestselling author of four previous novels, including The Bookman’s Tale and Escaping Dreamland. His academic writings include Lewis Carroll: Formed by Faith and for children he has written The Book of the Seven Spells and twenty plays that have been seen in over five thousand productions worldwide. A former antiquarian bookseller and avid book collector, he and his wife, Janice, live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and (when the pandemic allows) in the village of Kingham in England.