My Dream Lover
by David Navarria
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print Length: 200 pages
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
A heartrending tale of one exceptional man and his journey to finding true love, no matter the stakes
Robert Bryant and his family move from bustling NYC to a town in Ohio in 1953. The Bryant family is picturesque in an all-American kind of way, centering humility and kindness despite their wealth. Robert, the oldest son, encompasses those morals while being exceptionally intelligent and athletic.
He’s caught the eye of a few local girls, especially Coralie, who happens to be the younger sister of his best friend Roger,. Before Coralie is able to express her feelings, Robert graduates and continues his education at Harvard, his father’s alma mater, but he’s harboring an immense secret: Robert’s erudition is far above what’s considered a genius.
Due to the pressure of his academic gifts, he’s unable to explore a real, loving relationship and prefers to decompress with casual dating. However, on one fateful day, he’s struck by an unlikely source.
My Dream Lover is packed with twists and turns. While the story initially follows Robert’s early life in Ohio, it quickly ramps up with excitement and intensity. Robert’s life as a genius is fascinating, especially when he begins applying himself more academically. But rather than remain stagnant, the story delves more into the complexities in Robert’s life, especially the ethics that come with limitless knowledge.
I really enjoyed reading the scenes where Robert is especially sympathetic and accessible. One moment like this is when Robert and his younger sister enjoy winter festivities in New York. Robert’s intelligence and abilities take a back burner for his role as an older brother and it feels very cozy. I also really like how the book approaches the concept of a life-altering moment occurring in an instant, completely out of your control.
While it’s initially established that Robert is a genius, we often get very similar descriptions and reiterations that Robert is, in fact, that intelligent. I’m happy with confident characters, but it would have been nice to see him using his skills more than just hearing about it. I also hoped for more agency out of the female characters. They are often tethered to their looks and sensuality rather than offering much toward the plot.
Still, I would recommend this one to historical fiction fans and those looking to contend with grief and loss. The book is like a bullet-train ride with many stops in unexpected places. You may just be holding onto your armrest, eager for what’s next.
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