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Instead, I plodded through in search of a woman who might eventually emerge as an interesting character. I never found her. It felt like Elizabeth Berg just didn't have any passion for Sand. There is no doubt that Aurore Dupin who wrote as George Sand was a conflicted woman seeking both independence and love. It was not necessary for Berg to be sympathetic to her principal character, she just needed to do a better job painting the picture of how George Sand really lived her life and what the environment was like.
It all came across to me as a cardboard sketch of a woman, not a vibrant and flawed human being. It was a slog getting through this book, but I persevered because I thought that when her relationship with Chopin took place the book would resonate like his music does. Netgalley provided me with a copy of this book and I am disappointed that I was not able to offer more positive comments.
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Oct 24, Alissa rated it did not like it. I don't blame her for wanting to try something different, but with this book, she forgot to show instead of tell. I couldn't even get through it. And it's such a shame because this is a good story; instead, Berg just tells you about the things that happen to this person, and even though it's a first-person narrative, it feels so dissociated that I can't help but think the author was dissociated while writing it.
Something of her own warmth and humor would have lent well to this story. This is a work of epic proportions depicting the life of celebrated writer, George Sands.
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In the s women writers weren't respected or accepted, so Aurore adopted the "Sand" moniker. The book danced back and forth between eras of Aurore's life. Sometimes this can make a book more interesting, but I found myself disoriented each time I took up the book to read again. Perhaps another reason for this was t This is a work of epic proportions depicting the life of celebrated writer, George Sands.
Perhaps another reason for this was the French names of the many friends and lovers in Aurore's inner circle. It was hard to keep track of it all. However, this was a rich recounting of an extraordinary woman's life. The driving force of the book was this woman's strength of character to be herself: Aurore crossed the boundaries of sexual conventions with her plethora of lovers.
She even had a deep abiding relationship with Frederic Chopin, the famous composer and pianist.
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One of the more riveting story threads in the book was her ardent and passionate relationship with entertainer Marie Duval; this was perhaps her most intense and true love relationship in the book. Another recurrent theme was Aurore's eternal quest for true love, for which she dabbled in the pool of many artists she encountered. This book leads you on a historical journey through the origins of Aurore's life.
Looming large in her life was her wealthy grandmother with her grand estate, Nohant. This was a cherished place of many memories, good and bad; a safe haven that Aurore came back to, oftentimes bringing her close friends and lovers to stay.
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The writing style was superb. As I read each word, in my mind I imagined reading it aloud, those hearing it receiving it as beautiful poetry. The words just flowed naturally and brilliantly. Despite its moments of brilliance, I felt the book was too long and arduous. It could have been edited down a bit more. It seemed as though the book would never end, and I stopped reading it periodically to read other books.
It was almost pages, but actually seemed longer. Apr 21, RoseMary Achey rated it did not like it. If you are looking for something to replace your Ambien, pick up this book. I can't say this book fell flat as that implies there was some height to fall from. It chronicles the life of French author George Sand and her many, many affairs and love interests.
George Sand Aurore Dupin was ahead of her time with respect to both her writing and lifestyle but this fictionalized account of her life was sooooo boring! Jun 21, Trish rated it it was ok Shelves: George Sand led an unusual life worthy of biography, or of a novel with her as centerpiece. Berg had excellent instincts when she centered in on Aurore Dupin, alias George Sand, the 19th century bestselling author living in France.
She met a much younger man and fell in lust. She moved with her lover to Paris where they collaborated on novels while she honed her writing skills as George Sand led an unusual life worthy of biography, or of a novel with her as centerpiece. She moved with her lover to Paris where they collaborated on novels while she honed her writing skills as a journalist.
She dressed as a man to be allowed to report without incident and found she liked the attire and the feeling of power she got by wearing pants. She fell for a beautiful and fickle actress, Marie Doval, then took a series of male lovers, some of them famous musicians and poets of the time, fitting in visits to her children occasionally.
Sand's many novels sold well, and judging from how many times she is told, in this novel at least, that she is a "genius," she may have come to believe that. In this novel I found her an unsympathetic character, though undoubtedly her selfishness sustained her art. As a girl reading the greats from earlier days, I never liked George Sand, but I admit to being curious about her life. Berg uses as back-and-forth flashback-by-chapter structure which felt jarring at first but became second nature by the middle of the narrative.
The distance between Sand's early life and her later life got shorter as the tale progressed, and truthfully I could not see what purpose the to-and-fro'ing served except perhaps Berg thought the latter half of Sand's life was the more interesting and she could force us, through flashbacks, to take our medicine and consider her earlier life. The truth is that neither section of her life had much "life. I should probably admit at this point that I was thinking George Eliot when I signed up to read this book. I am not rating this book.
I was unable to finish it. As much as I like Elizabeth Berg, I dislike authors using a foreign language throughout their novels. I was barely getting a feel for George Sands and who she was and the French names, accents and interpretations just got in the way.
Not sure that I would like reading the book any better than listening to the audio, so sadly ending this as a DNF. View all 5 comments. Feb 12, Sara rated it it was ok Shelves: I don't know if this was the most deadly boring book I've ever read or if George Sand herself is the problem. This book read like a never ending shopping list of George's various lovers all of whom share the same exact attributes; whiney, effeminate, rage filled, hypochondriacal artists who she takes care of before they break up in spectacular fashion and by spectacular I mean they write lots of letters about the true nature of love and cry.
Her various trysts are broken up by equally riveting d I don't know if this was the most deadly boring book I've ever read or if George Sand herself is the problem. Her various trysts are broken up by equally riveting descriptions of her estate and various apartments, the amazing dinners she has with her witty friends and how amazing everyone thinks her books are. The strange decision to structure the book with chapters devoted to the present day and then to childhood memories served only to cause utter confusion when the plot finally caught up with itself. There's no passion here, in what should arguably be the most passionate story on earth, no sense of the driving obsession George supposedly had to find true connection with another person.
All I see here is dry, derivative, boring words, words, words. And since it's all told in George's POV the reader is left feeling like she's not that interested in her life either! This book would simply not end. Even when she's dead she won't stop talking about her superior perspectives on music, love, art, literature and politics oh and did she mention all the famous people who thinks she amazing? For a person with such a high opinion of her own views of the world George comes across as the least self aware person on earth. Despite periodically abandoning her children throughout their lives to live her beloved bohemian life she's at a loss to understand why daughter she describes as heartless and horrible doesn't want her around as an adult.
Despite seeing first hand how wretchedly her lower class mother is treated by George's wealthy grandmother she doesn't get why mom seems so disappointed in her once she's rich and famous. Was that the point? Is the reader meant to realize that George is little more than a pretentious poseur content to exposit with her other high minded compatriots about how much more spiritually elevated they are then everyone else while remaining utterly out of touch with the actual people getting their hands dirty trying to change the world? No I think this was just really, really boring.
The two stars are because I admire a woman who thus far remains the only true life example of "ahead of her time" that I can actually get behind and because Elizabeth Berg does know how to construct a sentence just not a very exciting one. Apr 01, Cynthia rated it liked it Shelves: Aurore Dudevant aka Georges Sand seems to have lived many lives. Born to a prostitute turned respectable matron married to an affluent soldier Sand felt torn between the two backgrounds.
She was passionate yet down to earth. She liked fine things but was willing to forego them in order to claim her freedom. She lived a rich inner life but at times attempted to appear conventional. She wrote all her life and told stories to anyone who would listen. She also loved deeply and often both men and at least one woman. I was interested in all her love affairs but spent much of the book waiting to read about her relationship with Chopin and it was worth the wait.
She must have felt free and in charge of her own destiny. The dark side of her life was missing her kids and second guessing her choice to be away from them all the while feeling compelled to write through the night. An interesting and enjoyable book. Thank you to the publisher for providing an ARC. I wish this was as good as I hoped it would have been. I lost interest a little before half way through it.
I suggested this book to my book club, but I will be retracting that suggestion as I don't think this would be a good choice. Just not that good. Wanted to try author since Goodreads was recommending her work to me, but when I checked it out I found I had already tried and abandoned this I read through this book rather quickly - too emotional for me.
It went back and forth between time periods, but even that did not interest me. Jan 26, Mary Lins rated it really liked it Shelves: Elizabeth Berg has written a new novel that is unlike anything she has written before. Words that can and have been used to describe George Sand: Unconventional Iconoclastic Shocking Flamboyant Scandalous Eccentric Controversial Gender-bending Reading this no Elizabeth Berg has written a new novel that is unlike anything she has written before.
Unconventional Iconoclastic Shocking Flamboyant Scandalous Eccentric Controversial Gender-bending Reading this novel made me think of artists in our own time that are comparable to George Sand and her "salon" of friends, to name just a few: The first-person narrative helps gather the reader into the intimate thoughts and feelings of the artist as she struggles with notions of love, and what it is to be an artist and a wife and a mother.
A very sensual person, she explores the nature of desire verses the fulfillment of that desire.
Her "lifestyle" was almost hedonistic although she was a disciplined writer and also unusual to the times was George Sand's documented ideas of the equality of the sexes which was startling and heretical in her day. Despite "living in her head" for pages, I never felt admiration or sympathy for George Sand; you can't openly and deliberately flaunt society and convention and then blame society for reacting negatively. Still, Elizabeth Berg's excellent writing skills, and her thorough research, made this novel a very interesting and entertaining read.
I have read several books by Elizabeth Berg and enjoy her writing style. The author takes a chance here and veers off on a path of historical fiction, and is successful. This is an engaging novel of a gifted and trailblazing woman in history. Raised for the most part by her grandmother in the countryside, she married at 18, divorced in her twenties and then began a period of roma I have read several books by Elizabeth Berg and enjoy her writing style.
Raised for the most part by her grandmother in the countryside, she married at 18, divorced in her twenties and then began a period of romantic rebellion, having a number of affairs with prominent men in the Arts. Her reputation came into question when her unorthodox and scandalous lifestyle defied the rules of appropriate behavior of women of that time.
Her actions prompted a lot of well-deserved speculation. This is a book worth reading, one that captures the times and George Sand expertly. Apr 19, Anita Pomerantz rated it it was ok. How this book could be as boring as it was is beyond me. The protagonist is an interesting person - - author and poet, George Sand, a woman who was distinctly ahead of her time.
Sand's life was very, very interesting - - involving affairs and break ups with a number of famous artists Chopin being the most notable , dressing as a man, being deeply in love with a female actress, and a turbulent relationship with her daughter. So Berg gets five stars for her choice of subject matter. Too bad she the How this book could be as boring as it was is beyond me. Too bad she then rendered this tale in absolutely the most boring way possible.
The narration does everything in its power to hold the reader at arm's length. Heaven forbid, Berg should try to bring a scene to life. She does no such thing. To make an already terrible narrative worse, the author flips back and forth in time for absolutely no reason. This is someone's life story. Nothing is served by going between her childhood and her adulthood chapter by chapter other than to break up the dullness of the childhood tale. Literally, this book is almost all about Sand's love affairs.
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Which are oddly repetitive. A lot of her lovers are sickly artists. None of them ever come to life under Berg's pen. Honestly, Sand just comes across as fairly selfish and slutty as opposed to a cutting edge feminist paving the way for women to live lives that are true to themselves. I really toyed with giving this book a single star, but I've read worse things. It's not completely garbage - - I at least learned something about George Sand. The irony is at the end, the author writes a two page afterward that is more interesting than the entire book.
She has a pleasant, natural writing style that if only she had applied it the the first pages, I might have liked this book a whole lot better. Mar 07, Barbara rated it liked it. Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this. I have read a few Elizabeth Berg books, but this is a departure from her norm.
I enjoyed this book and learned quite a bit of French history too. I didn't know much about George Sand before I read this other than she dressed as a man and was one of the most famous French writers. George Sand was an unconventional person, maybe a bit eccentric and unorthodox, but she lived life passionately. I was surprised that her ideas about the Thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review this. I was surprised that her ideas about the equality of the sexes was way ahead of it's time. She surrounded herself with a circle of creative friends and lived life fully.
Sand seems to be forever seeking something, her life seems unfulfilled at times and sometimes sad or tragic. Arabella, Franz Liszt's mistress says it best in the book, "Poor George, such a fire in your soul and nothing for it to lay hold upon". I enjoyed her friend Marie Dorval's personality, though she was certainly a very complicated, and possibly cruel friend. There is a section in the chapter about Paris that gave such funny and enlightening descriptions of men. It's amazing to see not much has changed since then.
Did I find parts of the book slow moving, yes. I feel it is well done historical fiction. I'm assuming an enormous amount of research was done to turn out this book. Elizabeth Berg is brilliant. Nov 03, Jenny Q rated it liked it Shelves: Giveaway Let Them Read Books! I was eagerly anticipating this novel of groundbreaking French author George Sand's life. I confess I did not know much about her beforehand, other than that she was a famous writer and that she had a relationship with Frederic Chopin, one of my favorite composers.
I've been on a roll lately with good fiction about women in history, and so I couldn't wait to dig in. The story begins as an older and ailing George reflects on her life, and then takes us back to altern Giveaway Let Them Read Books! The story begins as an older and ailing George reflects on her life, and then takes us back to alternating scenes from her childhood and the years when she strikes out for Paris on her own after leaving her husband.
Aurore, as she was known in the beginning, is a sympathetic woman, one who survived a "poor little rich girl" upbringing and an unhappy marriage to find the courage to seize opportunity and make her own dreams come true. She is fortunate in that she finds success very early on, and this paves the way for her to command her own destiny and live her life on her own terms, which included dressing as a man for the freedom and simplicity of the clothing, smoking cigars, sitting at the "men's table" with various stars of the literary and art scene in Paris, running her beloved country estate, dictating how her children were to be raised and educated, and seeking affection from a multitude of lovers.
Elizabeth Berg is a new author for me, and I am wary of reading "literary" novels as I often find them dry and lacking in emotional connection. I suppose I'm one of those unsophisticated readers George and her writer friends lamented upon. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover this novel so very readable. I was immediately drawn into the story, and I thought this was sure to be at least a four-star read. But about halfway through, that happy feeling began to fade.
There's only so much I can take of a protagonist repeating the same mistakes and never learning from them. Perhaps it would not have been so off-putting if there had been some differentiation, but they all follow the same pattern: She meets someone new, flies high, falls hard, turns into more of a mother than a lover, puts up with mistreatment when things go sour, becomes depressed when the affair ends, contemplates suicide, pulls herself back up into the world of the living, and then does it all over again when someone new comes along.
I confess I grew tired of this behavior and started skimming. The back and forth in time presentation of her life story worked very well for me until the distance separating the two timelines narrowed. At that point, the past and present mirrored each other so much that I sometimes forgot which timeline I was in, and I began confusing her lovers. And I also found the presentation of them to be uneven. She spends so many years seeking a perfect love, wasting years and tears on men unworthy of her, and some of her lovers and affairs are detailed over the course of many pages, yet when she finally meets the man who would give her what she'd always longed for--and for fifteen years, at that--he gets ONE paragraph.
I wanted to see her happiness after so many years of misery. I wanted to see her enjoying what she had so long sought. And I found that frustrating after so much of her life--and this book--was devoted to her pursuit of that love. The main focus of this examination of her life seems to be her love affairs.
She is depicted as a woman desperate for true love, and with enough freedom to pursue it. At first I found her lifestyle to be romantic and free-spirited, but as the story neared its conclusion, I found myself wishing other aspects of her life had been given more weight. I would have liked more emphasis on her writing and her political beliefs. George was a supporter of the revolution, and she even started her own periodical during the time to publish like-minded pieces, but we don't actually get much of an idea of what her beliefs were.
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And though she published eighty novels over the course of her life, we only see her working on half a dozen of them in this portrayal. So while I would say that, in the end, I found The Dream Lover to be a rather uneven tale of George Sand's life, and a bit less satisfying than I'd hoped, there is still much to recommend it. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, watching Aurore grow up to become George, finding success as an author and shaping her own future. George was friends with all of the renowned writers and artists of the time period, and reading about their little circle was fascinating.
I also very much appreciated the snippets of George's writing interspersed throughout. She was a smart, enlightened, talented woman with a deep capacity for compassion and generosity. In many ways, she was a woman ahead of her time, and one well worth reading about. Apr 22, Diane rated it it was amazing. Author Elizabeth Berg became interested in the life of 19th century writer George Sand.
She told her friend Nancy Horan, who has written historical novels such as Leaving Frank and Under a Starry Sky, based on real people, that she should write a book about George Sand. Horan said "Write it yourself! The Dream Lover tells the story of George Sand, born Aurore Dupin to a wealthy soldier from a respected French family and his wife, a former courtesan who followed the military during b Author Elizabeth Berg became interested in the life of 19th century writer George Sand.
The Dream Lover tells the story of George Sand, born Aurore Dupin to a wealthy soldier from a respected French family and his wife, a former courtesan who followed the military during battle and left a general to marry Aurore's family. Aurore narrates her own story, from her upbringing with her strict, controlling, wealthy grandmother through her marriage to a man who was a poor steward of her inheritance to her success as a novelist and her many love affairs along the way.
I knew little about Sand, other than she was a French novelist who dressed in man's clothes. Sand began wearing men's clothes when she was a theatre critic, and she could buy tickets to the cheaper seats if she were a man. She liked wearing stylish men's clothes so much, she continued it most of her life. Aurore's great love of her life was Marie Dorval, a famous actress who loved life freely. Marie captivated Aurore, and Aurore fell madly in love with her. They remained friends most of their lives, until a falling out left Aurore bereft. Aurore's marriage constrained her, though it did give her two children- a daughter, with whom she had a strained relationship throughout their lives like many mothers and daughters , and a son, with whom she had a better relationship.
I found the sections on her feelings about motherhood fascinating, and it gave you a real feel for how Sand balanced her work with her family life. She had an agreement with her husband that she would spend three months at a time in Paris, where she would write, and then three months at home at her grandmother's estate that she now owned. Her months in Paris gave her a freedom she relished. She cultivated a group of intellectual and artistic friends, including Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix and Frederic Chopin, with whom she had a long term affair.
Sand had many affairs, although some were with men who left her unfulfilled and unhappy. Reading how an intelligent, inquisitive, artistic woman like Sand had to deal with a society where women were discouraged from such behavior was fascinating. Sometimes when a story is told in different time shifts, as Berg does here with three basic alternating timelines, it can be confusing, but Berg weaves the timelines together seamlessly.
Switching back and forth gave the book a coherence. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I enjoyed The Dream Lover a great deal. I felt dropped into Sand's story, like I was right there in France with her and she shared her story with me. Telling the story in her voice worked brilliantly here. George Sand is an amazing woman, and after reading The Dream Lover, I am heading out to find some of her novels. Fans of historical fiction should put The Dream Lover at the top of their must-read list. The winner of the New England Booksellers Award for her body of work, Elizabeth Berg is also the author of a nonfiction work, Escaping into the Open: The Art of Writing True.
Because I want, yeah, yeah, yeah A girl, yeah, yeah, yeah To call, yeah, yeah, yeah My own, yeah, yeah, yeah I want a dream lover So I don't have to dream alone. Dream lover where are you? With a love, oh, so true And a hand that I can hold To feel you near as I grow old.
Someday, I don't know how I hope she'll hear my plea Someway, I don't know how She'll bring her love to me. Dream lover until then I'll go to sleep and dream again That's the only thing to do 'Til all my lover's dreams come true. Please don't make me dream alone I beg you don't make me dream alone No, I don't wanna dream alone. Dream Lover Bobby Darin.