From the blurb:
In Victorian London, during a prolonged and pernicious fog, fantasy and reality are about to collide—at least in one man’s troubled mind.
A childhood fever left Arthur Middleton, Viscount Campden, seeing and hearing things no one else does, afraid of the world outside, and unable to function as a true peer of the realm. To protect him from himself—and to protect others from him—he spends his days heavily medicated and locked in his rooms, and his nights in darkness and solitude, tormented by visions, until a stranger appears.
This apparition is different. Fox says he’s a thief and not an entirely good sort of man, yet he returns night after night to ease Arthur’s loneliness without asking for anything in return. Fox might be the key that sets Arthur free, or he might deliver the final blow to Arthur’s tenuous grasp on sanity. Either way, real or imaginary, Arthur needs him too much to care.
Fox is only one of the many secrets and specters haunting Campden House, and Arthur will have to face them all in order to live the life of his dreams.
Rowan McAllister penned a beautiful, atmospheric story in We Met in Dreams, one that will stick with me for a long time.
We Met in Dreams was actually my first book from this author, but it was so great that I'll be watching for anything from her in the future. This was gorgeous, honestly, and I didn't want to put it down.
I'm a huge historical romance fan, but I was a little anxious about this one from the blurb. It sounded... dark, which always makes me nervous. I'm not a suspense reader or a horror reader, and I didn't want this book to venture too far towards creepy. Rest assured, it doesn't.
I really loved this story. Some stories are just fluff pieces, and there is a time and place for that, but this one was a thinker. I was so interested in the treatment of someone with a perceived mental illness, and what the "cures" were considered to be at the time.
Arthur Middleton was a fascinating character. Whether or not his auditory and visual hallucinations were "real" is based on perception, but what was wonderful to me was the inside look we had into Authur's mind. His wanting to please his uncle and head servant and not bother anyone, combined with his desire for more of a life, more of a presence, was both heart-breaking and enthralling. I was rooting for each small victory, and I felt like I got to know Arthur so well. I just adored him. He was innocent yet cultured, and he was so appealing in his honesty and bravery. Adored.
The romance was a strong one, but we never get inside Fox's head, which left me feeling a little removed from him as a character. However, I really enjoyed Fox's backstory, and I understood his motivations and personality completely. In terms of heat, the steam was only moderate, but we get a total, never-been-kissed virgin, so I was a happy camper! I'm easy to please...
The ending was a little hurried, but the beautiful writing and the total sense of time and place more than made up for it. I would have liked to see how Fox and Arthur handled more of the details between them at the end of the story, but I'll just have to let my imagination take over.
I loved the forward for this book, and it is true that we don't often see books with MCs with mental illnesses. To all those who fight a daily battle that no one sees. Fight on. Just perfect. I loved seeing Arthur's fight, and Rowan McAllister can write MCs fighting on any day of the week and I'll read it.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Catch ya later!