Beautiful Dreamer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 314 p.
Publication Year: 2010
ASIN: 0984067647
ISBN: 9780984067640
Chicago in 1900 is bursting with opportunity, and Kitty Coakley is determined to make the most of it. The youngest of seven children born to Irish immigrants, she has little interest in becoming simply a housewife. Inspired by her entrepreneurial Aunt Mabel, who runs a millinery boutique at Marshall Field’s, Kitty aspires to become an independent, modern woman. After her music teacher dashes her hopes of becoming a professional singer, she refuses to give up her dreams of a career. But when she is courted by not one, but two young men, her resolve is tested. Irish-Catholic Brian is familiar and has the approval of her traditional, working-class family. But wealthy, Protestant Henry, who is a young architect in Daniel Burnham’s office, provides an entrée for Kitty into another, more exciting world. Will she sacrifice her ambitions and choose a life with one of these men?
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Beautiful Dreamer was a semi-finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and received the following review from Publishers Weekly:

“A delightful coming-of-age story about a young Irish woman finding her way in Chicago in 1900. . . . Wonderfully descriptive settings firmly place the book in turn-of-the-century Chicago and New Orleans, where Kitty must choose between a comfortable, pre-approved path, or what her heart really desires.”

More praise for Beautiful Dreamer

A “wistful novel [that] provides an engaging history of a city . . . The book soars as a sparkling case study on the embrace of the country’s alluring possibilities by immigrants’ American-born children.” — Celtic Connections (Denver, CO)

“In her debut Beautiful Dreamer, Joan Naper has written a loving tribute to her hometown of Chicago, a major American city that takes pride in its illustrious history . . . [She] renders turn-of-the-century Chicago in bountiful and exciting detail. From the shabby-but-respectable “Cabbage Patch” around West Adams Street where the Coakleys live to the slums around Hull House, and from the busy streetcars crossing the downtown to upscale receptions at the Palmer Mansion on Lake Shore Drive, the city comes alive with activity and local color . . . [The] atmosphere certainly feels authentic, and readers should feel like they’ve gotten a quality tour of the city’s neighborhoods during all four seasons. Anyone who’s experienced the wind off Lake Michigan in January will nod their heads (and shiver) at the author’s descriptions . . . In addition to capturing the physical milieu, the author depicts with care and subtlety the social barriers and cultural divisions affecting Chicagoans in that day and age . . . Combined with an entertaining walk through historic Chicago, Kitty’s coming-of-age journey is ultimately worth following.” —Reading the Past blog

“Joan Naper has written a charming and engrossing coming-of-age story. The heroine is well-grounded in who she is, but knows she can be more. She wants a life of self-determination, but is conflicted by family loyalty, religion, and fears the price she will have to pay for this freedom. Ms. Naper develops her heroine and the plot with intelligence and sensitivity.” —Historical Novels Review


Trade Paperback ♦ ISBN 978-0-9840676-4-0 ♦ $14.99

Ebook ♦ ISBN 978-0-9840676-7-1 ♦ $4.99

FICTION / Historical ♦ 6″ x 9″ ♦ 314 pages

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