Retro-Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Posted March 7, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

Retro-Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsReviewer: Holly
Dream a Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 400
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five-stars

A Desperate Young Mother
Rachel Stone's bad luck has taken a turn for the worse. With an empty wallet, a car's that's spilling smoke, and a five-year-old son to support, she's come home to a town that hates her. But this determined young widow with a scandalous past has learned how to be a fighter. And she'll do anything to keep her child safe—even take on. . .
A man With No Heart
Gabe Bonner wants to be left alone, especially by the beautiful outcast who's invaded his property. She has a ton of attitude, a talent for trouble, and a child who brings back bad memories. Yet Rachel's feisty spirit might just be heaven-sent to save a tough, stubborn man.
Dare To Dream
Welcome to Salvation, North Carolina—where a man who's forgotten what tenderness means meets a woman with nothing to lose. here two endearing lovers will set off on a funny, touching journey of the heart. . .to a place where dreams just might come true.

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

I meant to have this written as part of our Susan Elizabeth Phillips Author Spotlight last month, but I didn’t get around to writing it. Dream a Little Dream is one of my favorite SEP novels. It’s hands down my favorite of the Chicago Stars/Bonner Brothers series.

Gabe Bonner lost his wife and son in a tragic car accident and for the past two years he’s been in a state of deep mourning. He’s been coasting through life, numb and emotionless, waiting for the day when it all will end. But Rachel Stone changes all that the day she shows up at his drive-in; dirty, hungry and desperate to save herself and her son Edward. He should be repulsed by her, but he isn’t. He’s drawn to her in a way he hates. She cracks the icy ball that’s surrounding his heart.

Rachel Stone has returned to the last place on Earth she ever wanted to see again, Salvation, North Carolina. 5 years ago she and her husband G. Dwayne Snopes were the hope and pride of Salvation, a televangelist couple to rival even the most sincere and promising of them. But all that ended the night G. Dwayne disappeared with the life savings of the people of Salvation, bringing shame and scandal to the once prosperous town. Now she’s back, determined to find the stash Dwayne left behind, desperate to save the future of her much beloved son.

At times this novel is hard to read, especially in the beginning when Rachel and Gabe meet. They’re both desperate and broken, though for different reasons and with different ways of dealing with their pain. One of the most emotional things I’ve ever read is when Rachel begs Gabe for a job. The first few chapters of this book are hard to get through, but they showcase perfectly just how far both characters have fallen.

Eventually Rachel and Gabe form a tight bond, though both are reluctant to acknowledge it. The town shuns Rachel, and her house and car are vandalized. Gabe takes on the role of protector, though even he can’t understand why. Despite their change in feelings for one another, they both know they have no future together. Especially since Gabe can’t stand Edward, Rachel’s son.

I loved the strength Rachel showed. It wasn’t easy for her to continue on each day, especially in the beginning, but she did what needed to be done. I would have to say she’s probably one of my favorite SEP heroines. She’s practical and tough, with a smart mouth and a strong will to survive. What’s not to love?

My heart ached for Gabe. I wanted to wrap him in cotton and protect him from the world. I loved that Rachel was the only one who saw him for what he was, and was willing to push him in the direction he needed to go.

Even though this is a darker novel, there are moments of unexpected tenderness and humor. I loved that even though the town hated Rachel, none of them took it out on her son. Everyone, from the townsfolk to the Bonner brothers, was kind to Edward. Well, except for Gabe.

The secondary romance between Ethan Bonner and Kristy Brown, his church secretary, was sweet. It provided relief from the darker tone of the rest of the novel.

Dream a Little Dream is heartwrenching and emotionally compelling. I couldn’t put it down, even when I could barely see the pages through my tears.

5 out of 5

five-stars

13 Comments
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13 responses to “Retro-Review: Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

  1. Anonymous

    This books sounds great, but since the heroine is the widow of a televangelist and the hero’s brother is a pastor, does religion factor heavily in the novel?

  2. Anon,

    No, despite what you would think, there isn’t much religion in the book at all. What there is deals more with Faith than actual religion and it was done in a way that didn’t make me feel preached at.

  3. Wonderful review Holly. I loved this one too. 🙂

    I liked that Rachel didn’t let her pride get in the way of hers and Edward’s needs. And you’re right about those first chapters – Gabe was so cold at first, hardly hero material. Loved watching him evolve.

  4. Luci

    This is an amazing book. It was my second or third SEP book and is my favourite of the lot. Plus I love the sex where they make love for the first time out in the rain.

    Ethan and Kristy are my favourite SEP secondary couple.

  5. Seneca

    I loooove this book!

    Anon, it does not weigh in at all.
    It`s just their jobs is all. Nothing is preached to us, there is no god, jesus, church, blahblahblah stuff.
    Trust me, I`d have thrown the book at the first sign of any of that.

  6. Anonymous

    I went to my favorite UBS today and there it was, so I bought it. The lady at the UBS agrees with all of you…she loves SEP’s books.

    Thanks for the recommendation!

  7. This was my first SEP book. Went on her web-site & read the first 7 chapters with tears in my eyes and an ache in my chest. Luckily found it at a UBS & just read it straight through. OMG. Amazing. Also read Kiss An Angel & now reading It Had To Be You. And didn’t you love Rachel’s son Edward?

  8. teenyann

    I attempted to read a SEP novel, ‘Natural Born Charmer’, and it was a DNF for me. I have read the excerpt for ‘Dream a Little Dream’ and it has the ‘feel’ of a good story. Opinions?

    Thank you.

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