When She Dreams by Amanda Quick was a suspenseful and fun installment in the Buring Cove historical mystery series. I adored the interaction between lucid dreamer, Maggie Lodge and Sam Sage, the private investigator she hires to look into a blackmailing. You’ll want to grab a cup of tea and snuggle up with their story.
by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #6
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Return to 1930s Burning Cove, California, the glamorous seaside playground for Hollywood stars, mobsters, spies, and a host of others who find more than they bargain for in this mysterious town.
Maggie Lodge, assistant to the reclusive advice columnist known only as Dear Aunt Cornelia to her readers, hires down-but-not-quite-out private eye Sam Sage to help track down the person who is blackmailing her employer. Maggie and Sam are a mismatched pair. As far as Sam is concerned, Maggie is reckless and in over her head. She is not what he had in mind for a client but he can't afford to be choosy. Maggie, on the other hand, is convinced that Sam is badly in need of guidance and good advice. She does not hesitate to give him both.
In spite of the verbal fireworks between them, they are fiercely attracted to each other, but each is convinced it would be a mistake to let passion take over. They are, after all, keeping secrets from each other. Sam is haunted by his past, which includes a marriage shattered by betrayal and violence. Maggie is troubled by intense and vivid dreams--dreams that she can sometimes control. There are those who want to run experiments on her and use her for their own purposes, while others think she should be committed to an asylum.
When the pair discovers someone is impersonating Aunt Cornelia at a conference on psychic dreaming and a woman dies at the conference, the door is opened to a dangerous web of blackmail and murder. Secrets from the past are revealed, leaving Maggie and Sam in the path of a ruthless killer who will stop at nothing to exact vengeance.
Each book in the Burning Cove series brings us a new couple, with updates and some interaction with previous couples. It can work as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading them in the order of their release.
From the start I liked Maggie Lodge, who suffers from lucid dreams. We first go through an experience with her as she seeks help from Dr. Emerson Oxlade. The doctor is obsessed with her and we learn of her past and fears, all of which form her personality.
Maggie is looking for a private investigator regarding a blackmailing issue involving her employer, the famous advice columnist known only as Dear Aunt Cornelia to her readers. She interviews Sam Sage after rejecting other investigators she found in the phone book. Aside from his coat rack, she likes Sam and hires him.
Sam is straight out of a 1930s PI novel and I liked him from the start. If you’ve read The Maltese Falcon, Sam is compared to Sam Spade, and I found that description apt. He’s a former cop who arrested a powerful criminal with deep pockets and close friends in the department. We learn about his past relationships and I felt for the guy.
Sam is a little taken aback by Maggie, especially when she insists upon traveling to Burning Cove with him. It seems the blackmailer wants Aunt Cornelia to make the payoff at a Lucid Dream Conference. She invents a story about his attendance as her guest. Despite all that has happened to her, Maggie is a hoot.
The conference was interesting from imposters to murder. The whole exploration of lucid dreams added to the atmospheric tale. Dr. Emerson Oxlade is an obsessed researcher and his interest regarding Maggie gave me the shivers. The Guilfoyles ran the conference and are looking for investors. These two were creepy, especially the husband.. Are they legit or scammers?
Quick weaved a story that pulled all the players into the mix and had me guessing from a list of potential suspects. While I admit to piecing things together, it was entertaining watching Sam and Maggie connect the threads. Quick surprised me at the end.
I liked the chemistry between Sam and Maggie and laughed from the moment their trip began. From their banter to investigative partnering, their dynamics felt genuine. The romance was a slow burn as trust was built until it smoldered and burst into flames.
Set in the 1930s, the story highlights the power men have over women and how often they were labeled hysterical or sent to an asylum. I really felt for Maggie, as her fears were valid ones. Quick does a great job of weaving period issues into the tale.
We see previous characters and spend some time in familiar landmarks while skirting danger, and I loved the updates and developments. It was a treat, and I loved their involvement.
Fans of historical mysteries, the 1930s and paranormal woo-woo will enjoy When She Dreams and the Buring Cove series. If you haven’t tried this author and her Arcane Society novels, I highly recommend them.
Read an Excerpt
It struck him that being here with Maggie was different. Sam was comfortable standing in the alcove with her for a couple of reasons. The first was that she wasn’t asking him to become something he wasn’t. She had been concerned about the evening jacket only because she thought it constituted the camouflage he needed to go undercover for the investigation.
So, yes, she was enthusiastic when it came to telling him how to do his job, but he had no problem with that. He already knew how to do his job. He found it entertaining to have her instruct him in the art of investigation. Okay, it was also irritating. Why did it amuse him? One of the mysteries of the universe, probably. Make that one of the mysteries of Maggie Lodge.
As for the second reason why he was happy to stand here with her—well, he wasn’t sure what it was yet, but there was another reason, of that he was positive.
Her own camouflage this evening was entirely satisfactory, as far as he was concerned. She wore an emerald green number with short, fluttery sleeves. The dress was demure in front, cut low in back, and clung to her feline curves. The silky fabric flowed over her hips and stopped just short of her very nice ankles and green evening sandals.
Her hair was parted in the center and clipped back behind her ears with a couple of combs. It fell in soft waves to her shoulders. Her jewelry was limited to a pair of simple gold earrings and a tiny evening bag studded with gold sequins. Classy. He would have been content to stand in the alcove with her all evening, sipping champagne and studying the crowd.
Studying the crowd.
That was it—the second reason why he liked being here with Maggie. She was an outsider—an observer—like him. He wasn’t sure how he knew that, but he trusted his intuition. Maybe, deep down, they actually had a few things in common. But probably not.
“Guilfoyle may be a fake psychic selling dreams, but judging by the size of this crowd, it’s obvious he’s got a real talent for promotion,” he said.
Maggie sipped a little champagne but she did not take her attention off the people milling around the grand room. He knew she was searching the faces of those around them, trying to spot the woman who was posing as her employer.
“I told you, Guilfoyle has some interesting theories and techniques,” she said. “That’s why I originally planned to attend this conference.”
Sam watched Arthur and Dolores Guilfoyle play the role of gracious hosts at the entrance of the lobby. They made a handsome, glamorous couple. Dolores was a striking, sophisticated blonde. She wore a pale pink gown that glittered with what must have been a million pale pink sequins. Long pink gloves, a dainty pink bag, and a lot of jewelry completed the outfit.
Arthur had the dark eyes and the chiseled profile of a leading man. He deployed a polished charm that seemed to work as well on men as it did on women. His tailored black-and-white evening clothes fit his tall, lean frame with the perfection that could only be achieved with hand-tailoring. His dark, collar-length hair was brushed back from a dramatic widow’s peak and gleamed with just the right amount of oil.
In addition to the Guilfoyles, four attractive young people—two male and two female—circulated around the room offering champagne and a warm welcome. They wore name tags identifying them as dream guides. They all looked as if they had been borrowed from a movie studio for the evening.
“Do you think there’s something wrong with Guilfoyle’s eyes?” Sam asked in low tones.
“His eyes?” Maggie was obviously surprised by the question. “No, what makes you ask that?”
“I noticed a weird look in them when he kissed your hand.”
“Oh, right.” Maggie smiled. “Mr. Guilfoyle possesses what is called a smoldering gaze.”
“I thought maybe he had a vision problem. Does the smoldering thing work on you?”
“Under other circumstances, I might find it entertaining, but I have other interests at the moment.”
Excerpted from When She Dreams by Amanda Quick Copyright © 2022 by Amanda Quick. Excerpted by permission of Berkley. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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