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Beautiful Dreamer

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Loved it! 😍

A fictional biography of Stephen Foster which ties his life experiences to his music.

This is an interesting biography of the great songwriter Stephen Foster which takes events from his life and turns it into fictional form, adding characters and dialogue. The chapters are all headed by sheet music for songs which reflect the forthcoming events, which is a nice touch. The significant events of his life (1826 to 1864) tie into his songs, and historical events of the time are sprinkled throughout the book.


The reader will learn much about Foster's life, family, and the times in which he was living. Through stories from his Uncle Struthers, we learn about the Revolutionary War and the songs that were played then. During Stephen's life, we learn about the prohibition, and the unrest leading up to and after the beginning of the Civil War. We watch as Stephen, rejected by West Point, goes instead to Cincinnati to begin his dreams of publishing music. Sadly, we learn of Stephen's tragic death, and the theories around it--was it an accident or did he actually commit suicide?


Overall, this is a satisfying fictionalized biography. I feel some of the more mundane events of Foster's daily life and childhood could have been omitted in favor of learning even more about the approximately 200 songs he composed in his short time on earth. However, it does a good job describing how Stephen was inspired to write some of those songs. I very much enjoyed the weaving in of the historical events that were happening at the time. The addition of the Uncle Struthers character to talk about events of the past was quite a clever idea that worked very well.


I received a free copy of this book from the author via Reedsy Discovery. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own and are not influenced in any way.

Reviewed by

I review Historical Fiction plus many other genres. I do member reviews for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of Historical Novel Society, plus blog tour sites, and I have over 200 reviews on Netgalley. I am autoapproved with 9 publishers on Netgalley. I have 376 reviews on Goodreads.

Hail Columbia—May 1828 to May 1833

About the author

I have a BA in History and an MSLS, and have recently published my first novel, Beautiful Dreamer. view profile

Published on July 04, 2021

60000 words

Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by