Author: Vivien Dean
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Pages/Word Count: 60 Pages
At a Glance: Time travel and magic collide to right a wrong in history.
Reviewed By: Jennifer
Blurb: Freddie Valek is a dreamer. He dreams about the fantastic as a means to escape, about finding the perfect man, about anything his imagination can conjure. When he falls asleep after work one day and finds himself in pre-Civil War Louisiana, he can’t say that he’s surprised. The only part of the dream that shocks him is that it’s taken him ten years to have a dream about the history of his most prized possession—a water-logged portrait of a man named Ezekiel.
All he knows about Ezekiel is what the woman who gave it to him said. That Ezekiel was the son of a plantation owner and a slave. That nobody ever found out what happened to him. Freddie’s dream thrusts him into the parents’ lives and their demands that he’s been brought to them to find their runaway son, a mission he is more than happy to accept.
But the closer Freddie gets to finding Ezekiel, the more he’s convinced that none of this is actually a dream…
Review: Anyone who finds themselves staring off into space and daydreaming will likely relate to Freddie. As a way of escaping the tedium of life, he often dreams of fantastic things to keep his mind occupied, and that’s just the way he likes it. How many of us can relate to that? I know I could.
In this short story, Freddie’s dreaming takes him to Louisiana, before the start of the Civil War. At least he thinks it’s a dream. But when he doesn’t wake up, he realizes he actually is there. And the man he’s fantasized about, the man from a painting he was given, is there too. And needs his help. What follows is an interesting tale of time travel and magic, where spirits are called upon and work their magic on the unsuspecting. But more than that, it’s about connections across time.
Freddie and Ezekiel are wonderful characters. I really felt for them and their situation. Freddie lives in the present, and Ezekiel is just a portrait on his wall. According to the woman who gave the portrait to him, Ezekiel was a slave, the son of a plantation owner, and one of his slaves, who disappears for the family history. Freddie is so caught up in his fantasy that he talks to the portrait hanging on his wall and dreams up new lives for Freddie. And when the two finally meet, you discover Ezekiel heard everything Freddie told him.
While some may not like that aspect, I thought it was unique. Freddie thought Ezekiel was just a figment of his imagination, a part of his usual dreams, and Ezekiel thought he was one of the spirits, or his guide. They didn’t realize the other was real until they meet.
If you’re a fan of time travel stories, I recommend this one. It’s short enough to read in one sitting, and it will leave you feeling good at the end. Though I would have liked more to discover what happens next to Ezekiel and Freddie, and how they deal with their new situations, where the author left off is a good stopping place; it felt natural rather than forced. I might want more, but I’m happy with what I got.
You can buy Unison here: