Set in an obscure village, in a fictional country vaguely resembling the England of yore, a baby is born to a young mother. With an almost pathological desperation bred of the deepest intensity, the mother deludes herself into believing her child had been born with male genitals. Later, we learn the real truth about this, but in a state of extreme anxiety, she maintains her belief that her babies' private parts had initially been those of a male child. As her seemingly aberrant thinking morphs into denial, she raises her little girl as a son. One can only imagine the damage wrought on this child, now a square peg in a round hole, attempting to fit in to a male gender role.
Such is the premise of The Dream-Maker's Magic by Sharon Shinn.
Of course, puberty eventually intervenes, but along the way the child's personality and character are irrevocably influenced by her strange situation. Enter the Truth-Teller, the Secret-Keeper, and the Dream-Maker, the author's mythical and ingenious answers to modern day psychology. Let the truth be told, all secrets be kept in complete confidence, and our spiritual, emotional, and physical healing take place so we can have what we want, and not the reasons why we cannot. After meeting up with these interesting and impactful folk, our heroine eventually becomes able to carve out a special niche for herself in the world that only keeps getting better for her and for those in her sphere.
An important question emerges from this novel that applies to all areas of our lives. Do we already have the power to make our dreams come true, or have our dreams already become reality and only our barriers to realizing this stand in the way of our true happiness and self-acceptance?
This thoughtful and charming story holds the reader and culminates in a powerful and ingenious ending.
[Reviewed by Samuel]