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"Waldherr writes that 'love stories are ghost stories in disguise.' This one, happily, succeeds as both."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Now available in paperback! A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of a famed poet's marriage in this "sensual, twisting gothic tale…in the tradition of A.S. Byatt's Possession, Diane Setterfield's The Thirteenth Tale, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights" (BookPage).

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A CrimeReads Best Book of the Year
An Amazon, BN.com and Kobo bestseller

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is found dead in his bath one morning in 1850, arrangements are left to his estranged cousin, historian turned postmortem photographer Robert Highstead. De Bonne's will instructs that he should be buried in a stained glass chapel set on the Shropshire moors, built to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. It has since been locked to all outsiders—especially the rabid, cultlike fans of de Bonne's final book, The Lost History of Dreams.

Only Ada's grief-stricken niece, Isabelle, holds the key, but she refuses to open the chapel unless Robert agrees to her bargain: Before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record the real story behind her aunt's ill-fated marriage to the poet over the course of five nights—a story that is both love story and ghost story.

Blurring the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death, The Lost History of Dreams is "a surrealist, haunting tale of suspense where every prediction turns out to be merely a step toward a bigger reveal" (Booklist).


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“Scheherazade-like . . . haunting. . . Waldherr avoids cliché in her rich descriptions and hints of supernatural presence that never cross into melodrama. Additionally, while most gothic tales offer only darkness and tragedy, a surprising amount of light and joy imbues the ending here. Fitting, perhaps, for a novel that uses stained glass as a symbol for heavenly possibility, even in the face of death. Waldherr writes that “love stories are ghost stories in disguise.” This one, happily, succeeds as both.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Wuthering Heights meets ‘Penny Dreadful’ in Kris Waldherr’s The Lost History of Dreams, a dark Victorian epic of obsessive love, thwarted genius, and ghostly visitations. Eerily atmospheric and gorgeously written, The Lost History of Dreams is a Gothic fairy-tale to savor.” – Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of THE ALICE NETWORK and THE HUNTRESS

The Lost History of Dreams is a dark, shimmering gem of a novel, glittering with love lost, secrets kept, and long-buried truths revealed. Wonder, memory, death and passion haunt every page of Kris Waldherr’s powerhouse Gothic debut.” – Greer Macallister, bestselling author of THE MAGICIAN’S LIE and WOMAN 99

The Lost History of Dreams refuses to be categorized as anything other than excellent. Within the framework of a gothic, Kris Waldherr confronts our ideas about love, grief, poetry, and the nature of storytelling. With skillfully nested stories, Waldherr has done the remarkable, rendering the ephemeral into something real and tangible. Brooding, romantic, and thoughtful, The Lost History of Dreams is a rare bird in that it shines throughout with wit. I loved every page of it.” – Erika Swyler, bestselling author of THE BOOK OF SPECULATION and LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS

“Reminiscent of du Maurier’s My Cousin RachelThe Lost History of Dreams is a complex, haunting and deeply absorbing historical novel that is sure to delight fans of classic Gothic fiction. With luminous prose, stunning poetry and a fascinating cast of characters, Waldherr weaves a wonderfully atmospheric tale. Not to be missed!” – Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME and THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER

Kris Waldherr’s The Lost History of Dreams is an exquisitely crafted literary gothic. With its labyrinthine twists and turns, it evokes the dark mysteries of the classic Victorian ghost story in all its brooding, atmospheric glory. A riveting, addictive read. Sarah Waters fans will be entranced. – Mary Sharratt, author of ECSTASY and DAUGHTERS OF THE WITCHING HILL

“In The Lost History of Dreams, Kris Waldherr delivers a novel of haunting mystery and passion reminiscent of Wuthering Heights and Byatt’s Possession. Layered within the pages of this gorgeous gothic tale is a story of several loves, each masterfully wrought in dazzling, poetic detail that will leave the reader longing for more.” – Crystal King, author of FEAST OF SORROW and THE CHEF’S SECRET

“In this accomplished debut, Kris Waldherr transports the reader to the fascinating world of Victorian England and its tradition of post-mortem photography with a deft hand. An atmospheric tale of lost love, family secrets, and an inquiry into how our own histories define us, I relished every poetic page.” – Heather Webb, international bestselling author of LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS and THE PHANTOM’S APPRENTICE

“Kris Waldherr’s The Lost History of Dreams is very aptly titled, as reading this novel feels indeed like entering into a dream, one from which I have yet to fully awaken. With beautiful prose and poetry, Waldherr weaves a darkly seductive Gothic tale of love, art, death, and obsession. You’ll want to keep reading this one late into the night.” – Alyssa Palombo, author of THE SPELLBOOK OF KATRINA VAN TASSEL

The Lost History of Dreams plunges the reader into a sumptuous feast for all the senses. This creepily delicious tale will rob readers of their sleep as it asks and answers its own question: “‘How can there be so much beauty in this world amid so much sorrow?’ The only solution was to create more beauty.” With this novel, Waldherr has done exactly that.” – Clarissa Harwood, author of IMPOSSIBLE SAINTS and BEAR NO MALICE

Read the first three chapters now
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kris waldherr

About the Author: Praised by The New York Times Book Review for her "quality of myth and magic," Kris Waldherr's other books include the bestselling The Book of Goddesses, Bad Princess and Doomed Queens: Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends. She is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has a quarter of a million copies in print. The Lost History of Dreams is Waldherr's first novel.


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