The Dream Canvas by Nicole Canfield Book Review
The Dream Canvas by author Nicole Canfield is about the abstract artist, Dottie Love who finds her true love Isaiah McNally, a New York City firefighter. But in the true style of the author, it is not the typical love story of boy meets girl over the internet or in the bar scene; they meet through a series of lucid dreams. But will this be enough for Dottie to overcome her abandonment and independence issues? Can Isaiah allow himself to be loved again after a failed marriage? How do our dreams become reality?
The Main Players
This book has well-developed characters which all come together to teach Dottie about love. But as in true life, not everyone has her the highest interests at heart. Half of the story is told in the male perspective of her new love interest, Isaiah and the other is Dottie's point of view.
Dottie, the starving artist, is in the process of learning some tough life lessons. Her father died when she was young leaving her with major abandonment issues and unprocessed feelings. Dottie insists on being independent and that she does not need a man in her life. She has never had many girlfriends or any real friends and is very misunderstood. But this attitude has placed her squarely in a relationship with a musician who is always on the road and never been there for her on an emotional level. It almost opens her up to be used and abandoned again and again.
The dreamy Isaiah McNally lives in New York City. Everywhere he goes women are slipping him their number, but he really finds them to be amusing. In other words, he is only interested in a long-term serious relationship with a mature woman.
By day, he is a firefighter but he is also an avid art enthusiast. No one knows that side of him except for his sister who owns an art gallery. In fact, Isaiah feels that if his friends at work were to know about his love for the arts, he would be laughed out of the fire house.
Rory is Dottie's live-in boyfriend and sometimes fiance depending on which label is more convenient for him. He is usually on the road with his band playing or on a bender of his favorite habit, benzos and painkillers. Rory sometimes leaves for months at a time if the drugs are plentiful and Dottie does not know if he is dead or alive. She will wait at home and worry herself sick about him only to have him come back home even more addicted. Dottie dutifully nurses him back to health only to have him leave her again. Rory feels that he is sick and cannot stop this endless cycle or just does not want to.
Miss Anne Marie
Miss Anne Marie is Dottie's older friend who listens to and advises her. She owns a local New Age Shop, The Crystal Owl, selling an occasional pendulum, crystal book or giving tarot card readings. Miss Anne Marie is wise beyond her years and only has Dottie's highest interests at heart.
Dottie and Rory
The plot begins with Dottie arguing with Rory about her paintings. Rory feels that they are nothing but junk, she has no talent and she should get a real job to better support his drug habit. But Dottie feels that her only talent is painting and it is her only means to make a living. She paints abstract art as a means of getting her feelings out, a concept that is far beyond Rory's comprehension level. He tends to display typical addict behavior, bring everyone down to his level so that he can control them. Rory suggests that she throw all of her paintings away.
The Art Show
Dottie and other artists have their paintings displayed outside of Miss Anne Marie's shop. She was shocked and excited to sell two paintings at the end of the day to an art dealer from New York City. Who knows, this may lead to more sales in the future. Dottie was told more than once that her work was under-priced but she was beginning to believe Rory who always told her that she had no talent.
Unfortunately, the high of selling her art work and having money in her pocket was short lived. When she arrived home, Rory was gone, most likely on a drug bender. She knew in her heart that she would not see him again for months.
Out of the Depression
After not leaving the house for days and feeling uninspired to paint, Dottie is led back to Crystal Owl where her always reliable friend, Miss Anne Marie suggests a book about Lucid Dreaming. She excitedly takes the book home and barely opens it before falling into a deep sleep or dream state.
When Dottie awakes, she is filled with inspiration from her dreams of the night before. She can do nothing but paint what was in her dream with a feverish passion. With a self-defeating spirit, she posts the painting to her website knowing that it probably would not sell.
Isaiah Dreams of Art
After visiting Dottie's website and purchasing a painting, it finally arrives at Isaiah's apartment. The painting truly speaks to his soul because it is a painful reminder of the emptiness when he felt when his wife left him. He hangs it on the wall and drifts of to sleep in a far away place.
When Isaiah awakens, he can do nothing but think about his dreams. He revisits Dottie's website only to find a newly posted painting of the dream that he had that night. Of course, he thinks that he is crazy and this cannot be happening.
Isaiah purchases the painting immediately only to have the same dream experience the following night.
Have you ever had a lucid dream?
Will Isaiah and Dottie meet each other? Or will the drug-infected Rory ruin it all? Unfortunately, I will never tell. You will have to read the book.
© 2015 Nancy Yager