Beguilng Dreams is an historical novel that takes place in 1915. The locale is the fictional town of Calvin, Indiana. The story is about dreams, how they influence a person's life - how they can be in conflict or be in harmony with someone else's dreams.
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Young Hank Braddock, among other things, dreams of being a full-fledged reporter. His girl friend Becky dreams of climbing the town's social ladder. She sees Hank, as does the rest of the town, as an up-and-comer. Mr. Smith, Hank’s boss at the town's newspaper, dreams of taking a long vacation out West. And Mr. Conner, owner of the cannery outside of town, dreams of creating and maintaining a large power base.
A flood, a train derailment and eventually a strike effects the course of everyone's dreams, sending them along new pathways. No one will ever be the same again.
They sat close together and Hank slid the card along the cradle to get its three dimensional view. It was of the Eiffel Tower. He studied all the minuscule detail and the people in the scene. He placed himself in the picture, trying to get a feel of Paris all around him.
“Are you through?” Becky asked.
Becky glanced quickly at the picture and handed the stereoscope back to him.
He put in another picture. It was of Notre Dame. He gazed at the cathedral’s mammoth size. “Huh, makes our little church seem puny, doesn’t it?”
“Yes, but I’d lots rather go to it,” she said, glancing at the picture and handing it back.
Picture after picture, Hank eyed the scenes of Paris—outdoor cafes, bridges with ornate statuary and the inside of large train stations. The last one showed the Arc de Triomphe.
He sighed, handing it to Becky. “Jeez, those are something. You can almost feel like you’re right there.”
The chimes of the grandfather clock struck nine times and Becky stirred uncomfortably. Hank took the cue and replaced the stereoscope on the piano as Becky returned the box of pictures to the cabinet. They met at the front door and kissed good night. Her kiss was more passionate than normal. She hugged him, pushing her body aggressively against his. Finally, she pulled away.
“The Mickelsons should be home soon,” she said, her voice sounding husky.
Hank stepped backwards. “Sure, I understand.”
It was a sultry evening. He felt restless and decided that instead of going to Shakey’s, he’d just walk around until he got tired. The two contrasting scenes kept coming back to him; Becky glowing with obvious maternal contentment that caused her passion to erupt and the streets of Paris. Ordinarily, they might not be mutually
exclusive, but Becky did not try to hide her disdain for anything foreign.Yet, those Paris streets called out to him as if he were a sailor listening to the siren call of the mermaids lolling
on the rocks of a distant shoreline.
Confused and tired, he walked home and went to bed.