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Book of Dreams
Teddy Wainwright was a very happy man. Not many people had the chance to reinvent themselves at the ripe old age of sixty-three. He finished typing his resignation, hit the Send button, and gave a satisfied sigh. Shirley would be so proud of him.
His young aide set the photographs of Teddy’s wife and daughters into the last crate. “That’s the lot, sir.”
“Thank you again for your help.” Teddy slipped his aide a letter. He had been up until almost dawn, working and reworking the words. There was so much to pack into a few paragraphs. The envelope bore his wife’s name. Nothing more. “Here, put this on top.”
“No problem, sir.” His aide set the envelope in the box and fitted on the lid. “I’d just like to say again how sorry I am you’re going.”
“That makes two of us.” His secretary of nineteen years walked through his open door and waved the multiple copies of his formal resignation. “This is so hot it must be radioactive.”
Teddy Wainwright signed each letter in turn. “This is also a long time coming.”
“Your daughter’s on the phone.”
“Put her through.” He reached over his desk and shook his aide’s hand. “I wish you every success in your new position.”
“I could come with you, sir. Matter of fact, I’d like to.”
“You’re better off here.” Teddy had rewarded the young man’s loyalty by promoting him to a junior vice presidency. “The legislation required to formally start the financial oversight commission is months off. Until then, I’ll be cooling my heels in Washington. Which is why I haven’t even invited my secretary to join me. Yet.”
“I’m a patient guy. You should know that by now.”
“If or when things get going, I’ll give you a call, see if you’re still interested.” Teddy lifted the receiver, waved his former aide through the door, and said to his elder child, “Perfect timing.”
“You really did it?”
“The letters are winging their way to the board and the papers as we speak.”
“Mom must be so thrilled.”
Teddy Wainwright turned and stared at the spot where his wife’s photograph had sat since he had become president of the Centurion Bank seven years earlier. His throat was so tight he found himself unable to respond.
His daughter asked, “When are you giving the speech?”
Teddy checked his watch, though there was no need. He had been counting the minutes for a month. Longer. “Five hours.”
“I called because I wanted you to know Sis and I are here together and we’ll be praying for you.”
He had to clear his throat twice before he could say, “Thank you, honey. That means the world.”
“Go out there and knock ’em dead.”
“I intend to.”
“They’ve had this coming for a long time.”
She hesitated a long moment, then said softly, “I’m so proud of you, Daddy.”
Teddy Wainwright told his daughter good-bye, then pressed the phone to his heart. He held it there long enough for the receiver to emit the beeping alarm, telling him to cut the connection. His secretary reentered his office and saw him sitting there, staring out the window. “Everything all right?”
“Everything is fine.” He set the receiver down in the cradle and wiped his eyes. “Everything is just great.”
“The garage just called to say your car is waiting downstairs. I checked with the airport and your plane is inbound. And your wife is on line three.”
Teddy Wainwright rose from his chair, plucked his suit jacket from the back of his door, and slipped it on. “Tell Shirley I’ll call her from the car.”
His secretary handed him a plastic file. “Your speech.”
“I hope you know what you’re doing.”
“The banks won’t like this. It’s one thing for some politician or journalist to take aim. But when one of their own turns on them, it’s war.”
Teddy Wainwright heard both her years of experience and her very real fear. But all he felt was the same sensation as the previous evening, kneeling on the floor of his home office. The strength he had known at that point, the conviction, the certainty. He slipped the speech into his briefcase. “I should have done this years ago.”
She did not say anything more, just stepped away from his office door. They had said all the farewells that were necessary, shared the meals and the hugs and the tears. His departure was anticlimactic.
Teddy crossed the foyer shared by the bank’s five senior executives and the boardroom. All the doors were shut. His so-called friends had turned their collective back on him. The other two secretaries refused to meet his gaze. When Teddy reached the elevators, his secretary was still standing in the doorway to his former office, a strong, intelligent woman who had watched his back for years. Worried for him.
Like everyone else on Wall Street, the bank’s executives used so many limos that they had their own parking area just beyond the handicapped zone in the basement garage’s first level. Teddy did not recognize the driver, but this was nothing new. The man was pale-skinned and lean, with clean hands and a well-pressed suit. He held Teddy’s door, then slipped behind the wheel and said, “We’re headed to Teterboro Airport, Mr. Wainwright?”
“You want me to call ahead, make sure your plane’s ready?”
“That won’t be necessary. Would you mind rolling up the divider? I need to make a call.”
“No problem, sir. There’s coffee in the thermos.”
“Thank you.” Teddy pulled his phone from his jacket, but before he could punch in his home number, the phone rang. Teddy checked the readout and recognized the senator’s office. “Wainwright.”
“Good morning, Mr. Wainwright, this is Allison, in Senator Richard’s office?”
“Yes, Allison.” Teddy recalled a pert young woman who managed to turn every sentence into a question. “What can I do for you?”
“The press has been showing a huge interest in your talk, so the senator was wondering, could we shift your testimony forward an hour so your comments can make the evening news?”
“Let me check my schedule.” He opened his briefcase and scanned the typed page his secretary had slipped into the folder with his speech. “I’m due to arrive at Reagan National at two thirty.”
“The senator will be so pleased. Can I ask, do you prefer to be addressed as Theodore?”
“Teddy is fine.”
“Thank you. One more thing, Mr. Wainwright, could we please make sure you’ll hold your opening remarks to fifteen minutes? This is so important, since the committee members will want their responses to make the newscast—”
“Fifteen minutes will be more than adequate.”
Terry cut the connection and cradled the phone between his hands. He had spoken several times before the US Senate’s Banking Committee. But on previous occasions he had always been part of a team. His last time seated before the curved dais had been the worst, when the Wall Street banks had come hat in hand to the federal government, begging for a bailout. One they did not deserve. Everything Teddy had spoken into the microphone had fallen from his mouth like dead weight. A ton of lies strung together with desperation and urgency.
Well, not this time.
He phoned his wife. When Shirley answered, he said, “I had the sweetest call from our daughter.”
“She and her sister have their entire prayer group coming over. They’re going to watch you on C-SPAN.”
Sunlight played between the New York high-rises, dappling his side window. He and his older daughter had fought a series of increasingly bitter disputes throughout her teenage years. Then the year she graduated from university, Shirley had brought their daughter to faith. And everything had changed. At least for her.
Teddy had held out for a good deal longer.
Until nine months and three days ago, to be exact.
His wife went on, “I’m supposed to already be over there. But I wanted to speak with you first.” Shirley had been living in a state of perpetual joy ever since he had agreed to pray with her. But Shirley did not sound happy now. She sounded frightened. “Are you sure this is what you want to do?”
The previous nine months should have been the happiest of his own life as well, at least on the surface. Teddy did not merely believe that his burdens had been lifted, he knew this. He was convicted by the reality of his freedom.
And that was where the problem lay.
Teddy Wainwright was a victim of his own success. He had lived a life of unbounded ambition and greed. He was a skilled manipulator and a man accustomed to wielding almost unlimited financial power.
Now he had been saved from himself and his misdeeds. But this freedom came at a price. The eyes of his soul had been opened. Coming face-to-face with his true nature, in the one mirror he could not ignore, was a dreadful experience.
Teddy realized Shirley was still waiting for his response. “This is not only what I want. It’s what God wants too.”
Shirley was a solid woman. Strong and beautiful, both inside and out. “The years I’ve prayed, hoping someday you might speak those words.”
Teddy pressed a fist to his chest, trying to push the emotions back inside. “I’m sorry it took me so long.”
They shared a moment’s silence, then Shirley said, “What about all the things you used to describe the opposition? ‘Vindictive, murderous, determined to crush anyone who stands in their path.’ Those were your words, not mine.”
Teddy knew she was hoping for a soothing word, a promise of assurance. But he was not going to lie. Not today. “I had a remarkable experience last night.”
“You certainly were late coming to bed.”
“I like the quiet hours when the world is asleep. God seems a lot closer then.”
“Hold on just a moment, please.” Shirley set down the phone. Teddy thought he heard her sob. He bit down hard on his own emotions. If he started now he might not be able to stop. Besides, the limo driver kept glancing at him in the rearview mirror. Shirley picked up the phone, sniffed loudly, and said, “All right, darling. I’m back.”
“I finished my speech and was sitting there with the Bible open in my lap. And it felt like God entered the room.”
Her voice was unsteady as she replied, “Maybe he did.”
“I’ve had some amazing moments recently. But nothing like this.”
“God spoke to you?”
Teddy stared out the window, and recalled the overwhelming sense of presence. The unquestionable sense of eternity. “Not in words, no. But the message was very clear just the same.”
“What did he tell you?”
Teddy took a long breath. “I have to do this, Shirley.”
She wanted to argue. Teddy felt her tension and fear radiate over the phone. But all she said was, “Will you be coming back tonight?”
The need for total honesty restricted his response. “As soon as I am able.”
“I love you, darling.”
Once again Teddy cradled the phone tight to his chest, and ended the conversation with a prayer of thanks.
The limo gained speed as it pulled onto the freeway. Teddy fanned the speech across his lap. Six pages in all. Double-spaced, printed in an oversize font so he could look up at the senators and then find his place easily. Each page took just over two minutes to read. He had a great deal more that he intended to say. But the specific details would come out during questioning. Teddy knew his remarks would have much more impact if it appeared that the senators’ questioning drew him out. He intended to use the questions, however they were phrased, to make sure these revelations emerged.
One passage in particular caught his eye:
It is not enough that the banks’ misadventures brought the world’s economies to the brink of disaster. Wall Street is not satisfied with all the distress they have created for our economy and political system. The leaders of our nation’s largest banks are intent upon repeating the same dire mistakes all over again.
Teddy had been redrafting that paragraph the previous evening when the divine force had filled the room. Now the limo’s tires zinged and rumbled as it accelerated through traffic. Rushing him toward a new destiny. Teddy felt the same undeniable presence return.
He had faced a series of choices that he now saw stretched back to that first night when he had gotten down on his knees. Each one had carried a genuine threat to the way he had previously viewed his life, stripping away one lie after another. And at the same time, each choice had drawn him a bit closer to yesterday’s experience. He had not realized that at the time, of course. All he had known was a sense of divine rightness, of reknitting the nation’s financial fabric and restoring some of what he had himself helped destroy. Teddy read:
I have accepted the position of chairman of the new financial oversight commission precisely because this insanity must be stopped. The banks intend to neuter this commission before it is fully formed. I know this for a fact. Their aim is to render the commission powerless. The American people demand new financial oversight. The banks have resigned themselves to this. So now they have shifted tactics. Their Washington lackeys are peddling influence and spending money, pressuring Congress to transform the commission into mere window dressing. This cannot be allowed to happen.
The sound of honking horns drew Teddy’s gaze from the page. He realized the limo was slowing and maneuvering out of the fast lane. He tapped the intercom button and asked, “What’s the matter?”
“The engine just cut out, sir.” As the driver spoke, it happened again. This time Teddy felt as much as heard it. The motor went silent, coughed, then picked up again. The limo was so heavy that its forward momentum softened the jerks. “It was going fine until … There it goes again.”
The motor fluttered, surged, then died a third time. The driver turned on the flasher and steered toward the curb. He tucked the car into a bus stop. He rolled down the glass divider and said, “I’ll ring central and have them send you another car …” The driver studied his cell phone’s readout. Then he turned around and said, “Mr., ah …”
“Sure. Could you check and see if your phone has a signal?”
Teddy opened his phone. “Apparently not.”
“We must be sitting in a dead zone.” The driver turned the key. The engine clicked but did not fire. He shook his head and opened the car door. Instantly the limo was filled with the roar of midday traffic. “I’ll just walk around the corner to where I can phone this in, Mr. Wainwright. Shouldn’t be long.”
Teddy did not speak. There was nothing to be said. The car door shut, leaving him isolated. But not alone.
The sensation was far stronger now. Although it was unlike anything Teddy had ever experienced, he had no question what was happening. There was simply no room for doubt.
A young woman appeared by the same corner the driver had just rounded. She was very attractive though quite small, and carried herself with an air of fresh innocence. Teddy sat and watched her open the rear door and slide into the seat beside him. She had a pixie’s face and round, gray eyes, clear and seemingly without guile. “A limo. Wow. I guess you must be someone really important.”
Her hand emerged from the pocket of her raincoat, holding something that might have been a silver pen. When the image had come to him the previous evening, Teddy had faced a dark wraith, little more than a twisting shadow.
Teddy stared at the woman, and for a fleeting instant found himself seeing her true form. He realized the image had been absolutely true.
His mind locked on to the verse from Second Corinthians that he’d been reading the previous evening when the room filled with that undeniable force. Just like now. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
As the young woman reached toward him, Teddy said, “I’ve been expecting you.”
Reading Group Guide
This reading group guide for Book of Dreams includes discussion questions. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.
- Elena’s experiences suggest that following God’s lead takes her in a very different direction from what she had expected. Do you see God’s lead as offering an easier road?
- Do you hold certain assumptions about receiving a spiritual gift? Are these images based on a desire to do God’s will, or your own desire to receive acclaim and ease?
- Elena realizes that she may have had a hand in holding herself back from true healing. She comes to see that her present perspective, how she defines herself, is based in part on her sorrow. To give this up and accept full healing means losing a connection to her deceased husband. And yet, until she relinquishes this hold, she cannot accept a vision of what future God might have in store. Can you find a parallel in your own life, where holding on to some less than positive or healing perspective might be keeping you from what you say you want, or what God wants for you?
- In this story, several characters experience what at the time appear to be monumental setbacks. And yet these same events prove to be great leaps forward, both for them personally and for their causes. Can you recall a time when what first seemed to be a defeat actually became a lifetime triumph? Can you look back now and see God’s hand at work in these experiences?
- In her encounter group, Elena urges the participants to write down the request they are asking of God. One member of the group confesses later that this proved vital. Otherwise he would have risked forgetting the problem and its solution, by simply moving on to the next unresolved issue. Have you ever asked God for aid, then neglected to recognize his hand at work in your life? Have you failed to thank him for a gift like this? Why do you think this happened? Do you find it hard to acknowledge God’s power at work in your life?
- The basis for Elena’s gift is a series of meditations on the Lord’s Prayer. Have you ever spent time examining this prayer? If not, do you feel this might be an enriching experience, one you should take on? If so, have you experienced any particular gift of the Spirit that you would like to share?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It isn’t often I read a book that balances thrills, faith, and romance in an entirely believable package. But that is what Davis Bunn does in Book of Dreams. The main character, Elena, does not come across as pious or unsympathetic. She is real, she has doubts, and she suffers fears and conflicts of faith just as any of us. Davis Bunn has a compelling Voice and writing style. It draws the reader into the lives of the characters in such a way that you cannot help but continue to turn the pages. You root and rave for the end game, heart palpitating and mouth dry as the thrills and suspense hammer at your imagination. In addition to his compelling style is the true-to-life conflict his characters are facing. It is a gentle shake to the shoulders and – almost – a call to arms for our own economical plight for this country. Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars Would I read it again: Definitely Would I recommend it to others: A resounding ‘yes’!
My Thoughts on ¿Book of Dreams¿ While Elena is helping her patient Sandra deal with her dreams, she finds the help she needs to deal with her husband¿s death. An old friend gives her a copy of an old ancient book that no one has deciphered down through the years. But it just so happens that when Elena starts reading and checking out this ancient book, interesting things start to happen in her life. And this book is so detailed, so much stuff here there is no way to explain it all. So to find out about these things, you really need to read the book. Well, Davis Bunn has done it again! I will have to say this is one of the most fascinating and intriguing books I have every read. The first pages captured my heart and I was hooked until the very last page. These characters were just real! Well they seemed real to me, that is. After getting to know these characters through this story, I felt like I had a new set of friends! What can I say except that this is just an awesome, professionally written book by one of Christian fictions greatest authors. I am always in awe of the detailed and complex stories written by Davis Bunn. I appreciate the way he teaches readers in Book of Dreams how we can trust God and have the confidence that He will direct our paths, even when He calls us to do those things beyond our confidence level. And he helps us understand the question, ¿How can we understand and fulfill the will of God?¿ This book is mixed with a little of everything, romance, thriller, historical things of the Bible, and an exciting mystery with a little lesson on the international front as well. I think this book could be for just about anyone. So grab a copy, read and enjoy it. You just can¿t go wrong reading Davis Bunn! This book was provided by Howard Books, a Division of Simon & Schuster for me to read and review. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.
Dr. Burroughs is a expert in dreams. Intrepreting them, and general knowledge about why you are dreaming. What she is not an expert on, however is dealing with grief and moving on past her husband's death. Nor can she really give herself the meaning of some of the dreams she has about him. A new client moves her practice into a totally new level. The wife of a high powered dignitary, the new patient's dream is so disturbing, it even has Dr. Burroughs rattled. The gift of an ancient family heirloom from her friend and mentor, takes her dream intrepretation into a whole new arena. This book was so different from most books I read, that I really have struggled to put into words my review of the book. First of all I have to say I liked the book, and it gets 4 stars. But it was so different, a bit more political than I normally read, but the author truly had his finger 'spot on' the political and economic scene of America, and the world in fact. A bit of a conspiracy theory story, but not so much that you feel like someone is after you too for reading the story. All in all I have to say a great book, definitely interesting!! 4 stars 328 pages US $14.99 This book was provided by Howard Books for review purposes only, no payment was received for this review.
I have read quite a few Davis Bunn books by now and all of them are highly enjoyable. However, I think I can say without a doubt that this is my favorite so far. The book grabbed my attention from page 1 and didn't let go until the very end. In fact, I was greatly disappointed at the end.not by how it ended, but because there was no more to read! It was truly a masterpiece! Dr. Elena Burroughs is the main character, a psychologist and dream interpreter in Oxford, England, with the inability to completely deal with a personal tragedy in her own life. She is soon joined by an interesting new patient who is experiencing frightening dreams on a regular basis. When Elena is given an ancient book that she is required to decipher, things take a very interesting turn. The book, which is fascinating in and of itself, has been in the possession of her very good friend for a number of years and has yet to be understood. But when Elena takes possession, interesting things begin to happen and her life takes a dramatic turn. Very soon after the opening chapters, the main character shifts from Elena, to a small group of people working as one unit (of which she remains the unofficial leader). These other characters include Antonio d'Alba of Rome and financial advisor to the Vatican and Lawrence Harwood, the American Ambassador to England. The character development is rich and you soon feel connected to each character for different reasons. This book is not only about an ancient artifact, but is in reality about letting the Holy Spirit guide you and stepping out into unknown territory with the confidence that God is with you and will guide you. The story sounds like one out of today's headlines, with the added bonus of the ancient thrown in. If you are interested in international intrigue, this book is for you. If you like romance, you will love this book. If you enjoy a good mystery, look no further. If biblical history is your forte, this is the book for you. I would highly recommend this book. It is one I plan to read again and again.
Synopsis: From bestselling and award-winning author Davis Bunn comes a relationship-driven narrative about an internationally acclaimed psychologist, still coping with the death of her husband. But Elena Burroughs' life takes a dramatic turn when a mysterious patient comes to the doctor, asking her to interpret the intense pattern of dreams she's been having. When Elena inherits an ancient manuscript, she is granted a succession of insights about these dreams with dangerous warnings. As Elena rediscovers her dream-interpreting gifts, she also finds a fresh connection to God and love. The Book of Dreams holds both a strong message of biblically inspired prophesy linked to global financial chaos, as well as a rich interweaving of transplanted lives, lost hopes, and second chances. For Dr. Elena Burroughs, life is divided into two chapters - before and after the death of her husband. Today marks the point that her span of being a wife is equal to her span of being a widow. Even her success as a psychologist and her world wide acclaim for a book on the interpretation of dreams is dimmed by an unspoken If only. Then a new patient arrives, one so private only her first name is given. Impeccably dressed and escorted by two bodyguards, Sandra recounts a frightening series of recurrent nightmares. Elena agrees to consider her case more carefully, convinced that something ominous may be at work here. Elena's interpretation of her dreams confirms that, indeed, the new patient and her family confront a powerful global network of dangerous forces. As the story unfolds, they face a key question of the Christian life: How do you understand and fulfill the will of God? As Elena struggles to help Sandra understand the recurrent nightmares that have been occurring for the past 26 days, she meets with her mentor, Miriam who reveals a secret she has kept hidden since she was nine years old. She passes along an ancient olive wood covered book printed on velum which houses interpretations of what God wants Elena to see. She is instructed to focus on the book a page at a time and wait for divine inspiration to help her understand her patients dreams. Elena is soon drawn into a series of encounters with various high ranking people who are being troubled with nightmares that are wrecking havoc in their business and personal lives, and only she is the key that God will use to unlock His purpose in their lives. I received the novel, Book of Dreams by Davis Bunn compliments of Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster for my honest review. This is my third book by Davis and once again, he does not disappoint his readers. Building on a readers curiosity, he starts them on a roller coaster ride complete with twists and turns that will leave them guessing until the very end. Another 5 out of 5 star rating and one that I highly recommend.
This is the story of Dr. Elena Burroughs, a clinical psychologist practicing at the University of Oxford in England. She is known worldwide as an expert in the field of dreams because of her bestseller, Book of Dreams, a book her friend and fellow psychologist, Miriam, urged her to write. The publication of the book provides Elena money as well as status. However, it does not afford her happiness. Grieving the loss of her husband who died five years earlier, Elena's work and daily routines have become mechanical and she hates herself even more for having to act as if she is okay. When a special client, referred by her friend Miriam, appears on the scene everything changes. This client is the wife of the American Ambassador to England and what Elena sees in her dream is something that affects the patient, and possibly many other people around the world. Eighty-one year old Miriam gives Elena possession to an ancient book given to her by her great-grandmother. The book contains the Lord's Prayer in Aramaic with one phrase per plate. Miriam had been told to study one plate until it spoke to her before going on to the next. Unfortunately, she never got past the first plate. It is different for Elena. This is much more than a book about an ancient document and the interpretation of dreams, however. As usual, the author mixes riveting characters with important news events. In this case, he uses the economic disaster brought on by the subprime mortgages. And, to make things more challenging for our heroes, the opposition is quite willing to resort to murder to achieve their goals. I found this book difficult to put down and I loved the ways the characters developed. I also found it interesting the way the author used real places in Oxford, making me want to visit the area again to experience the settings. There was also an exciting scene in Rome which was probably based on real places as well. The inclusion of the ancient document and the interpretation of dreams could make some readers wonder if the book takes on a supernatural nature. It didn't for me. The way it is handled makes it all totally believable. In reviewing a book there is always that tradeoff between telling enough about the book so that you can decide to read it or not and telling too much and ruining it for you. That's why I'm stopping here.
Psychologist Dr. Elena Burroughs receives a request for emergency counseling to a woman who arrives with bodyguards. These men thoroughly search Elena's office before allowing the patient to enter. This woman has had one horrible dream reoccur every night for weeks. As guidance for the case, Elena's mentor gives her an ancient book printed in gold calligraphy. Each page contains a line of the Lord's prayer and those who read the page may hear from God. Elena's mentor had never heard anything, but Elena, on reading the first page, clearly does. Soon she's enmeshed in world-shaking conspiracies that will destroy the world's economy and countless lives. In the light of present world economies, this book sounds almost prophetic. According to internet news reports, some events written as fiction may already be happening in our world. From page one Davis Bunn's writing creates sympathy for his characters' lives. His pace keeps readers turning pages for hours. In the story, a small group learns to pray, trust and follow God into adventures dictated by visions that come through the Books of Dreams. The plot involves romance, mystery, arson, thievery --and murder by a ghost-like assailant. The pace of the tale slows somewhat in the last part of the book. However, the characters growing relationship with God may make readers hungry to also know Him that well. The ending is a neat, unexpected twist that leaves room for a sequel.
This was a confusing book at times, and some of the typos should have been caught with the proof reader. The author took too many leaps of "space" instead of "faith"..! But it was ok. Not a best seller list type book.