Victorian Love Story Goes Beyond the Grave

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise. In Kris Waldherr’s captivating debut novel, The Lost History of Dreams, a post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future.

In 1850 London, Robert Highstead longs for the company of his beloved wife, Sida, who hasn’t been the same since an unfortunate event on their wedding night. Rather, he’s become estranged from his affluent family in Kent and forsaken his career as a promising scholar of Ovid. Taking with zeal to the uncommon occupation of daguerreotyping corpses, Robert surrounds himself with the recently bereaved, capturing their loved ones in eerie keepsakes.

Despite Robert’s carefully cultivated existence in the shadows, an unanticipated missive from his brother disrupts his death vigil with a request. Their distant relation, the acclaimed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne has passed. His final wish was to be buried next to his late wife and muse Ada on the moors of Shropshire inside Ada’s Folly, a stained glass chapel erected to honor her. To further complicate matters, Hugh’s will requires that a daguerreotype be made of his final resting place with Ada’s only niece, Isabelle Lowell, in the tableau.

Hesitant to leave Sida alone in London, Robert reluctantly agrees to the enterprise, unaware of the resistance he’ll encounter. Embittered by loss and by Hugh’s prying admirers, Isabelle has no desire to fulfill the ill-fated poet’s stipulations. Yet in time Isabelle concedes to open Ada’s Folly—but in exchange for a peculiar favor. For five nights, Robert must record the woeful story of Ada and Hugh’s romance as Isabelle tells it. Forced to commune with the past, Robert becomes transfixed by the allure of the stained glass chapel and Ada de Bonne, unable to extricate himself from Hugh’s mirrored misfortunes.

In the tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale, THE LOST HISTORY OF DREAMS is a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs lines between past and present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, and her fiction has been awarded with fellowships by the Virginia Center of the Creative Arts and a reading grant by Poets & Writers. Kris Waldherr works and lives in Brooklyn in a Victorian-era house with her husband, the anthropologist-curator Thomas Ross Miller, and their daughter.

Image courtesy of Atria Books

For more information, visit: or


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *