My Dream Lover: A Romance Novel With a Sci-Fi Twist by David Navarria

Editorial Review By: BOOKLIFE

Navarria pens a genre-bending slow burn of a love story in this coming-of-age romance with science fiction elements. My Dream Lover follows the life of genius Robert Bryant. At the age of 16, Robert moves to Rue, Ohio, when his wealthy father builds an aviation building near Robert's mother's hometown. Robert and his sister, Emily, adjust to the change easily enough when they make friends with another sibling pair, Roger and Coral LeBlanc. While Robert views Coral as his little sister's best friend, someone he’s fond of, for Coral it is love at first sight. Many years pass before Robert returns her affections, only for the two to be parted by tragedy. Those wrenching circumstances propel Robert's work with time travel—work that catches the attention of the U.S. government. With the aid of a few surprise characters, Robert just may see his life's work—and love—come to fruition. Robert and Coral's time-crossed love story unfolds piece by evocative piece, ultimately fitting together within the pages like a jigsaw puzzle. As the engaging, heartwarming story surges to its climatic plot twist and satisfying conclusion, Navarria binds all the threads together in a way that lovers of romances with a touch of fate will remember. Readers should be aware, though, this is more general fiction love story than a romance, in terms of genre: while the motivations behind Robert's actions all stem from love, My Dream Lover's central couple has minimal encounters with each other in the text. That choice builds tension, of course, and readers open to the blend of types of story may find the world building and character development enticing as Navarria offers a heart-wrenching exploration of first love, first heartbreaks, and a man’s efforts to bend time itself in an imaginative plot.

Takeaway: A time-crossed love story that blends romance, SF, and more.

Comparable Titles: Jonathan Strahan’s Someone in Time, Nicholas Sparks’s A Walk to Remember.


MY DREAM LOVER by David Navarria is a heartrending tale of one exceptional man and his journey to finding true love. Check out what Toni Woodruff has to say in their book review of this indie historical novel.

A heartrending tale of one exceptional man and his journey to finding true love, no matter the stakes
Robert Bryant and his family move from bustling NYC to a town in Ohio in 1953. The Bryant family is picturesque in an all-American kind of way, centering humility and kindness despite their wealth. Robert, the oldest son, encompasses those morals while being exceptionally intelligent and athletic.

He’s caught the eye of a few local girls, especially Coralie, who happens to be the younger sister of his best friend Roger,. Before Coralie is able to express her feelings, Robert graduates and continues his education at Harvard, his father’s alma mater, but he’s harboring an immense secret: Robert’s erudition is far above what’s considered a genius.

Due to the pressure of his academic gifts, he’s unable to explore a real, loving relationship and prefers to decompress with casual dating. However, on one fateful day, he’s struck by an unlikely source.

My Dream Lover is packed with twists and turns. While the story initially follows Robert’s early life in Ohio, it quickly ramps up with excitement and intensity. Robert’s life as a genius is fascinating, especially when he begins applying himself more academically. But rather than remain stagnant, the story delves more into the complexities in Robert’s life, especially the ethics that come with limitless knowledge.

I really enjoyed reading the scenes where Robert is especially sympathetic and accessible. One moment like this is when Robert and his younger sister enjoy winter festivities in New York. Robert’s intelligence and abilities take a back burner for his role as an older brother and it feels very cozy. I also really like how the book approaches the concept of a life-altering moment occurring in an instant, completely out of your control.

While it’s initially established that Robert is a genius, we often get very similar descriptions and reiterations that Robert is, in fact, that intelligent. I’m happy with confident characters, but it would have been nice to see him using his skills more than just hearing about it. I also hoped for more agency out of the female characters. They are often tethered to their looks and sensuality rather than offering much toward the plot.

Still, I would recommend this one to historical fiction fans and those looking to contend with grief and loss. The book is like a bullet-train ride with many stops in unexpected places. You may just be holding onto your armrest, eager for what’s next.


This book moved along at a fast pace, which I quite enjoyed. From the beginning, the characters were well-established, and their wants and desires moved the story along. Navarria also had a way of combining genres that fascinated me. At the beginning of the book, the focus is on Robert's struggles to hide his intelligence to fit into society, which had it feel like a coming-of-age novel. Then the focus is more on the romance as Robert grows up. The second half of the book introduces some sci-fi themes. All the genres were well-blended together, and this was my favorite part of the book.

The only minor issue I noticed with the book was some of the writing was a little simplistic. The descriptions were often a bit lacking, with Navarria simply stating how the characters were feeling or doing. I think that this aspect of the novel could use a little bit of work.

Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. The excellent plot and characters made me unwilling to put the book down. I am taking away one star due to the lack of descriptions. However, apart from that, I enjoyed everything about this book and have no reason to give it a lower rating.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy romance books that include bits of sci-fi and coming-of-age genres mixed in. It might also intrigue those who have a special spot in their hearts for the 1950s, as that is the starting point for the novel. This book is also rather short, making it perfect for a rainy afternoon or a day on the beach!

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