The Moments Between Dreams

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Pub Date 17 May 2022 | Archive Date 15 Jul 2022
Greenleaf Book Group, Greenleaf Book Group Press

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A story of hope, courage, and perseverance 

​Carol misses red flags about Joe’s need for control before she marries him, dashing her dreams for herself and her family. Trouble escalates after their daughter Ellie is paralyzed by the polio virus and Joe returns from WWII. Carol realizes how brutal waking life can be, and she conceals bruises and protects her children the best she can.

The Moments Between Dreams is a captivating story of a 1940s housewife who conforms to the rulebook of society until Joe pushes her too far. His constant intimidation shrinks Carol’s confidence while she tries to boost Ellie’s. Church-going neighbors in Carol’s tight-knit Polish community are complacent, but Sam, a handsome reporter, stirs up Carol’s zest for life. Despite impossible circumstances, Carol plans a secret escape. Along a risky path, she empowers her daughter to know no limits and teaches her son to stop the cycle of violence and gender discrimination.
A story of hope, courage, and perseverance 

​Carol misses red flags about Joe’s need for control before she marries him, dashing her dreams for herself and her family. Trouble escalates after their...

Advance Praise

“From the minute I began reading The Moments Between Dreams, I was captured, yanked into 1944 and the life of Carol Wozniak and her family and struck by the similarities to the world we all live in today. As early as page 3, my stomach churned as her husband, Joe, shows early signs of being an abuser. Flawlessly written and relatable, our protagonist’s gut- wrenching situation as a mother, helpless in the face of her 5-year-old daughter’s battle with polio, is daunting enough. Little does she know what lies ahead. Put this book on your summer reading list.”

—Nadia Giordana, publisher and editor, WINK: Writers in the Know literary magazine

“Thank you to Judith Brenner for shining a light on the difficult and painful issues of domestic violence. This book is a reminder to women that not every prince is charming and of the courage it takes to become the heroine of your own story.”

—Barb Greenberg, founder,, and author of the award-winning book The Seasons of Divorce: Insights for Women in Transition

“This powerful and well-crafted novel brings us back to the 1940s, when a public swimming pool could infect your child with a virus. The story resonates with our own time, as a new virus transforms our lives. Brenner’s intimate and poignant portrait of domestic violence is also relevant today—the issues are the same.”

—Lucy Rose Fischer, author of The Journalist: Life and Loss in America’s Secret War

“From the minute I began reading The Moments Between Dreams, I was captured, yanked into 1944 and the life of Carol Wozniak and her family and struck by the similarities to the world we all live in...

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ISBN 9781626349339
PRICE $17.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 40 members

Featured Reviews

The horrors of domestic violence and spousal abuse are thoroughly examined in this novel, which also addresses the epidemic of polio which was prevalent in the United States in the first half of the 1900s (my father was a victim of polio in 1924).

Carol is a young girl who is swept off her feet by Joe and she quickly become pregnant, so they also quickly get married. They have a boy and a girl and then their little girl contracts polio. Shortly thereafter Joe is recruited into the military and finances are stretched, their daughter is in the hospital for about a year and Joe’s physical abuse of Carol begins. Joe’s violent nature and Carol’s commitment to her faith and family allow the abuses to become life threatening until she gets the courage and assistance from her family to find her way out - after some 20+ years.

I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley for my voluntary honest review. This is at times a difficult story to read as it is set in a time when abuses were often ignored or blamed on the victims by the religious leaders and counselors who were approached for help. Things are better today, but domestic abuse still takes lives. The author has done a good job of addressing the issues of abuse and the difficulties associated with polio.

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This interesting book is a fast read that will keep the reader engrossed. The main question--will the narrator save herself from an abusive marriage and give her daughter a future—pulls the reader in, and the subplots developed along the way also keep one reading. Will she find another relationship? What will happen with her son? The tension builds as her husband’s abuses accelerate. Will Carol be able to save herself? Read to the end to find out. I recommend this book to anyone interested in women’s independence, escaping abusive relationships, and the history of polio in this country.

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Thank you To Green leaf Book Group Press,, net galley, and Judith F. Brenner for giving me an arc copy of the moments between dreams to review. This book was historical fiction and covered so many hard topics of the 1940 era. It covered war, polio, and domestic abuse. The story really flowed very hard to stop reading it kept my interest the whole time. This was my first book by Judith F. Brenner but, it will not be my last.

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I was given an advance copy of the book by Netgally and the publisher Greenleaf Book Group Press for my honest opinion. This story had me hooked from the beginning. It was a great story with strong relatable characters and it was a fast read. It takes place in a time period that I have not read a lot of books written in this era. It's based on the Polio Epidemic and domestic abuse (trigger alert). It is very well written you can tell that a lot of research went into it. This is a new author to me and I can't wait to read more books written by her. I highly recommend this book.

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This book had me hooked from the beginning. Brenner’s writing about the topic of spousal abuse is very compelling.

Set in the 1940’s Carol marries Joe when she gets pregnant. Joe becomes very controlling and abusive. Carol quickly realizes he is not the man of her dreams even though she still loves him.

In the midst of dealing with an abusive husband Carol has to handle caring for her daughter who gets sick with Polio while Joe gets drafted.

From loving Joe, to wanting to leave, to knowing she couldn’t because her children would taken away, to wanting to be a good role model the writing had me feeling every one of Carol’s conflicting emotions and made me understand why she chose to stay as long as she did.

I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you netgalley for an advance copy of this book for review.

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A great story also heartbreaking! Thanks Judith Brenner for continuing to shine the light on Domestic Violence as it is still a very important thing that we all need to keep in mind!

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This story hooked me right from the beginning, which is always a plus. The prose was extremely readable and the plot was realistic and compelling.

In the 1940s, Carol marries Joe, and they seem so in love. Through the years though, Joe becomes more and more controlling, jealous, narcissistic and violent. Carol and her daughter and son, Ellie and Tom all perceive Joe's violence and abuse in their own ways, in a day and age when women were subservient to men, and spousal abuse was ignored and downplayed.

Carol seeks out ways to find relief from Joe's control and abuse. One of the ways she finds is to befriend Sam, a reporter from a Chicago newspaper, who has covered the polio outbreak that victimized Carol's daughter, Ellie. Through many years, Sam's devotion to Carol never wavers.

If I had one issue with this book, it was that the author used terms like "networking", along with others, that weren't used in the 1940s and 1950s. As with all historical fiction, it is more authentic if terminology matches that which was used in the time frame of the story.

This one issue doesn't really take away from the story, though. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to this author's future work.

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I was provided an ARC for an honest review by NetGalley.

An incredible story of n abusive marriage in the 40’s and 50’s. Well written and very well researched. Carol and Joe marry when she becomes pregnant. What follows is yers of abuse as their youngest suffers from polio. There is the typical pressure on young married people who struggle financially but Joe releases that pressure by abusing and controlling his wife and later on his daughter. It’s hard to comprehend the mindset of the abused and their abused. This is an interesting take on that.

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This is the story of women suffering in silence for fear of losing their child, security and sense of home. The main character, Carol, makes many mistakes and seemingly difficult choices as she navigates an abusive and toxic marriage. As polio ravages, Carol tries to keep her family together, maintain a sense of "home" and shield her children from their abusive father, Joe. Despite impossible circumstances, Carol plans a secret escape. Along a risky path, she empowers her daughter to know no limits and teaches her son to stop the cycle of violence and gender discrimination. This was a great book set during WWII and its aftermath, and went beyond to the struggles of home life following the war (an area neglected by many novels). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction.

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This book is extremely important because it covers a topic that is very sensitive and not often talked about, and it does it so elegantly. The characters in this book are all very well written, and as a reader you can't help but feel a connection with the main character, Carol. They say that love is blind sometimes, and this book is the absolute epitome of that.

The book does a really good job of showcasing how love can sometimes be confused with comfort or fear. The book also does a great job of showcasing how women at the time didn't have it as easy, and it wasn't as simple for them to just leave a relationship as it possibly is nowadays - today they have multiple options, back then they truly didn't.

I love how the book also talks a lot about the issues surrounding polio, in the case of Carol's Daughter. The book talks about how there isn't a vaccine right away for polio, but then how the vaccine does get produced and how there's a lot of mistrust and people not wanting to get the vaccine, it made me think of nowadays with the covid vaccine - so that was an interesting connection there.

I know that the book's main focus is about spousal abuse, but I do love how it focuses a lot on polio and what happened in the beginning with the epidemic, what it was like for a family to deal with something like that, and what society's reactions were to the disease.

Overall, I think this book does a great job of showcasing how layered spousal abuse actually is, how hard and difficult and treacherous it can be to leave an abusive relationship, and how back then the system was basically rigged against women - which is mind boggling.

I would recommend this book to just about anyone mainly because it sheds light on a topic that probably isn't discussed as often as it should be. Even though the book is set in the early to mid-1900s, it does a good job of showcasing the mental gymnastics that women sometimes have to do in order to try to rationalize the situations that they're put in regardless of what their actions are - and the fact that women of the 21st century have a lot in common with women of the 20th century says a lot.

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Thanks to NetGalley for a prepublication of this book. A sad yet joyous story about a woman who dreams of her forever after happiness but after marrying Joe, she discovers how cruel life can be. Her daughter suffers from polio and her husband if drafted into the navy. Thankfully he is stationed nearby but he begins to ambush is wife both physically and emotionally and she doesn’t know the way out.

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Very interesting story of abuse is 40-50s. Carol was a likable character. She struggled with how to deal with an abusive husband in a time where the deck was stacked against her.

How she dealt with her daughter with polio was inspiring. She had to find Ellie treatment and get her to appointments, most of the time by walking the bus but most of all for ensuring that Ellie was ready for life and it’s challenges.

I was really rooting for Carol.

Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me to read this book

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I really enjoyed this book. It is a sad, and yet all too believable story of the violence that husbands inflicted on their wives. This was set in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and all too real the distrust and pure disbelief that this wife was met with, when she tried to tell people about what she was experiencing. Even though this violence still exists, it, at the least, gives you an awareness of the shelters, and other avenues a woman has today to try to escape this form of abuse.

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The Moments Between Dreams is the story of Millions Of Women suffering in silence of fear to lose everything their child, their security, and sometimes themselves. it is a story that I've read many times in different books or stories that are real and true and it seems like the world is not ready to finally say enough is enough. of this violence and transgression, we continue perpetuating towards women and so many innocents that are there trying to survive in a MEN world.

At the beginning of the book when everything started to happen like many women were in anger, screaming to Carol to stop making and giving excuses, like many of you we always try to judge and suggest why she didn't leave sooner or why she didn't do this or that. but after reading and knowing many cases of this nature I've come to the conclusion that is not that easy if you don't know what it is in stakes. in this case, Carol was afraid to lose her daughter who was still underage and Joe could easily file for kidnapping or something to make Carol's life a living hell.

I cry so much with this book because it is not fair that we still living under these circumstances and nothing is Done, man always get the benefit of the doubt, men always get the free ticket, I know during WW2 during those years 1940's and 50's women weren't not even allow to get divorced but still, Doctors and Priest would turn their faces the other way whenever a woman will declare she has been abused by her own husband. I never understood this, is it more valuable a man's life than a women's? is more valuable the status, the marriage than the lives of women? this is the case and this is each answer of this book told me that was the case.

Even Tommy once he was older, still question his mother's motives, because he never receive the same treatment from his father just because he was a boy but Carol and Ellie receive a very different person someone with so much lack of respect towards women in general, Joe was the topical macho guy, insecure who will treat his wife as an enemy, the fact that he had a gun in his car and didn't let his wife drive was just disgusting.

in my opinion, Carol made so many mistakes but I guess that was part of the process for her to finally grow and move on meanwhile she gave so many excuses if you have two brothers and a father that can help you very easily I'm not sure why she took so much time trusting they will help her and move on.

The worst part was when Joe started to hit Ellie too that's when I really wanted to pull him out of the book and kick him a few times. he was a terrible father, his example was the worst and I will not change my mind no matter what.

This is a book of faith, hope, and resilience, The story of a woman who was doing everything to maintain her family close and sane in the midst of polio and a man who forgot how to be a gentleman and a father.

I'm glad Carol got what she and Ellie deserved a second chance in this life, far away from a man who was not ready to love them only to cage them.

Overall it was a great book and story, I really enjoy it

Thank you NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group, for the advanced copy of The Moments Between Dreams in exchange for my honest review.

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Highly recommend!! My first book to read by this author but definitely not my last!! Uniquely and beautifully written, this story and its characters stay with you long after you finish the book.

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