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Dark Academia with Ashley Winstead

  • Submitted: 13th June 2023

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

This is one dark novel. If you are a student at an American university, can I just say I hope it’s not Duquette in North Carolina as in the novel. Actually, this is fictional and thank goodness for that! Students are misfits, teachers aren’t much better and don’t you dare cross the fraternity!

Dark academia is a brilliant genre in crime ficition. Students who do bad things, reunions that go even worse than what you fear. I AM THERE! I went to a Scottish university and it was so tame in comparison to Duquette thank goodness. I wouldn’t have been in the cool gang anyway so I was able to live out my fantasies in this book and go wild!

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Dark Academia with Ashley Winstead

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

The Cool kids

They call themselves the East House Seven – what binds them? Lies and cheating, drugs and betrayal. They were all friends when they studied at Duquette but what was going on behind its hallowed walls? No lessons or studying it would seem!

The students get up to all sorts. They are there to be the best, stand out from the crowd, push boundaries and seek revenge on those who dare cross them. American universities in particular seem to work on this hierachal system of who’s who, whose parents bring the money, whose daddy has the best car etc. You have to get into the best uni, the best school, the best XX. How has anyone got any time for any study?

The novel is set in Winston Salem..here’s one of the unversities there….

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Imagine going to a reunion, knowing that you are going to meet your fellow former friends. One of the girls you boarded with was murdered in her dorm.( It’s actually a suite with a security code and everything). Someone is doing drugs down the corridor, someone else is cheating on their partner. And what is that professor up to?

We see the whole setting and goings on through the eyes of Jessica Miller. She wants to be someone else, one of the success stories and is worried others are going to judge her. She wants to get to the top and will do what it takes to get there. She wants others to know, too.

Student halls

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Then there’s Coop – druggie and generally awful guy who is out for himself as well. He’s the bad boy Jess wants to be with. We all remember the days of trying to fit in and there are some dilemas here!

As this is an American university, there’s the athlete angle to university life, social media influencers and all the usual characters – bad boys, vulnerable girls, the cool kids, the ones you want revenge on.

The Fraternities (Alpha Phi Omega on the door)

BookTrail the locations in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Secrets stalk the corridors and BOOM they have a habit of creeping up on you when you least expect it. This is one twisty thriller and it gets very dark when you realise that one girl has been murdered with a pair of scissors. (why a knife in the title then?)

You will never want to return to university for a reunion when you read this. It was so good revisiting it via a book though.


BookTrail Boarding Pass:In My Dreams I Hold a Knife

Twitter: @ashleywinstead Instagram:@ashleywinsteadbooks


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