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When I Dream
I Dream of Rain

A story of strength, courage, and survival.

Julie Akerson Chicos

In The Press


A sweeping family saga, based on a true story, that follows two sisters from their childhood in Ireland to their lives in Canada and the US many years later after a shipwreck. The sense of place is impressive, and the settings in Ireland, Newfoundland, and Maine are carefully depicted, with evident affection for and familiarity with the wild beauty of these rural locations.


The characters are similarly well thought out, and their development as they age and move geographically – particularly Annie’s – is convincing. The story follows the highs and lows of their lives, with some moments of tragedy, but never becoming overly melodramatic or sentimental. This is a moving story with an appealing heroine that should find an appreciative audience.

Review- Cecily Blench, Editor and Author of The Long Road Home, and the 2019 winner of the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award


This epic historical fiction novel unfolds throughout a lifetime and spans three countries: Ireland, Canada, and America.

Since man first embarked on exploring the vastness of the ocean, there are thousands of accounts of ships surrendering to the lethal embrace of the sea. Many survived to tell their story; however, many other strong souls were swallowed up and cast into a watery grave to spend eternity at the bottom of the sea.

This is the tale of two sisters that survived.

In 1826, as violence and unrest surge in Ireland, Annie Highland and her younger sister Lissy, along with their parents, are forced to flee and embark on a treacherous journey across the sea to an uncharted life in a new world.

Bound by blood and unrelenting resilience, they fight to survive, only to find themselves shipwrecked and orphaned on an unknown shore. Ripped apart by circumstance, they navigate through some of the most significant times in history, their resilience is tested, revealing how one act of survival can echo through generations. Might fate conspire to reunite them once more?

While the soul of this novel is rooted in family, traveling through love, loss, war, abolition, and suffrage, its heart is about strength, courage, and survival not only of Annie and her sister but also of the countless women whose footsteps we now follow.

The story is for those who seek adventure, love, and a life worth remembering.




Julie Akerson Chicos is an artist and storyteller. After receiving her degree and working in the legal field for years, she decided she needed to let her creative side loose, and returned to college to study art.  During that time she took several writing courses and it was then that her passion for writing was rekindled.

She has always written short stories, memoirs, and reflections. So when she "met" an ancestor through a genealogy report, she knew she had to tell her story and embarked on a journey of extensive research and writing to bring it to life. When I Dream, I Dream of Rain is her literary debut.

Julie resides in the Boston area. When she is not writing or painting, her heart will always be by the sea enjoying a nice glass of Sancerre with her feet in the sand watching the sunset, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking, spending time with her husband, and laughing with her hysterically funny boys, walking their dog Ripley, at barre or pilates, experimenting with her chef's hat, and reading anything that makes her laugh or cry (sometimes at the same time.)

From the writer:


"This has been a passionate years-long undertaking, and I am excited to finally be able to tell Annie's story.

As an artist and writer, I aim to take people on an emotional and physical journey, immersing all of their senses into each story or piece."


Current favorite reads: The English Patient, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, When in Rome, The Forgotten Garden, The Invention of Wings, The Giver of Stars, All the Light We Cannot See, Gone Girl, and any quick beach read by Elin Hilderbrand.

Julie is a member of the Historical Novel Society and The History Quill and follows many writing blogs such as; The Creative Penn, Jane Friedman, This Itch of Writing, The History Girls, and The Copperfield Review.

As an artist her work can be found at one of the Artists Association of Nantucket's galleries or online at


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