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In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

The university I went to is a far cry from the mystical campus where In My Dreams I Hold a Knife takes place. Instead of beautiful gothic architecture and magnolia trees, we had bad 1970s architecture and the smell of cow manure from the veterinary school. While I loved my alma mater, it doesn't really compare to the beautiful, albeit, fictional place Ashley Winstead creates for the readers of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


In the following article, I've answered some of the most pressing questions about In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, as well as provided a list of books like it to read next if you're like me and want to take a deeper dive into the dark academia genre. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

What Is the Book In My Dreams I Hold a Knife About?

Do you enjoy a page-turning who-dun-it? Are you intrigued by the world of prestigious academic institutions and the questionable characters that attend them? If so, then In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is the book for you.


When alumni return to their alma mater for homecoming weekend, they expect to have a chance to show off, boast, and party. What they don't expect is for the brother of their friend who was murdered in their senior year of college to reveal that he has been investigating her unsolved case since they left - and he knows one of them is the murderer. From there, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife jumps back and forth between the current day and their college years, as the main characters confess their darkest secrets to each other in order to figure out who killed Heather.


What Is the Age Rating for In My Dreams I Hold a Knife?

Given the various trigger warnings that apply to In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, including violence, murder, and sexual assault, this is a novel that is strictly for mature audiences only.


Is In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Dark Academia?

Yes, In My Dreams I Hold a Knife can be considered a dark academia novel if you go by this definition of the genre from The Daily Star: "Usually set in an academic establishment, be it a boarding school or a liberal arts college, illustrated by a darkly poetic atmosphere, often with the backdrop of sinister, gothic architecture."


How Long Does It Take to Read In My Dreams I Hold a Knife?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader approximately 5 hours and 31 minutes to read the 352-page paperback version of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife.

When Did In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Come Out?

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife came out on August 3, 2021, and was Ashley Winstead's debut novel.

Who Narrates In My Dreams I Hold a Knife?

While the majority of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife is narrated by Jessica Miller, there are chapters that are narrated by others in East House Seven including Caroline, Courtney, and Mint.


Where Does In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Take Place?

In My Dreams I Hold a Knife takes place at Duquette University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. While this is a fictional university, Ashley Winstead revealed on Twitter that "Duquette is a mix of Wake Forest, Duke, and Vanderbilt, where I went to school. A southern campus with gothic architecture and magnolia trees."


Who Killed Heather in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife?

Ultimately, it is revealed that Heather is killed by Mint (Mark Minter), Jessica's ex-boyfriend. He finds out Jessica slept with her professor, has lost his family fortune, and is compared to his father after severely assaulting a fellow frat brother. All of which, caused Mint to turn angry and violent against Jessica. He then stabs who he thinks is Jessica in her bed, only to find out that it was Heather who passed out there.


In a dark twist after this, we find out that Jessica found Jessica once Mint had left their apartment. Heather was barely alive and asked Jessica to find help. Instead of going for help though, Jessica chose to walk away, thus letting Heather die.


Will In My Dreams I Hold a Knife Be Made Into a Movie?

No. At the time this article was published, no reputable and credible news sites had reported any news about In My Dreams I Hold a Knife being turned into a movie or tv show.


5 Books Like In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead

When I set out to create this list of books like In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, I wanted to find options that were either a great who-dun-it or a dark academia thriller. There was no shortage of options but here are five of the best similar books to check out next:


The Guest List by Lucy Folley

1. The Guest List by Lucy Folley

It might not take place at a prestigious school, but how does a remote castle on an Irish island sound? In The Guest List, guests arrive on the island for a wedding, but when someone is murdered during dinner, everyone's motives come to the surface and make them a suspect. In that area, it is very much like In My Dreams I Hold a Knife.


If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

2. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

Based on the description of M.L. Rio's debut novel, If We Were Villians, you can't get much similar to In My Dreams I Hold a Knife. Although in this case, the group at the center of the murder investigation is a group of seven young Shakespearean actors in their fourth and final year at the Dellecher Classical Conservatory. When their fellow actor, Oliver Marks, turns up dead, they must try to convince one another, as well as the police, of their innocence.


The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead

3. The Last Housewife by Ashley Winstead

If you enjoyed Ashley Winstead's writing and storytelling style in In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, then you're in luck, because her second novel, The Last Housewife, has recently been published (August 2022) and has since started receiving great reviews on GoodReads. It is described on her website as a "pitch-black thriller about a woman determined to destroy a powerful cult, no matter the cost."


The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

4. The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Secret societies, elements of Greek mythology, the prestigious Cambridge University - it would seem that The Maidens by Alex Michaelides delivers on some of the best aspects of In My Dreams I Hold a Knife and then some! While readers on Goodreads are torn about their feelings toward the book, it's not enough to wreck the excitement I feel about it. After all, some of my favorite thriller and mystery novels have less-than-stellar reviews.


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

5. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

Like In My Dreams I Hold a Knife, the psychological thriller, A Flicker in the Dark, is a dual timeline and a fantastic who-dun-it, only this time we're dealing with a serial killer and a copycat 20 years later. It will have you questioning every character, including the unreliable narrator, up until the very end.

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