by Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Page Count: 350
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Format: Trade Paperback
How got: free copy from publisher
First attention getter: author
Romulus White has tried for years to hire illustrator Stella West for his renowned scientific magazine. She is the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry.
But Stella abruptly quit the art world and moved to Boston with a single purpose: to solve the mysterious death of her beloved sister. Romulus, a man with connections to high society and every important power circle in the city, could be her most valuable ally.
Sparks fly the instant Stella and Romulus join forces, and Romulus soon realizes the strong-willed and charismatic Stella could disrupt his hard-won independence. Can they continue to help each other when their efforts draw the wrong kind of attention from the powers-that-be and put all they've worked for at risk?
Star Rating - 5
OK. My faith in Camden is restored. The last work I read of hers disappointed me as it seemed to be like every other Christian fiction work I’ve encountered: faith heavy and story light. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a review, just starred it. This work? Big improvement!
Another great story comes from Camden’s pen. The subway race and the trials of building such in a limited technological era kept me riveted. Funding such a venture, the mountain of bureaucratic paperwork involved, and the physical dangers all made for fascinating reading. She made the vibrant world of Gilded Age Boston also breathe with all its corruption, energy, and industry.
I loved both our leads. Their personalities are rooted in reality, making them seem more human to me rather than words on a page. Eccentric Romulus (and who doesn’t love a name like that?!) and proud Stella played off each other for stellar results. I loved how each approached life’s challenges differently, one with diplomacy and the other with brash argument. Yet, both cared for their friends and family so strongly that not even murder or legal issues could ultimately shop them in their tracks.
It’s that strong foundation with great differences that made their relationship so intriguing. They’ve got the spark of instant attraction; however, they also have enough similarities and outlooks on the world to make a relationship last for the long term. I couldn’t help but root for them as they faced life’s challenges and the special ones entailed with investigating a murder.
I was actually surprised at the murder/mystery plotline. I was kept in the dark by the guilty party’s identity until almost the very end. That doesn’t happen all the time for me, even in regular mysteries, long less Christian fiction with mystery subplots. The author does a fantastic job in dropping red herrings and clues in equal measures throughout the entire story, keeping her audience guessing.
Camden went back to her previous handling of religious themes and Christian touches that I enjoyed in the past. There’s enough there to know that this is a Christian novel; yet readers aren’t inundated with verbose preaching nor obvious moralizing. The themes explored are interwoven into the narrative and can apply to Christians and non-Christian alike. Taking life as it comes at you, attracting support with honey vs vinegar, being too proud, and jumping to conclusions are all lessons that everyone should learn, no matter their religion or background.
Its books like this that keep me coming back to Camden and make her a favorite of mine. She balances great life lessons, human characters, suspenseful plotline, and attractive romance into one great package. I’d recommend this book to anyone, really. It’s that good.
Note: Book received for free from the publisher via GR giveaway in exchange for an honest review.