Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London's poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel's success is fueled by resentment from past wounds and Clara's deeply-held beliefs about God's grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara's very life is endangered by one of Daniel's adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.
First I have to admit to cover love. I am so shallow that I wanted the book before I knew a thing about it other than it had a gorgeous cover. Thankfully the inside didn't let me down.
One of the wonderful things about historical fiction is all the "issues" they can talk and teach you about. This book had so many things going on that it felt like an action movie. What kept it grounded was the relationship between the characters and the characters themselves.
I may be shallow but Clara isn't. She isn't even a caricature of the woman ahead of her time or the strong willed independent type. She resists labeling because she may have some features that resemble those types but she's also terrified of horses and insecure a lot of the time. Daniel is the same way. He's brilliant, fiercely protective, determined, rebellious against society's rules, and so angry at the person who hurt his family that he's willing to hurt the financial security of his company. Yet on some level he's always felt unworthy to love Clara. The complexities in their personalities as well as those of Alex and Clara's father really impressed me.
I'm a romance girl and I thought the relationship was fabulous. It had enough sparks to feel realistic for the time period and I loved the tension between them. I believed in them and wanted it to work out. At the same time, I could almost believe that it wouldn't.
This is a well written, action-packed story with a great romance. I look forward to reading more by this author and I thank Bethany House for providing my copy though it did not influence my review.