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.
Elizabeth Camden's debut novel looks like a traditional historical romance but reads more like a romantic suspense novel. With rich characterisation, Clara and Daniel come alive as two individuals searching for identity and meaning far away from their social roots. Daniel has left his poverty behind to become an inventor and entrepreneur with a vendetta against the man he believes is responsible for his father's death. Clara has shed her high social standing to champion the rights of downtrodden workers as a pioneer female journalist. Elizabeth uses her characters' motivations to generate an engaging story about revenge, forgiveness and redemption. Some scenes were overdone and jarred me out of the story, stretching believability from time to time. Despite this, there is much to like in The Lady of Bolton Hill and Elizabeth Camden has made a promising beginning to her writing career.
With thanks to Bethany House for my review copy
Wednesday, 15 June 2011