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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review and Giveaway of Elizabeth Camden's Against the Tide

I did this review an injustice by posting it so late in December when everyone was out for the holidays! So if you'll indulge, me, I'd like to re-post it today and give you all another chance to win this excellent book!

I was honored Elizabeth asked me to read her latest novel. I had mentioned in a review of her debut novel that I wanted to see a book featuring the villain (who made a 180-degree turn in that book), and she was so obliging that she wrote one. :)

Here's a blurb from Elizabeth's website:

Boston of 1891 is a city of hope and ambition, where mariners, merchants, and dreamers thrive in the cobblestone streets of America’s most historic city. Within the harbor of Boston’s naval shipyard, Lydia Pallas has become a trusted assistant to an Admiral in the U.S. Navy. Fluent in seven languages, she spends her days translating documents from all over the world.

Lydia’s remarkable language skills bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man on a quest to rid the world of the scourge of opium. Only Lydia has the rare combination of language skills and courage he needs to advance his cause. A man as coolly analytical as he is relentless, Bane never bargained on falling in love with Lydia. As he battles the bittersweet love that grows between them, Bane’s mission will take Lydia away from everything—and everyone—she ever held dear.

I was very eager to dive into this book, given my appreciation for Bane's characterization from The Lady of Bolton Hill. Elizabeth lets enough time pass that his character is solidified in a believable way you never once question. Clearly, though, Bane is still haunted by the crimes of his past (namely helping to smuggle opium unto the country), which threatens to interfere with his future happiness, and the happiness of Lydia.

Lydia has enough quirks of her own to make her real. In fact, I know someone just like her at work, and I like to "mess" around with things on her desk the same way Bane does with Lydia....just to throw her Type-A, slightly OCD-self off. (Mean of us both, is it not?) Lydia's cravings of control and order and security are well-motivated, given her loss of family at such a young age. It makes her the perfect romantic interest for a man who can never settle down for fear of his nemesis using anyone he loves for ill.

Perhaps the aspect of Elizabeth's novel that I was most impressed with was her extensive research into opium and the resulting symptoms of dependence and withdrawal. This is an area that I am most familiar with (you can read about the present-day diagnostic criteria here), and Elizabeth's portrayal of this very real problem many face today was very true to life.

I think I read this book in about 6 hours, give or take. I took a Saturday and just lollygagged, and this book was a most worthy companion to invest time in!

I'm giving away my review copy, which is signed by Elizabeth, to one lucky commenter. This is my way of saying thanks to my readership. Lower 48 only, please.

If you don't want to wait to win, you can buy the book here: Amazon, Christianbook, B&N, and Books-a-Million.

Let's Analyze

To enter the giveaway, leave your email and the answer to this question below:

What's the craziest thing you've ever done to flirt with someone?