~ Book Description
Stella West's artistic talent made her the toast of London, but when her beloved sister dies under mysterious circumstances she abandons everything and heads for Boston. With single-minded determination she fights to pierce the ring of secrecy surrounding her sister's death. Upon meeting Romulus White, a publisher with connections into every important power circle in the city, she quickly realizes he could be a valuable ally in navigating Boston society.
Romulus has been pursuing Stella for years to create art for his magazine. Her luminous illustrations are the missing piece he needs to propel his magazine to the forefront of the industry, and he will stop at nothing to get her on board.
Sparks fly the instant they join forces, but Romulus is unsettled by the unwelcome attraction he feels toward Stella, fearing she might be the one woman who could disrupt his hard-won independence. He may have finally met his match in Stella, but is helping her solve the mystery of her sister's death worth the risk to his publishing empire?
~ My Rating
~ My Review
This being my first book by Elizabeth Camden, I wasn't sure what to expect. Well, let me just say I will be reading more by her. A lot more I hope. Her writing style is SO BEAUTIFUL.
The murder mystery made my skin crawl and my heart pound. Though I hadn't read one in quite some time, I love a good mystery when I read one and this one was AHHMAZING.
The romance was sweet and fun for the most part. And then the side story with Evelyn and Clyde was utterly darling and I love them so much. *huggles characters*
The characters were SUPERB. Without discussing each of them separately as I'm going to do I would surely miss something (though I will anyway).
Romulus is an intricately crafted character, full of details uncommon for the usual hero/love interest in these type of stories. The magazine, Scientific World, is his pride and joy. Unfortunately, that goes too far and we find Romulus measuring his self-worth against the popularity and success of the magazine he co-owns with his cousin, Evelyn. In the beginning there's plenty of room for developing Romulus's character, and the change in him through the course of the book was well-paced, realistic, and wonderful to watch. Um...read. ;)
Stella is an enchantingly beautiful artist with, as Romulus often reminds her, an extremely large ego. He's good for her and keeps her from allowing her fame and talent to go to her head. The character growth in her was much quicker than the change in Romulus and not so realistic. Much more sudden and spot-on. I enjoyed all the talk of dresses, accessories, and fashion in the parts from her POV too. It added so much historical detail. :)
Evelyn, Romulus's cousin and business partner, and Clyde, Evelyn's husband, were both intriguing characters. Having gotten a legal separation years ago (it wasn't called a divorce, and they were still technically married), they have lived their own lives, each of them trying to ignore the still-present feeling for their spouse. When Clyde ends up back in Boston on business...he's bold enough to face Evelyn and persistent enough to try and win her heart back.
Although Evelyn and Clyde weren't the main focus of the book, they were...my favorite. Odd, I know, I should like Stella and Romulus. And I do, but I honestly enjoyed Evelyn and Clyde's story more. I enjoyed watching their story progress SO-O much!
*spoilers ahead* With everything that happened over Clyde's injury...I CRIED, people. I loved them...I need a story, a chapter even, of them somewhere...together...with their adopted daughter, Lily...*dreamy sigh* *end of spoilers*
I can't wait to read Summer of Dreams and get their complete back-story! :)
All of that said and fangirling over, I grappled over what to rate this book for awhile. For the writing style, the thrilling mystery, and believable characters, I would heartily give the book five stars. Unfortunately there were a couple things I didn't agree with, so I'm knocking off a star.
The kissing between two certain people about 60% through the book was a little over the top in my opinion. One knows that the other has no interest in a lasting relationship, yet they instigate the kiss...and continue to kiss...a lot... Just, yuck.
My last 'complaint' would be the lack of Christianity. The characters pray a couple times, God is mentioned, and Stella realizes in the end that she wants to be the tru Christian that her sister was. If you're just going to write a clean, historical fiction, that's great. I'll still enjoy it. But don't add a couple of prayers and then call it Christian. Please?
All together, I enjoyed this book immensely. The time period wasn't one I typically read, so it was neat to be different. ;) I would recommend this book to those who enjoy accurate historical fiction, vividly detailed descriptions, and clean mysteries.
"I'm convinced the joy from a single ounce of chocolate does the body and spirit more good than a whole cartload of turnips."
**I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.**