Sunday, April 03, 2016

Book Review: Beyond All Dreams

Summary: Anna O'Brien adores her job at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.  It's a bustling and important place to work...and things are busy as the library employees prepare to move everything over to their impressive new building across the street.  As a map librarian who excels at research, Anna's skills are a valuable asset not only to the library, but also to Congressman Luke Callahan, one of the youngest and most powerful congressmen of the day.  As Anna helps Luke with research which he hopes will further his political goals, she also uncovers discrepancies in the Navy's story of what happened to a ship lost at sea when Anna was a child--a ship her father happened to be aboard.  But as Anna comes closer to learning the truth of what happened to the Culpeper, Luke starts trying to dissuade her from her quest, for reasons Anna can't understand.  As tensions grow between them, unrest on a larger scale is developing in the nation, with tensions between the US and Cuba.  As Luke pushes for a peaceful solution in Congress, can he and Anna also make peace and perhaps rekindle the love that had been starting to grow between them?

My thoughts: Beyond All Dreams was another good read from Elizabeth Camden.  I always appreciate the amount of historical detail that goes into her books...she must do an immense amount of research for each one.  She also comes up with such original settings and themes, which I find really interesting and refreshing, considering how so many inspirational novels seem to be rather redundant these days.  Once again in this book, she has created two likable, flawed main characters in Luke and Anna.  They were total opposites, but perfect for each other.  Each has lived through a difficult and painful past in their own ways, but emerged stronger for it.  This book was based on historical events leading up to the Spanish-American War, a period of history that I wasn't really familiar with.  It was neat that I finished reading it in January, and in February the kids and I covered the same time period in our homeschool history studies!  I also liked the fact that Luke was from Maine, and a little bit of the story took place there.  Several of Elizabeth Camden's other books have been set in (or partially in) New England, which I enjoy since I'm a New Englander. :)  While Beyond All Dreams wasn't my favorite of her novels (Against the Tide still holds that place, I think!), I enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a bit of good clean romance.  

**Thanks to Bethany House for the free review copy.  I was not required to give a positive review, and all opinions expressed are my own.

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