After I read the first novel, A Dangerous Legacy, I was looking forward to the second book in Elizabeth Camden’s Empire State series, A Daring Venture. However, I had no idea I’d enjoy this one even more.
One thing you can usually depend on in this author’s stories is an enticing hero. Nick Drake does not disappoint. He’s a blue collar guy with a rich man’s bank account, a widower with a three-year-old he spoils, and a man determined to provide better plumbling facilities for the poor.
It had taken months for the final traces of plumber’s grease to disappear from beneath his nails, then another year for the last of the calluses to be buffed away. Now he looked as polished and groomed as any of the other blue bloods here this evening.
That didn’t mean he would ever be welcome in their ranks. But he didn’t care about being welcomed, he cared about getting appointed to the State Water Board of New York. Only then could he ensure that poor people and immigrants got the same quality of water that rich people took for granted.
Dr. Rosalind Werner knows first hand the devasting effect of water-borne illnesses on individuals and families. She competes in a man’s world of science, one that resulted in past scandal. Even with that, she’s driven to put into place a new and better way to purify water and prevent diseases like the cholera that killed her parents.
Though both Nick and Rosalind want what’s best for the health of others, they butt heads in the courts, each thinking they are right in the way to achieve it. In private, they’re drawn to one another with an instant attraction neither has experienced before. Yet…
There’s a lot going on in this novel that has little to do with the romance, but affects it in various ways. There are layers from each character’s past that intrude on the present, teaching them to become better persons as they face intrigue and betrayal on multiple levels. In fact, there were a couple of plot points I felt were serious enough to be drawn out and given greater space.
I would have liked to have seen a little more resolution between Rosalind and Nick with regard to his child, especially since the two adults had such differing views on how to raise her. In fact, the child seemed less a character than a prop. That thread could have been better satisfied for me.
However, the book was an engaging read that flashed by as I was absorbed in the depth of the characters and their plights, along with the unique historical story. I’m giving A Daring Venture 4.8 stars.
And we meet the main characters from Book Three of the series! Bring it on!