Book Review: Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden
by Sandra Ardoin
Will Elizabeth Camden ever write a book I don’t fall in love with? At this point, I’m guessing probably not. It’s more a matter of the degree to which I do.
In her newest, Until the Dawn, New Yorker Sophie Van Riijn has had the opportunity to marry three times, yet she’s still without a husband or children. She finds meaning to her life as a volunteer for the newly formed U. S. Weather Bureau and sets up a small weather station at the Dierenpark mansion on the banks of the Hudson River. The Vandermarks, owners of the estate, abandoned the property sixty years earlier, when the last resident was found dead under mysterious circumstances, giving more credence to the truth of the Vandermark curse.
From the moment hard, arrogant, and tormented Quentin Vandermark steps into the mansion, Sophie knows her world has changed. Quentin—a widower, father, architect, and atheist—both draws and repels her. Optimistic and cheerful, Sophie has the same effect on him, but she is the only one who seems able to get through to his troubled son.
This would never do. Instead of persuading her to stay, he was pushing her away faster. Most of his life had been spent among hard-hitting corporate industrialists who didn’t flinch at a little blunt language. he wasn’t used to apologizing to anyone, and it made him feel exposed and weak. He couldn’t look at her. How ghastly to be at her mercy, but he liked her and didn’t want her to leave. And Pieter needed her. He swallowed hard, prepared to do whatever it took.
Two things attract me over and over to Ms. Camden’s work: the unusual occupations/hobbies of the main characters—especially her heroines—and the way she ends her stories—satisfyingly romantic, but not always sweetness and light. (I’m talking generalities and not hinting at how this one ends!)
The one thing I’ve noticed as a drawback is the repetition when it comes to the character of the heroes–arrogant, brooding, a little hard to like at times. Quentin is probably one of the hardest. His redeeming quality is his love for his son.
Even so, I delighted in reading this romantic story involving mysterious secrets and two people trying to find their futures when the past seems determined to drag them down.
Have you ever read a novel with a hero or heroine whose character rubbed you wrong? Did you put the book down or continue reading?
One of the worst characters I had ever come across was a heroine with a terrible attitude. I’m more than happy to read of a person with some spark and fire, but I think this one had no real justification to match the nasty attitude. I ended up putting this one down.
That is a real problem and one of the things we’re taught as writers–your characters don’t have to be sweet, but they better have a redeeming quality that allows the reader to forgive them. Thanks, Anita!