About the Book
Female journalists are rare in 1879, but American-born Clara Endicott has finally made a name for herself with her provocative articles championing London’s poor. When the backlash from her work forces a return home to Baltimore, Clara finds herself face-to-face with a childhood sweetheart who is no longer the impoverished factory worker she once knew. In her absence, Daniel Tremain has become a powerful industry giant and Clara finds him as enigmatic as ever. However, Daniel’s success is fuelled by resentment from past wounds and Clara’s deeply-held beliefs about God’s grace force Daniel to confront his own motives. When Clara’s very life is endangered by one of Daniel’s adversaries, they must face a reckoning neither of them ever could have foreseen.
As I was reading this book it struck a chord of familiarity with me. Something in the recesses of my memory was clawing to be unleashed, as if I had encountered these characters before and their faces were hovering just beyond recollection. I came across a review from Joy at Edgy Inspirational Romance and suddenly the puzzles fell together. That was it! Clara and Daniel were reminding me of Margaret Hale and John Thornton from one my favourite mini-series North & South. It was not so much the storyline that welcomes comparison (aside from parallels in the labour dispute storyline), but the vitality and passion of the characters and their undeniable chemistry.
Clara and Daniel both defy conventions of society but for different motivations: Clara for the betterment of the impoverished, and Daniel for revenge against the wealthy. Somehow these two characters find a middle ground where all that is against them falls away and what is left is too people searching for purpose. Their characters are well developed, but I found Clara to be overly tenacious in her evangelistic efforts towards a couple of the primary characters. Her pious soliloquies sometimes took away from particular plot points and atmosphere and could have been more effective if they were woven more naturally into conversations.
The plot line had great elements of tension and suspense that propelled the story forward at an easy clip. I wish that some events and motivations were better connected and thoroughly explained near the latter half of the story, but overall the plot was cohesive and engaging.