Monday, February 20, 2017

Elizabeth Camden: To the Farthest Shores

By Kelly Bridgewater

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.
Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

My Review:

Having read seven out of nine Elizabeth Camden's stories, I'm pretty sure I knew what I was getting into when I picked up To The Farthest Shores. Camden usually brings some part of American history through science into fiction format, so I can learn something new. I usually look forward to her characters and her ability to educate me without sounding like a textbook. With To The Farthest Shores, I have mixed feelings about the story.

To begin, Camden is a master at research. Every single book I have read of hers includes a lot of research, but she allows her characters to show the information without information dumps. I really enjoy learning the information alongside the characters. This time, Camden takes me into the underworld of creating synthetic pearls. While the research creates the backdrop for the story, Camden captures the setting for me and really draws me into the story. I could smell the sea breeze and catch a whiff of the Japanese food. As for the spiritual element, there really wasn't that much. Yes, Jenny and Ryan claim to follow Jesus, but they really didn't quote scripture or preach at the readers.

While the ability to tell a story captures my imagination, the characters didn't work that well for me. As for the hero, Ryan, he lied all the time to poor Jenny, even after he told her the truth of where he has been for the past six years. What is going to make him stop lying after they settle down together? I wanted to smack him a whole bunch of times. Once a liar, always a liar. Then Camden gave us Jenny, the heroine, who is a force to be reckon with. She knows what she wants and want is important to her, but she allows Ryan to walk all over her. It undermines her character. The only character to change in the entire story is Finn. Finn is a drug addict who becomes what he has been training to become. I liked Finn and was excited for him when he succeeded.

As for the plot and pace of the story, it was a completely original, yet predictable novel. There were moments that I flipped through to see how many more pages I had to read. Another element that bad me grit my teeth was who the bad person that kept shooting at Ryan. I found it unbelievable. Not that he was trying to kill Ryan off, but his reasons behind doing it. I shook my head. I had a hard time swallowing the reasonings.

In true Camden fashion, To The Farthest Shores, is a great look into the pearl industry around the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As the characters go, I found them not as endearing as her previous characters as they muddled through a plot that didn't capture my attention this time. Even though To the Farthest Shores didn't capture my fancy this time, I will still read the next book 
Elizabeth Camden releases. 

I received a complimentary copy of To The Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden from Bethany House Publishers, and the opinions stated are all my own.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

What do you do if you return to a favorite author and then finding out there latest book didn't work as well as you anticipated?

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