Book Review: Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! this book by Elizabeth Camden.

Into the Whirlwind is definitely a whirlwind book.

The book takes us through the tumult the Great Chicago Fire and the aftermath.  We meet two people, Mollie Knox and Zach Kazmerak.  Mollie is the owner of the 57th Illinois Watch Company.  Zach is the lawyer and main procurer for a large department store.  They know each other on a purely business level but we begin to understand that Zach is more than a little interested in Mollie.

Zach’s employers wants to make a deal with Mollie to buy her watch company.  This includes all papers, watch designs, parts…everything.  Mollie does not understand everything and is a bit overwhelmed by Zach and his speed of doing business.  Mollie is a plodder.  She needs to view a situation, make calculations and then decide on what the most favorable outcome will be.   But some unfinished business between her father and the owner of the department store brings about a large share of mistrust and miscommunication between Zach and Mollie.

Will the two of them ever be able to come to an agreement or will there always be mistrust between them?  Will Mollie ever get her watch company back up and running after being destroyed physically and spiritually by the Great Chicago Fire?  You have to read to find out.

I really enjoyed this story and it truly sucked me in.  I liked the development of the characters and the pacing.  Mollie Knox is someone I can relate to and she is likable.  I understand her feeling of being overwhelmed running a business and trying to keep it afloat.  There is an isolation in that no one, but a fellow business owner can understand.  So many people depend on you!

I fell in love with Zach Kazmerak.  He is street smart, business savvy and a bit ruthless.  But under that polished exterior lays a poet who wants love but can never get it unless he compromises his loyalty to his boss.  And it’s his loyalty as well as his unflagging strength that pulled me to him.  I have always been a sucker for a hidden poet…whose easy on the eyes and who also knows the importance of a long days work.

I really felt for Mollie and Zach.  I think part of that reason it intrigued me and sucked me in is that I can relate to the whole fire experience.  We had our own little fire in our town almost a year ago and so I can totally commiserate with the whole thing albeit on a much smaller scale.

Character development, plot line and story pacing are wonderful.  There is plenty of descriptive writing and enough history woven on the pages that you actually feel like you could be reading a first hand experience of what happened to many folks during those awful 36 hours and the subsequent aftermath.

If you like reading a little bit of history melded with a wonderful love story and hard-working folks then Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden is a great start.

I was sent this book by Bethany House Publishers and I am not required to give it a good review but I did because I liked it.

Review: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

 I was not sure what to expect when I received my copy of “Against the Tide” by Elizabeth Camden since I have never read any of her work before. The little bit I was given from Bethany House seemed interesting, but I was a bit concerned that it might not be something I would be able to sink my teeth into.  Usually…if a story’s back cover cannot capture my attention then I am sort of leery of the book…but I was am happy to say…bad pun coming…you cannot judge a book by it’s cover…er…back cover.

“Against the Tide” is the story of Lydia Pallas and Alexander Banebridge. Lydia is an orphan who grows up in Boston. She works at the Naval Ship Yard as a translator thanks to her early years living in different countries with her family. Lydia is tragically torn from her family when their boat does not return to harbor in Boston. Alexander Banebridge is an enigmatic man who visits Lydia’s boss on an infrequent basis. He is handsome in a classical sense, but he is remote. He never fails to mess with Lydia’s items on her desk whenever he comes to visit. Lydia and Bane (his nickname) strike up a partnership of sorts when he needs a translator.

The reader is taken on a wonderful ride through their unconventional courtship and as a watcher of this courtship dance, the reader is definitely rooting for Lydia to have love. Not just love, but also stability and a family. Someone to call her own. We find out that Bane also wants those things but for his own reasons, denies himself and her.

I like how Camden does not make the two characters overly sweet. It would not be with the keeping of their characters. They are both fiercely independent and have a good sense of self worth. Their love story is really a side note to the rest of the story which involves political intrigue, drug abuse, reformation and kidnapping. Faith does play a big part of this story but it is more subdued than other stories I have read.

I really enjoyed the pacing of this story, the characters and the plot. If you are interested in a fantastic read for a winter night (heck, any night) then this book is for you.  It’s a fascinating blend of history, great story and a wonderful (redemptive) romance.