About the Book
Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution to his impossible situation, but he needs Jenny's help. While her loyalty to her country compels her to agree, she was too badly hurt to fall for Ryan again despite his determination to win her back. When an unknown threat from Ryan's past puts everything at risk--including his life--can they overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them in time?
I have never read any of Ms. Camden’s previous books. And based on reading To the Farthest Shores, I am not sure I will attempt another one.
I wanted to love this book. It’s written well (Ms. Camden has a lovely prose style), full of excellent details and research, and the characters had both attributes and flaws. In the end, though, I just couldn’t relate to the characters or connect with them in any way, and so the book fell flat for me.
The setting, just after the Spanish-American War in the early 1900s, is one rarely seen in historical romance, and featured Jenny Bennett, a nurse heroine from a rough upbringing, and Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher, whose service to his country includes dangerous and secret missions.
I liked Jenny well enough, though only at some parts in the story. Though she’s “respectable” at the beginning of the story as a hard-working nurse, her backstory as a child growing up in rough conditions made it seem as if the respectableness was a veneer. I didn’t truly believe she changed as much as Jenny thought she did, and she had issues that I did not feel were resolved satisfactorily.
Ryan is calm. Seriously, he’s so calm I wanted to shake him to make sure he was still alive. And because he is also fairly unobservant (which I found hard to believe as he’s done undercover work in the past), it makes him appear dumber than he is. He’s a perfectly capable character, especially when he’s talking about oysters, but other than that there wasn’t much emotion from him.
I also think it suffered that the majority of the story was told from Jenny’s point of view. Because she was so untrusting I kept wanting to yell at her that she needed to listen to what the other characters were telling her. Ryan was trying to protect her and so he avoided telling her things about his past, which made her lack of trust worse. Lack of communication is a big issue for me in romance and these two hardly talk about anything deep or important.
I know at that time in history, promises to be married were rarely broken and considered nearly as sacred as marriage itself, but I did not interpret Ryan being with, marrying Akira, and having a child with her as “infidelity” and each time Jenny referred to it as such I was thrown a little out of the story. It was definitely a part of what they needed to discuss and work through, but I do not believe I would classify it as such because they weren’t married or even together when those events happened.
I loved the descriptions of oyster farming and the story itself was excellently researched. Unfortunately, my inability to connect or relate to the characters, along with the lack of communication between them, means this is a story that I cannot recommend for romance fans. Lovers of oysters and pearls will enjoy the details Ms. Camden provides. I give it 2/5 stars for the lovely prose, excellent historical detail, the beautifully detailed setting, and the unusual timeframe.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran. Bakery Owner.