Karen Witeymeyer's newest book is a great read with a compelling storyline, quirky characters, and interesting historical detail!
When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?
Nicole Renard returns how to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.
Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans.
After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.
Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy?
(Description copied from back cover - italics mine)
About the author:
Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and shower singer, and she bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com
(Author bio copied from book. Cover photo from DeeperShopping.com)
My review: 4 stars
Karen Witemeyer does it again!I’m a huge fan of Ms. Witemeyer’s, so of course when I saw this book listed as an upcoming release back in January I was really excited and couldn’t wait to read it. The title alone had me curious and when I found out it was about a man who spent his time blowing up engines I was sure I was going to love the book. I’m happy to say that I was exactly right and liked this book very much!
Nicole Renard is a little bit of the stereotypical heroine. She is a Texan, so she is strong, spunky, stubborn, and determined. What sets her apart is her intelligence and refinement. She isn’t one of the pioneer women a lot of people expect in a historical novel set in Texas - the one who carries a shot gun and has a passel of children (though, she does have a dagger). Instead she is smart - almost as intelligent as Darius sometimes, and she doesn’t hide it, which I appreciated it. I liked her almost at once. While being all the things I listed above, she is also sweet and caring. I loved how she took care of Darius and stood up to him when he was being bullheaded. I enjoyed getting to know her and following her thoughts throughout the story.
Darius Thornton is our hero and what an captivating character he is. He is part mad scientist, part gentleman, and part tortured soul, which makes for a strangely compelling combination. I liked him right from the start. We get to know his background in the prologue, so I felt I had a pretty good grip on his characters, but then there’s a twist - before Nicole meets him, she is warned about the loony Easterner who blows up stuff on his property! What could be more intriguing? I really liked how analytical he is, but that doesn’t stop him from being impulsive too. He is also sweet and kind, when he manages to pull himself out of his work. I also said he is tortured, which is true. He feels responsible for an accident and desires to atone for what he sees as his biggest failure. I really enjoyed this part of the story, because it allows Ms. Witemeyer to explore one of the main spiritual themes in this book: forgiveness. I love this quote from the book, “But when you continue clinging to your feelings of guilt, this God-given mission becomes nothing more than self-imposed penance.” Nicole Renard, page 185
Darius felt so guilty that he wouldn’t allow God to forgive him, to make him new. I really appreciated how Karen handled this rather sensitive subject, allowing it to play out in a way that brought resolution, but not without a struggle for Darius. A struggle to accept what God was offering and to let go of the past.
Nicole also has a struggle to face. She has spent all of her life trying to make up for the fact that she wasn’t born the son her father desired. So when he tasks her with finding him an heir (and therefore a husband for herself), she is determined to find the kind of man her father needs for his business, without even thinking of what kind of man she needs for a husband. She also feels the family heirloom dagger means more to her father than she does. I hated that she felt that way and just wanted to shake her father for ever letting her think that, let alone believe it! My favorite part of the story is when her father finally tells her how much she means to him.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I have a complaint. The romance between Darius and Nicole felt rushed. This book only covers a matter of weeks, so that is to be expected, but it still bothered me a little. They were kissing only a few days after meeting and after the first kiss, Darius decides she is “his match.” I’m sorry, but that seems a bit far fetched to me.
I highly recommend this book if you enjoy historical romance with quirky characters and a compelling story.
I received this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are mine.
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