Monday, August 18, 2014

My review: With Every Breath

"Was she brave enough to love when it was hard?" - Kate Livingston, page 240

In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston's respectable life as a government worker is disrupted by an encounter with the insufferable Trevor McDonough, the one man she'd hoped never to see again. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and business is the only reason he has sought her out now.
Despite her misgivings, Kate agrees to Trevor's risky proposal to join him in his work to find a cure for tuberculosis. As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, his hidden depths fascinate her. However, a shadowy enemy lies in wait and Trevor's closely guarded secrets are darker than she ever suspected.
As revelations from the past threaten to destroy their careers, their dreams, and even their lives, Trevor and Kate find themselves in a painfully impossible situation. With everything to lose, they must find the strength to trust that hope and love can prevail over all.

About the Author:
Elizabeth Camden is the award-winning author of five books, including Against the Tide, which won a RITA Award, a Christy Award, and a Daphne du Maurier Award. With master's degrees in history and in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at
(Description and about the author from Christian Book.  Cover photo from Amazon.)

My review: 5 stars
Another for the keeper shelf!I have loved Elizabeth Camden’s other books, so the fact that I absolutely adored With Every Breath comes as no surprise. I had very high expectations for it and am thrilled to be able to say that it surpassed them all!

One thing that is always a given in Ms. Camden’s book is the historical accuracy and detail. She seamlessly weaves it in a story, bringing the setting and time period to life, without overwhelming readers. Her writing was fantastic, as always, as were the descriptions. I often felt like I was actually there, with the characters. I was drawn in from the first page and didn’t want to put it down!

It’s a toss up who I loved more - Kate Livingston, or Trevor McDonough. Kate is a great protagonist and I was drawn to her immediately, wanting to find out who she was and what made her different. She is bold, determined, competitive, sarcastic, a bit nosy, but also kind and caring. She takes care of everyone, in little ways and can’t help but care about everyone she meets. This is also a problem for her, since it means facing her biggest fear. She sounds almost perfect, but her fear made her human, real. I felt for her and was cheering her on every step of the way. I loved watching her grow and learn to trust God more fully.

Trevor McDonough is the “hero” of this novel, though he is a very atypical one. He is a doctor, determined to find a cure for tuberculosis, not exactly an exciting career. His description isn’t overly dashing, either. But Ms. Camden has a talent for creating unlikely and unique characters, and making us fall in love with them anyway. And seeing him through Kate’s eyes quickly changed my opinion of him, anyway. Trevor is just as determined, competitive and sarcastic as Kate, which led to many interesting encounters between them. I loved getting to know him, too. Learning what made him the way he was, finding out what made him tick - I felt like Kate, nagging at him to find out his secrets.

I loved Kate and Trevor’s relationship. They knew each other from years ago and quickly fall into their familiar banter, picking at each other and nagging. Ms. Camden had me laughing out loud several times at the outrageous things they would say to each other. They are both unswervingly blunt, especially Trevor, which makes for an interesting friendship. I love this quote, which I think sums up their relationship really well. “I always thought you and Trevor McDonough were destined to be either mortal enemies or the very best of friends. You’re too alike to be anything else.” - Charlie Davis, page 36

They are both incredibly stubborn, as well, and face off often. But what makes them so special is that they started off as enemies, slowly became friends, then ended up as something more. I kind of wish Ms. Camden could have done a few chapters with them after marriage, so we could see them in that light, but I understand that probably wouldn’t have worked very well - I can dream anyway.

There is also a mystery woven throughout the story. While it was rarely the main focus, it still fascinated me and I kept trying to guess “whodunit” - I was wrong, in case you were wondering. I did love having that aspect in it, a little mystery and suspense to give Kate and Trevor something else to argue about. I also really enjoyed that I wasn’t even close to guessing who the “villain” was.

The spiritual theme was one that really touched my heart. Trevor’s faith isn’t mentioned that much, except for when he’s talking with Kate, but for Kate it was a big deal. She had to learn to trust God again. I really appreciated how carefully Ms. Camden dealt with this subject. She never made Kate seem foolish for struggling with trust, but rather gently guided her through Trevor and a few other people toward Him. And after losing her brothers and husband, I kind of think she had a right to fear losing anyone else. But her work with tuberculosis pretty much guaranteed that she would face more loss. I love this quote, taken from when she realizes that she either has to figure out how to confront her fear and trust God, or risk losing more than she was willing to.

“God never asked her to understand Him. He asked her to trust Him.” - Kate Livingston That’s pretty much the definition of faith - trusting, even when you don’t understand.

I honestly can’t think of a single thing I did not like about this book - a rarity for me. As I’ve already said, I loved the characters, the dialogue, Ms. Camden’s writing, the historical facet, and the spiritual theme. To sum it up, I loved everything about it! I even enjoyed the ending, which is always the worst part of a great book for me. I don’t want it to end! But Ms. Camden did an excellent job of tying all the loose ends together and bringing it to a satisfying end.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys excellent historical romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher 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 my own.

*Please note, all quotations used with permission from the publisher. No infringement intended.

Okay, I have to confess that even though I loved the book, I don't particularly like the cover.  I'm sorry, but it's one of the few from Bethany House Publishing that I really just don't like.  The overall effect is just a little off, I think, and after reading the story, I honestly still cannot explain the background they used.

On a different subject - what are your thoughts about the quote I opened with?  To refresh your memory is was, "Was she brave enough to love when it was hard?"  This quote really challenges me.  It's easy to love in the good times, when things are going well and everyone is happy.  But when times get tough and you're faced with everything life can throw at you, it's not so easy.  In fact, for a lot of people, it's almost impossible.  It's human nature to run, to try to protect yourself, but that isn't love - that's being selfish . . . .  You, know, I read an interesting statement just yesterday, "Love is the antithesis of selfishness."  It was actually a sample sentence in a dictionary, but how true that is. 
And I will close with that, because I could talk about this all day, but I honestly don't think either of us has the time for that - me for typing it, you for reading it.  I will probably do another post later about it.

Well, thank you for stopping by my blog!  I know this isn't really a normal review post, but that's okay, right?  Sometimes something different is a good thing.
As usual, here are the links I have for the book, if you want to check it out and maybe consider purchasing a copy.


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

I hope you have a wonderful week! :)


1 comment:

  1. I love the way you review, Sarah - posting a brief description and then the rest of it is your thoughts. I've read one other book by Elizabeth Camden, which I greatly enjoyed, so I'm looking forward to this one as well. It's in my review stack!