I almost don’t want to write today’s book review. It isn’t that I didn’t like the book – it’s more that I don’t want to give a single thing away! I have read many great books, but it isn’t very often that I come across a truly surprising book. First-time novelist Elizabeth Camden has succeeded in presenting just such a novel with The Lady of Bolton Hill.
Daniel Tremain is a brilliant young man trapped in the poverty-stricken world of a Baltimore steel mill life. Clara Endicott is the daughter of a wealthy and extremely influential minister. Their two worlds collide when Daniel’s passion for music leads him to Clara’s doorstep. A deep, fast friendship develops over the next few years as they pursue music together, their friendship becoming the sanctuary from the demands of their separate lives. But Clara’s father has great plans for his daughter, and he is determined that nothing stand in the way of her success, including young Daniel Tremain. Twelve years later a very different Daniel and Clara are reunited, finding their friendship as strong as ever. But, bitterness threatens to ruin their relationship in a way separation never could.
That is where the similarity to a typical Christian fiction romance ends. The Lady of Bolton Hill is full of intrigue and unexpected turns. Just when it begins to seem to fall into a predictable pattern, a new twist is introduced. Yet through it all, a very foundational and natural faith is present. Admittedly, at times Clara’s faith seems rather idealistic, but before the book’s end, both her idealism and faith are challenged in a very powerful way.
Because of the complexity of the plot as compared to the length of the book, there were some intricacies and personalities that were not explored as fully as they could have been. Occasionally that led to some confusion as to how different components fit together. But, Camden’s skill as a storyteller truly does compensate for those few flaws. The Lady of Bolton Hill is undoubtedly a remarkable debut, and I will definitely be watching for future releases from this new author.
This book was sent to me for review by Bethany House.