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Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden - REVIEW

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Publication Date: October 1st, 2012

Publisher: Bethany House

Genre: Historical Fiction



As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.



This was such a unique read for me. I was initially drawn to the cover, because I love historical fiction and sailing, but upon reading the synopsis it became a must read.

I haven’t read anything before set in Boston in the 1890s, nor have I read anything where the lead is a translator. Then there is the sub-plot of dismantling an underground opium trade… honestly, SO unique.

Against the Tide could be marketed as a romance (or more accurately a ‘soft’ romance) but I wouldn’t even go that far. This book is more about a woman learning to rely on herself and be strong by herself. Bane was certainly an interesting character and brought more of the sub-plot into play, but I don’t really see him as a swoony romantic interest.

My only big issue with this book was the amount of preaching. It is heavily leaning towards Christian romance in that Bane has found God and now wants everyone else to as well, especially Lydia. I understand the idea of this and feeling like this thing has saved you and you want everyone to be able to find strength in the same way, but Bane was really pressuring in my opinion and I felt very uncomfortable at times. And I’m a Catholic.

Lydia’s character was the best part of this book though. Her story was everything I wanted it to be. Her growth was perfect, her attitude was honest and relate-able. Then adding in some undercover spy-type goodness. It really was a treat. Bane was simply the catalyst that let Lydia find her own strength though.

I think I will look for more from this author but I will be bit more wary regarding the religious undertones which I am sure show in her other works. Camden has shown that she is a wonderful story-teller, historian and writer though with this book and I am eager to see what else she can come up with.

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