Beyond All Dreams

Beyond All DreamsBeyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Bethany House on January 6, 2015
Pages: 368

 

Anna O’Brien, a map librarian for the Library of Congress, enjoys her quiet life even if it might seem boring to the outside world. Her father, a cartographer on the Culpepper, taught her all he knew before his ship sank when she was a young girl. Studying maps always makes Anna feel close to her father, especially since she has had to deal with so much in her life.

Luke Callahan, congressman from Maine, was an up-and-coming young politician before he dared to cross the Speaker of the House. Forced off of important congressional committees and demoted to routine ones, he meets and is intrigued by Anna, the shy map librarian. Even though they are complete opposites, Luke and Anna are drawn together.

When Anna comes to him with suspicions about what really happened to her father’s ship, he wants to help her in any way he can. But the secrets behind it and the political entanglements involved might be more than either of them bargained for.

Set in the heart of the nation’s capital with the United States on the brink of the Spanish-American war, Beyond All Dreams overflows with political intrigue, broken promises, and ultimately forgiveness and hope.

When I started reading this book, I was hooked instantly.

When I started reading this book, I was hooked instantly. I immediately adored the library-loving Anna (to whom I could totally relate), and I thought her job was so interesting. I was also drawn to the story of her father’s ship – the Culpepper – that was lost at sea and the mystery surrounding it.

When the novel introduced the character of Luke, I was not an immediate fan of him. He seemed arrogant, and I was thinking, “How am I going to read about this guy as the ‘hero’ in this book? I don’t like him at all!” But as I kept reading, his character was developed so much more, and I grew to like him more than I thought I would at the beginning. I’m still not totally convinced that I really liked him, but I was able to appreciate him and the reasons behind his actions. I also liked that his character did seem to go through a lot of growth throughout the course of the novel.

I also really liked some of the secondary characters in this book. Anna’s friend Neville was so sweet, and I enjoyed their best friend relationship. His romantic involvement later on in the novel was developed very well. It was also interesting to see how different relationships and alliances developed between the members of Congress and how they worked for and against each other.

Even though the characters in this novel are interesting, what really set it apart are the historical details.

Even though the characters in this novel are interesting, what really set it apart are the historical details. I sometimes get bogged down in political stuff, but this aspect was kept interesting because of the involvement of Luke and Anna. The emotions that people must have been feeling during this time period came across so clearly, and it shed light on a time in American history that I didn’t know too much about.

The romance in this one had a bit of a different flavor to it. I especially liked the constant witty banter between Luke and Anna. That’s always a favorite of mine in a novel. But I wasn’t quite convinced of how the romance ends up. It seemed a bit abrupt. The growth of the characters didn’t so much happen over time as much as just being back-and-forth. I also thought the spiritual side could have been so much deeper. It was there and was sometimes clear, especially with the aspect of forgiveness, but it could have gotten to the heart of the characters so much more.

This novel is definitely not a light read.

This novel is definitely not a light read. There are some heavy issues that are discussed, including drunkenness, abuse, and political cover-ups. It is very realistic at times, but there is definitely a sense of hope and forgiveness in the end.

Overall, Beyond All Dreams is a well-written historical novel that is both complex and compelling, and it sheds light on some possibly unknown aspects of the United States and its political life.

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