Friday, May 8, 2020

Elizabeth Camden - Against the Tide

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.

Comment: Six years later, I've picked another book by this author. I liked the other one I tried well enough but it wasn't the marvel it could have been. I was confident this could be better because the blurb appealed more to me and, besides, the heroine works as a translator, that is always a plus since I am one too!

In this story we meet heroine Lydia Pallas, a young woman who works as a translator for the Navy, since not only is she good with languages but her Greek and Turk origins along with her parent's several travels while she was a young girl, have prepared her to soak up knowledge.
Lady has had a miserable childhood but she has gone up in her world and working for the Navy is a dream for her. She even endures the sporadic visits of Alexander Banebridge, a man with whom her boss, admiral Fontaine, has some business. Bane is charming but a little cynical and he provokes Lydia immensely, and she only starts talking to him when he asks her to translate some documents.
From that first connection to a dangerous mission is quite a step, one filled with heartbreak, but will Lydia be able to win her own demons to help a man who also has a lot to atone for in his mind?

A translator heroine who not only does something she likes but she can try to help save people from a bad man? I mean... comics should bet on this idea.
I was so eager to read this based on this blurb, I'll always be on the look for possible translator heroines since I'm one too and I actually liked how, in this novel, Lydia often shared her passion for her work, her profession was not just a means to an end!

The story starts with a heartbreaking prologue but one I liked because it gave me a glimpse of what kind of person Lydia would become and I felt immensely connected with her and wished her to succeed. I imagined immediately that her life would be hard but through her job, her passion for life and a possible love interest, her story would end up with a brilliant HEA.
In fact, I should say I was a little out of reality because I did read another book by the author so I should have known her style and "voice" were more into drama than sweet romance...

This was a fascinating story. At the end of the book, the author included some notes on her research to this story and it's always good to have some kind of factual confirmation on the things we read. I like historical accuracy as any other reader and I don't mind how authors usually insert real things in their fictional plots. I liked learning a few things here and there and I don't think there was ever a sense of info dump in how the real life facts were presented by the author.

What failed, again - like with the other book by her I tried - was the lack of romance, even for an inspirational book, and the piling up of the drama and harsh scenes to worry the reader so much that the whole plot felt too much, too complicated, too severe in some points.

I knew this would not be a book where the main couple would have many romantic scenes together but I hoped, especially after the prologue and first chapter, that their relationship would g more towards a certain path... I wouldn't even have minded all the drama the heroine goes through, nor the challenges she faces over a health problem she has and not even the all that spying/rescue mission she embarks on, so she can help those she cares about.
However, these things were enough to sustain the drama of the story.
I think the hero, then, should have been a better counterbalance to her and be less punished by guilt and the whole hero complex he suffers from in order to make a right out of wrong done to him anyway.

I know I'm being vague on purpose but of only the drama had been less harsh, I would have believed their feelings more, I'd have welcomed their relationship as a real partnership. They end up together, this is obviously not a surprise, but I wish I could think of them as a strong couple, free of past doubts. The author did include many scenes of them talking, sharing mutual preferences, thinking positively of one another, accepting each others' flaws and passions, on paper is all there. But I still feel everything was done with too much drama and quests of the mind to really be a sweet story when it was necessary.

I liked reading the book, don't be mistaken, but it had all the potential to be such a marvelous romance... as for the faith element, it was an add-on, to be honest. It was absolutely unnecessary to this story, it felt like it was there because of this book's labeling and didn't add anything to the plot.
The end is happy, of course, the main plot points are solved and everyone supposedly lives happy ever after in the midst of so many problems with the world but...the main couple achieved their goal.

This was a good story but it suffered form wanting to reach to many ideas, too many things and the romance could have been ..well, more romantic.
Nevertheless, I'll still read another book by the author some day...
Grade: 6/10

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