When my kids ask me who my favorite authors are, Elizabeth Camden is at the top of my list. She has a way with historical fiction that draws me in and inspires me to learn more about the time period she wrote about. Recently I was given the opportunity to review her latest book, A Dangerous Legacy.
Lucy Drake and her brother Nick are the grandchildren of a man who invented a plumbing valve to send water up, enabling apartment tenants in New York City to have running water. This was a big deal in 1903, and it is their goal to ensure even lower income residents don't have to lug buckets up the stairs daily. Unfortunately, their grandfather had a misunderstanding with his brother, and Lucy and Nick's Uncle Thomas owns the company that manufactures and sells the valves. He does not have the same vision, rather his vision is of extravagant living and high prices. This leaves Lucy and Nick no choice but to illegally install handmade versions of the valves and hope they don't bring more of their uncle's wrath upon the building owners. By day Nick works for the city's Municipal Water Authority and Lucy is a telegraph operator for the Associated Press. They are the third generation in this family feud, and are determined to win a lawsuit that their uncle is just as persistent about.
Colin Beckwith has come to New York City to head the Reuters news agency. He is passionate about his job in America, but a sense of keeping up his ancestor's legacy and title has him constantly worried about how to maintain the home and land he left back in England. As so many have done before him, he intends to marry for money. It is the only way to repair his aging estate and to care for the tenants who live on his land. Because he can't pass up a good mystery, he soon becomes involved in Lucy's quest to find out more about her uncle and his business practices. In the meantime, he learns more about Lucy than she's ever shared with anyone besides her brother. Colin confides in her as well, telling her about the anxiety (PTSD) he experiences as a result of being a foreign correspondent during the Boer War.
This time period is full of excitement, and the course for the Panama Canal is still being decided. The AP depends on Reuters and their Atlantic cable for incoming wires, because the transpacific cable is not yet complete. Lucy doesn't think very highly of Colin, because of an embarrassing situation that occurred when they first met, yet she must associate with him because of her job responsibilities. Soon they begin to realize how well suited they are for each other, but because their lives are so different, they know a relationship cannot be. Lucy and Nick have the lawsuit with their uncle to win, and Colin has his title to maintain. Uncle Thomas is as ruthless as ever, but Lucy suspects he is involved in an assassination plot. Lucy and Colin are determined to uncover the truth.
One thing that I love about Elizabeth Camden's books is the themes she includes in her stories. There are some minor ones, but the main theme is always eye opening and refreshing. Later on in this story, Lucy has a moment of awakening; she has let so many opportunities pass her by because her life is dedicated to the lawsuit. She begins to change, and tells Colin how he can change too. He is appalled. The author wants us to understand how precious life is, and sums up the theme in this quote, "Life was too grand to waste it chasing after old grievances or impossible dreams."
Despite the seemingly impossible hurdles before them, Lucy and Colin eventually figure out how to overcome them. It's pretty exciting to discover how they both change their lives for good and let go of the burdens they were carrying. This story is a great reminder to love every minute of life and to always look for what is best, not just what is good.
I received this product for free from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest opinions. I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.