Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Review: Until the Dawn


Until the Dawn
Elizabeth Camden
Until the Dawn Series #1

A volunteer for the newly established Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn needs access to the highest spot in her village to report the most accurate readings. Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie knows no better option despite a lack of permission from the absent owners.

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover a local woman has been trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark and the Vandermark family history are no longer content to stay in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?


In Until the Dawn, Sophie van Riijn’s goal in life is to convince the government to create a permanent weather station in her country town.  She already has a temporary one set up on the roof of the historic mansion nearby…which creates a problem when the owner comes back after a sixty year absence to find that Sophie had set it up without his permission.  Then, when she finds out the owners plan to demolish the ancient building because of the curse ascribed to it, Sophie determines to convince them otherwise.

Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden was a beautifully written historical romance.  It reminded me of the fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast.”  Sophie was beautiful inside and out, though she was considered a little odd by the townsfolk.  And Quentin is “the Beast,” with his lame leg and unpleasant personality.  I loved seeing how Sophie’s light shone through the darkness and depression in Quentin’s life!

I loved the character Sophie very much.  She was a sweet, beautiful person in every way.  She faithfully pursued her dreams even when the town thought Sophie a fool for doing so.  Her endless passion and kindness made me forget that she was only moderately intelligent (meaning she was a B/C average in grade school and no degree); I only comment on this because it became a problem for some of her goals—she was intelligent in many other ways!  And, as a side note, I would really like to try the cooking she was so famous for. 

The setting was the ancient estate of Dierenpark, which had been empty for several decades.  The estate was described so beautifully, I want to go there!  I could not find any information online about it, making me think it is an imaginary location, but I commend the author for her lovely descriptions that captured my imagination.

A major theme in Until the Dawn is Science versus Religion.  The characters even went so far as to have a literal competition between the two sides, each trying to prove the other invalid.  It was very interesting to read about.  I will not tell which side won, but I was quite satisfied with how the competition ended.  But the question makes me wonder what would have happened in this situation if it had been the real world.  As realistic as the author made the story seem, it is still a work of fiction, and, unless the situation really did exist, there is no way to know how true it would be.

In all, I really enjoyed this book.  It was worth all the time I spent reading it, and I hope to read more of Elizabeth Camden’s books in the future.  I recommend it to those who enjoy sweet historical romances. 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  

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