Elizabeth Camden paints the most realistic pictures of times gone by. She has displayed her artistry again in Until the Dawn, a novel set in the late 1800s in the Hudson River Valley. Dierenpark is an abandoned mansion high overlooking the Hudson River. Although the house is supposedly cursed, that onus has not kept the citizens of the tiny village adjoining the property from keeping the mansion as a tourist draw. Sophie van Rijn has, in fact, built a rudimentary weather station on the roof to aid her in her quest to have her village become the site of the Weather Bureau’s next permanent station. The riverboats stop at the pier, the guides tell the gruesome story of the Vandermarks and their curse, the townspeople sell pastries and postcards.
All comes to a screeching halt the day the Vandermarks return. Sophie, who has served as the chatelaine of the household in their absence, runs afoul of the crusty curmudgeon who is Quentin Vandermark. Sophie discovers to her horror the reason for the presence of the Quentin and his son, Pieter, is for Quentin to draw up plans to totally destroy Dierenpark.
Sophie is appalled, to say the least, to find the enmity Quentin holds against the house and his heritage. She finds Dierenpark and the environs to be a piece of Paradise, which is what Direnpark means. The Edenic gardens and surroundings have been her solace for years.
Sophie and Quentin engage in a duel of wits: Sophie with cheerfulness and Christian demeanor; Quentin with depression and belief in nothing but Science. How Sophie endeavors to win over Quentin, her building relationship with Pieter, her winning over of the gruff bodyguards all come together in a marvelous story of God’s goodness and grace.
You’ll want to visit this Eden, meet her characters, and revel in the byplay of engaging personalities found in Until the Dawn. Four plus stars!Elizabeth Camden has written seven historical novels and has won both the RITA and Christy Awards. She has master’s degrees in both history and library science and works as a research librarian days and a novelist by night. She and her husband live in Florida. Learn more at ElizabethCamden.com.
Bethany House gave me a copy of Until the Dawn in exchange for my unbiased review.