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To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden
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To the Farthest Shores (2017)

by Elizabeth Camden

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Unfortunately, this volume of Camden‘s was not my cup of tea. In fact, I think it stands as my least favorite of hers. She still has that special touch in finding the obscure in history and weaving an intricate historical background and story. It’s her lead characters and their chemistry together I’ve got an issue with.

Intriguing and not well known, the early spy scene pre-World War I was a fascinating choice as background for her story. She does a fantastic job in exploring the early methods of spy training and of the requirements for such a position. The motivations for an individual to choose such a shadowy career path, given the preoccupation with honor and reputation in society at the time, also added a unique depth to the story and the reasons the characters did what they did.

Her Christian values component was handled OK to a point, being very important themes to promote. The themes of forgiveness and compromise made themselves known with no problems. Yet, that’s where this part faltered a bit also. There were times where I felt the forgiveness theme was pushed too hard. They felt pushed down my throat, definitely not how Camden‘s themes have been handled in the past. Her subtlety in this area were sorely lacking in this newest novel.

When it comes to the lead’s personalities, Camden didn’t do too badly. They’re not outstanding but their workable. I like Jenny’s gritty determination to make something of herself and her courage to face the problems of her past to build a future. I also liked Ryan’s gentle nature and caring heart. If ever there was an individual not suited for spy work, I think it be him. He’s too honest and sweet; yet somehow he pulled it off for years so there must be some hidden depths there.

Individually these two people stand out; together, they are a mess. They don’t work at all. There’s no chemistry there. I felt Jenny was too strong a personality for Ryan; she’d run right over him domestically. The will and determination I admired in her would subsume Ryan’s gentleness with a vengeance. I just don’t see them working together, and the narrative shows that. I got extremely bored with their interactions, wishing like crazy that Jenny we just move onto another man who fit her better. In fact, I felt Finn was a far better fit for her personality wise, even though he wasn’t in the running.

While I’ve admired Camden‘s works in the past for their subtle interweaving of Christian themes (especially important for her non-Christian readers like me), her obscure historical backgrounds, and strong yet human characters, this newest addition to her body of work doesn’t stand up. Her leads have absolutely no chemistry together, and the subtleness of her themes isn’t there. If ever you’re going to give Camden a try, skip this one. I’d skip it anyway, even if you’re a fan. I’ll still look for her works in the future; I’m thinking this one might’ve been just a bad fluke. Time will tell.

Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley and exchange for an honest review. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Oct 23, 2017 |
Maybe 2.5 Wow. This book was just- so bad. Haha. I loved Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden. I put a bunch of her others on my "want to read list", but I have just not been impressed.
I really think it would be fun to tear this book up page by page, but because that would feel a little hostile, I am just going to say a few things.
1) I believe this book was written for women who only have time to read a few pages at a time, or older women who are losing my memory. Because, it repeated itself a ridiculous amount. The author felt the need to remind us about really basic plot information every few chapters. I just wanted to yell "I KNOW she has a hard time forgiving him because she felt he was unfaithful to her! She went into great detail about her feelings about 10 pages ago! Does she not have any other thoughts or emotions?!!"
That still felt kind of hostile.
2) I wanted to slap the main character. She had a whirlwind relationship with a boy for three months. It ended in an impulsive, informal proposal. He leaves on a boat and 6 years later she finds out that he got married in Japan while he was being a spy there. And she can't forgive him for his "infidelity" with a woman that he had known during his entire childhood. He is a widower now, and has a child- and she has no capacity for compassion and her bitterness for him leaves no room for his 4 year old daughter.
AND- he apologizes over and over for it- and says he regrets ever marrying. And she still couldn't forgive him. Who can be OK with letting a man apologize for his DEAD WIFE, the mother of his child! I just couldn't like her. It literally took her to the very last part of the book for her to realize what a crappy human being she was being.
That annoying behavior, coupled with the annoying repetitive thoughts- I just wanted to just put the book down.
I didn't though- why didn't I? Because I haven't finished a real book in a few days, but I've started like 10. This was the easiest one to just finish.
3) I don't consider myself a feminist, but for a girl who was supposed to be tough from growing up on the streets, this girl was sure happy to let the men push her around.
The worst part was when she speaks her mind do her father. He's broke, she is giving him all her money, and he is spending that money irresponsibly. Then this man who has barely just reenters the scene after 6 years- a man she is bitter against and has no good feelings toward, tells her she has no right to yell at him. I was fully expecting her to give him a piece of her mind. The gall! But she shuts right up and obediently asks for her father's forgiveness for being mad at him for wasting the money that she is breaking her back to earn.
What?!!!

I understand that it is a cheesy historical romance. I am WAY overthinking this. But, I do a lot of reading. There is well written, thought provoking literature- and there is cheesy, fun, clean, somewhat realistic, (which is the part I think drives me nuts) literature. This is the latter. Just don't overthink it, and you'll probably love it. ( )
  mollypitchermary | Oct 11, 2017 |
This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Camden and now I'm going to have to go read all of her books. I think I picked up the book because it took place in San Francisco, at least at the beginning. The spy element and attempted killing made the book exciting and the pearl farming made it interesting. ( )
  eliorajoy | Jun 8, 2017 |
Friday, June 2, 2017
To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden, © 2017

My Review:

Going on with your life after looking for a letter that never came from the one you will always love. Surely he would change his mind after the first letter declaring their relationship was over. Six years of trying to forget yet wondering why you have been left behind, civilian nurse Jenny Bennett continues on the night shift at the Presidio Army base hospital in San Francisco, California. Having honor and achievement in helping injured men readjust to civilian life differently than when they left home, her life is going along smoothly ~ until the day she thought she recognized the voice from her heart. Ryan Gallagher, whom she had met those years ago in the same ward she now attended. But wait. There is a child with him. How could it be her Ryan, the one who won her heart?

Naval Lt. Ryan Gallagher is back from assignment and unable to say where he has been. In the meantime, as the rest of his troop had gone to the Philippines those years ago, he is still spoken of in the ward as a deserter. Valor set aside, he must continue on silently. Can he reclaim his life?

And his daughter ~ little Lily Gallagher is defining a determined will to learn a second language that will benefit her in her future womanhood. So thankful for the times something you think is a small little thing as you do it, actually benefits in the future and prepares you for what is ahead. Strenuous to learn to read and write the language beyond speaking, Lily masters skills set before her.

A child draws closeness in Ryan and a humbled heart to those around her.

To melt a hardened heart... Jenny wondered how deeply the thaw would need be. Forgive abandonment and being set aside?

When a reluctant spy falls in love with an army nurse,
they can’t imagine the web of intrigue and adventure
heading their way. ~ author Elizabeth Camden

In this story, the characters each have need to explore their defiance and cause. Loneliness on Ryan's part, missing Jenny? Or, overcome with remembrance of a youth that was snuffed out before time allowed. Secondary characters are supportive and agreeable to find a solution that is amiable to all. For in any life, those surrounding them are affected too by change that has or needs to be made to free them to live a life full of grace and forgiveness. Coming alongside to trust will be a journey ~ desired or not. To be freed from a past that strangles any hope for today if not left to continue forward. Determined, it takes more than one to accomplish a freedom available and tangible in a Love offered freely.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
"For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes." Jeremiah 31:25

I write historical novels blending romance, adventure, and a hint of inspiration.
When not writing, I am a research librarian at a great college in Florida.
~ author Elizabeth Camden

***Thank you, Bethany House Publishers for a print copy of To the Farthest Shores. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.*** ( )
  lanehillhouse | Jun 2, 2017 |
Title: To the Farthest Shores
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Pages: 330
Year: 2017
Publisher: Bethany House
My rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
The year is 1898 in San Francisco. Ryan Gallagher has just received a secret assignment overseas that should last just a few months. He has fallen in love with Jenny Bennett a nurse at Presidio Army Base. He asks her to wait for his return and then they will marry and start their lives together. She agrees and then receives one terse letter from him approximately a year later telling her their arrangement is no longer in force and to go on with her life. Jenny is devastated and terribly hurt.
Six years later she runs into Ryan at Presidio. She is still a nurse there, but is stunned to see Ryan after such a long time and then he pretends not to know her! She is incensed and soon confronts him. He does acknowledge her then, but evades her questions. She knows he is hiding something, but her heart still surges at the sight of him. How can someone who said he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her treat her so callously? Why did things change? What secrets is Ryan hiding? Jenny soon has some of her answers when Ryan is forced to seek her help with a man he is training. Ryan needs Jenny’s nursing skills to bring this man back to good health. Jenny and Ryan then are in close proximity for several weeks and Jenny’s trust issues from the past continue to haunt her. She sees Ryan at his home, trying to cultivate a pearl farm, which has been a fascination for he and her father for years. Is this the real Ryan or is he the secretive man who tells half-truths?
I always look forward to reading Elizabeth Camden’s novels as they engage me right away with something historically interesting. This novel is no exception. I learned about the pearl industry in the late 1890s and early 1900s, which is a topic I knew nothing about. Elizabeth does such a great job of research and includes many interesting facts, so I know I’m going to learn a lot as well as enjoy a great story! In addition to romance, this story showed great depths of compassion and forgiveness by more than one character. I’m already looking forward to Elizabeth’s next book as I can’t wait to see what new subject I get to learn about and what romance I can enjoy! ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | May 12, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764218808, Paperback)

Acclaimed and Award-Winning Author's Talent Continues to Win Fans

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness.

Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.

Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 22 Jun 2016 03:06:06 -0400)

It has been six years since army nurse Jenny Bennett's heart was broken by a dashing naval officer. Now Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher has abruptly reappeared in her life at the Presidio army base but refuses to discuss the inexplicable behavior that destroyed their happiness. Ryan is in an impossible situation. One of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring assignment, he accepted a government mission overseas that caused his reputation to be destroyed and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor bound never to reveal where he had been during those six years, he can't tell Jenny the truth or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk. Although Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution, he can't pull it off on his own. Loyalty to her country compels Jenny to help, but she never could have imagined the intrigue she and Ryan will have to face or the lengths to which they will have to go to succeed.… (more)

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