Full Steam Ahead
About This Book
When love simmers between a reclusive scientist and a wealthy debutante, will they abandon ship or is it full steam ahead?
Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole’s father has always focused on what she’s not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping.
Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it’s too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family’s greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father’s rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change to Nicole’s plans.
After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world.
Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father’s rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family’s legacy?
I have not only read all of Karen’s previous books, but have re-read and read again and, oh, maybe read once (or 20 times) more every single one. I’m not one to call myself the biggest fan of much, but when it comes to Karen Witemeyer, I pretty much worship the literary ground she walks on.
So my expectations were high with Full Steam Ahead. As with all of Karen’s Historical Romances, I expected a toe-tingling, swoon-worthy romance, a great historical setting rich with period details, a spunky heroine who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants, a hero who turns my knees to Jell-O, quirky secondary characters, and a high-tension, conflict-driven story.
Above all, I expected beautiful prose. Karen consistently demonstrates a vivid, highly sensory writing style with expert use of Deep Third-Person POV, so I expected nothing less in this new book. Beautiful turns of phrase, splendid similes and metaphors, and distinct character voices are the hallmark of Karen’s writing. I expected to kick off my shoes, silence my phone, and spend several hours falling head-over-heels in love with the characters.
And all of the above happened! Once again, Karen has written a witty, humorous, highly romantic story full of the kind of words and images that just make me fall in love with reading and writing all over again.
I know it’s a good story when I stop thinking about it as a writer and get lost in simply reading, and that’s exactly what happened with this book. I don’t have a lot to say as a writer because this vivid story succeeded in shutting down my writer’s brain and sweeping me away. I love books that not only make me forget I’m a writer, but make me forget things like dinner and brushing my teeth and the load of laundry I put in the wash five hours ago.
I like that, instead of the cliché, everything-works-out-the-way-you-expect-it-to ending, this story didn’t actually tie everything up. Rather, the hero and heroine both had to let go of their original story goals and embrace new ones after learning the difficult lessons of what was really important in their lives.
Perhaps more so than in any of her previous books, Karen really packed a lot of history into this book. From prologue to epilogue and everything in between, it was readily apparent that Karen did her homework on the subject of steamships and boilers explosions, but not to draw attention to herself. I never felt the historical detail was author-intrusive; on the contrary, I marveled at how grounded in their world events and scientific pursuits the characters were—a direct result of Karen’s skill as an historical fiction author.
As always, this Karen Witemeyer novel is going not just on the Keeper Shelf, but on the Re-Read A Lot Shelf.
Available May 27, 2014 from Bethany House Publishers