Full Steam Ahead
By Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House Publishers, 2014. 348 pages. Romance.
Nicole Renard is in trouble - she needs to get to New Orleans and find a husband who can run her father's shipping empire before the thugs pursuing her can catch up and claim the treasure she's carrying with her. Circumstances bring her instead to Liberty, Texas, where she begins working under an assumed name for the eccentric Darius Thornton, a scientist driven to find a way to stop the destruction caused by exploding steam ship engines. But as each comes to appreciate the strengths the other has, they both find themselves torn between love and responsibility.
I just recently discovered Witemeyer's books and I've come to really appreciate two things about her writing. First, her characters are a lot of fun and very easy to relate to, which makes it much easier to suspend reality with some of the plot lines (2 weeks from total strangers to desperately in love, anyone?). And, second, although her characters are clearly religious people and fully committed to their faith, they never become sanctimonious, as sometimes happens with some Christian and LDS authors. Is the book improbable? Yes. Are there absurd situations? Of course. But do you get to see the inner workings of two good people and how they become better? Most definitely. And, to my mind, that is what makes this book an enjoyable read. It's not a work of art, certainly, and probably will not be remembered generations from now as a significant piece of literature, but I felt a little happier for having read it. To me, that is what reading is all about.