A few short thoughts on Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer:
This story starts with a bang (literally) and draws you into the plot. Darius Thornton and Nicole Renard don't meet until well into the story, but the payoff was definitely worth staying with it.
The faith thread, as well as the romance, is sweetly beautiful.
The hero/heroine combo is delightful:
Pirate-princess secretary meets deeply wounded, propriety-flouting gentleman scientist.
This hero broke free of every character cliche I've ever read. Darius is just chock full of contradictions. Gentle, but intense. Wounded, but so strong. Protective, but entrusting. Curious and cautious. Clean and unkempt. Taking on the world's problems while shirking his own responsibility. Annoyingly determined. Dangerous. Delightful.
His perfect complement, Nicole was a gutsy, running off by herself, protecting everyone at her own risk, females can do anything kind of girl. I've seen quite a few of these types recently, but happily, despite her opposition to the view of womanhood held by society in the 1830s and 40s, she remains decidedly feminine. Bravo, Mrs. Witemeyer! Also, Nicole's willingness to sacrifice for those she loves and her ability to bring healing to the hero was a beautiful thing to behold.
Random Reading Facts:
- While reading, I sensed nuances of both Pride and Prejudice and Beauty and the Beast.
- Also, I kept picturing Darius as Tom Hiddleston a la Cransford, which makes no sense, since I haven't watched that in a while and Darius doesn't exactly look the same, but there you have it.
- Nicole's name and irrepressible spirit reminded me strongly of Drew Barrymore's character Danielle in Ever After.
- I kept closing the book to scowl at the cover--Darius is blonde.
- On page--er, I forgot what page it was (and can't go find it, because I just loaned the book to my BFF), but somewhere in the middle of the book, on the lower right-hand page, is a smudge of caramelly praline goodness. I had made a praline graham cracker treat and was so into the story, I forgot to lick the caramel off my finger before turning the page. :) (Sorry, BFF!)
Back Cover Blurb:
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 in 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 received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. ***
Have you read Full Steam Ahead? What did you think of it? What are you reading now?