- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 1 edition (December 1, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0764217208
- ISBN-13: 978-0764217203
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Until the Dawn Paperback – December 1, 2015
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From the Back Cover
Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie van Riijn sees no harm in setting up a rooftop weather station for her work with the newly established Weather Bureau. While the villagers are suspicious of the mysterious estate and its tragic history, Sophie has come to see it as her own enchanted piece of paradise.
The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover Sophie trespassing on his land.
Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie yet find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark can no longer be kept in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?
"Once again, Camden delivers a masterpiece of literature....With its almost tangible setting and vibrant characters, the story evokes shades of both Jane Eyre and 'Beauty and the Beast' in turn, but is so much more compelling. Sharp, witty dialogue and a tale of generational tragedy will keep readers entertained and enthralled until the very last word."--RT Book Reviews Top Pick
"With fluid writing, Camden weaves together the history of the fictional Vandermark family....Camden's delicately written romance--spiced with murder, superstition, and ancient secrets--will inspire readers."--Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Elizabeth Camden is the author of seven books and a RITA and Christy Award winner. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. Elizabeth lives with her husband in Florida. Visit her website at www.elizabethcamden.com.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sophie has been living at Dierenpark for her whole life. Now that the owner has arrived (with his bad attitude), not only is her weather station in danger, but it appears the house is set to be demolished as well. Sophie just can’t let that happen.
Quentin’s been living with pain for 8 years. A broken leg has set him on the path of failed experimental treatments. He’s come to Dierenpark out of loyalty to his grandfather, who is ordering the park demolished because of superstitious beliefs. Even though Quentin put his faith in science, he feels he owes his grandfather.
Sophie irritates him with her happy outlook. He just wants to be left alone to get the job done, but she opens his eyes to the beauty of the area with her optimism. She also shows him the beauty in life, and he realizes something is missing in his own. When Quentin’s grandfather shows up, Quentin isn’t ready to hear the man’s superstitious beliefs or see them passed on to his son.
The mystery of the history of the house is a wonderful theme in this book. It’s present all the way to the end, and things don’t go as you think they will, which is a good thing. The story is also a little reminiscent of Jane Eyre. The imposing manor on the cliffs, the brooding master, and the neglected child that benefits from the presence of a willing teacher are all familiar, but it’s also quite different at the same time.
*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
"Until the Dawn" (2015, Bethany House), first in the "Until the Dawn" series by Elizabeth Camden, is a Christian historical romance set in New York in 1898. The novel is very definitely a standalone story, but "Toward the Sunrise”, a (free) novella-length prequel to "Until The Dawn”, establishes the setting very nicely while being a great story in its own right. Unsurprisingly, I read this book because I LOVE whatever Elizabeth Camden writes.
Rating: 5 stars
The hero: Quentin Vandermark is the grandson of the current owner of Dierenpark. After a sixty-year absence of Vandermarks from the estate, Quentin unexpectedly comes to stay. He has a son, whom he dearly loves, but their relationship is on shaky ground. Quentin is a widow, and “ever since his wife’s death eight years ago, his life had become an endless night of darkness and despair, waiting for a dawn that never came.” Additionally, he walks with a limp due to a previous injury or illness, and often struggles with a great deal of pain. He may be wealthy, but he’s had plenty of trials, so it isn’t surprising that he’s a bit of a grouch. I love heroes like this. He reminds me somewhat of Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.
The heroine: Sophia van Riijn, 26, the daughter of Dierenpark’s former cook, has no official (or paid) role on the beautiful estate, but she has plenty to keep her occupied. She loves to cook (and is good at it!) and provides meals for the staff. Sophia also faithfully takes daily readings of the weather atop the mansion’s roof on a volunteer basis, as part of a national effort in weather prediction. “In her long line of failed engagements and thwarted dreams, her tiny weather station on the top of the Vandermark mansion was what gave meaning and purpose to Sophie’s world.” I really like how Sophia knows her own worth and doesn’t kowtow to the intimidating Quentin. At their first meeting, she tells him, “I’ve never met someone who can take one of poetry’s most remarkable passages about the purity of love and twist it into embittered screed on the spot.”
*The book opens with the following quote: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. -- Matthew 5:8” It seems to be a motto for the heroine, and if I remember rightly, is directly visited in the book.
*Quentin Vandermark is an atheist. He grew up being dragged around from country to country by his grandfather Nickolaas, who was apparently on a spiritual quest for fulfillment and dabbled in a variety of religions. ”The more exotic and strange [the religion, the more Nickolaas liked it. He believed in everything, which meant he believed in nothing.” Quentin is very turned off by religion, and scorns Christianity. He tells Sophie, “I will tolerate no superstition. If my son inquires about fairies or goblins, or God or Jesus, I want you to squash the discussion.”
What I liked:
*The setting is just fabulous. The estate is luscious, mysterious, and holds a very strong place in Sophia’s heart. I have to say, I checked Wikipedia multiple times, convinced that Dierenpark is an actual mansion in New York. I kept coming up with nothing.
*The befriending of Sophia and Quentin was rather wonderful. They start out with him being antagonistic toward her, but steadily grow into friends. This was actually a difficult road for Quentin to traverse, and it was such a pleasure watching him do so. “Her buoyancy annoyed him at the same time as it attracted him.”
*Also, this may sound strange, but I LOVED the names of the main characters. I just wish I knew how to pronounce Sophia’s last name. :-) I assume it’s “RYE-gin” but it’s just a guess. UPDATE: I was way off! Ms. Camden answered my question, and she says it rhymes with “grin.”
*A couple of favorite quotes:
*”That was an apology? I’m sorry, I mistook it for another legal salvo.”
*”Why did oatmeal taste so delicious simply because it came out of a pot stirred by Sophie van Riijn?”
What I didn’t like:
*God is treated in vague terms in one situation when I think the author should have been more explicit. But in general, the Christian aspect was well done.
I will still continue to read more of Elizabeth Camden’s stories. I’ve put "Beyond All Dreams" on my to-read list, and have picked up her newest free novella, as well.
I recommend this book to fans of Christian (or clean) historical fiction or romance. There is a bit of tension from a mystery, but it just makes it more interesting. I do feel it’s worth mentioning that intimate relations are discussed in this book. It’s completely appropriate to the plot, and no details are given, keeping it clean. However, I would recommend this book only to the 16+ crowd.
There was an interesting connection between science and folklore in the book. I loved the way that Sophie's character bridged that gap. I received this book to review. Opinions shared are mine.