I’ve been a fan of Karen Witemeyer’s books since the first ones I read last year before meeting her at a writers conference. And while those were enjoyable reads, each new book she’s released has been better than the last one!
Her newest release, Full Steam Ahead, might be my new favorite of hers. And I really liked her last book, Stealing the Preacher. (Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of Full Steam Ahead from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review.)
Witemeyer sets her books in 19th century Texas, generally. In this one, she focuses on Nicole Renard, only child of Anton Renard of Renard Shipping, who because of her gender is not a suitable heir to the company (despite her knowledge of the business). With her father ailing and the company’s future at stake, Nicole sets out to find a man to marry who can carry on her father’s shipping legacy.
Her plans are diverted from the beginning as a rival family waits to take a valuable possession from the Renard family, so Nicole finds herself in the small town of Liberty, Texas, instead of New Orleans, where her prospects for a partner would have been plentiful. She seeks a job from Darius Thornton, the town’s recluse and a man obsessed with preventing boiler explosions on steam ships. Haunted by his past, he reluctantly hires Nicole when she shows she’s able to understand his notes.
Witemeyer sets this relationship up cleverly. Both are determined to avoid each other in favor of a greater, nobler pursuit, but as they work together, they’re drawn to each other. I love that Nicole shows ability in a field normally reserved for a man and how she’s able to surprise Darius with her knowledge. (Hint: This is a good book for smart girls. She’s more than a pretty face!) And Darius, though obsessed with a past he can never correct, has a vision for what the future can be. Nicole’s presence reminds him that he needs other people in his life.
If you’re in need of a beach book or story to read while traveling to your summer destination, I recommend this new one by Witemeyer (or any of her books). I keep saying I have a favorite of hers, but each new one that she writes becomes my new favorite.