Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Rose of Winslow Street by Elizabeth Camden

Having lived alone in their house on Winslow Street for over 20 years, Liberty and her father, Professor Willard Sawyer, are eking out a quiet existence. He spends most of his time working on new fangled inventions that, due to his perfectionism, will never see the light of day, while Libby fills her world with the neighborhood children and capturing nature on canvas.

As they vacation in their summer home on St. Catherine's Island, the Sawyers are completely unaware of trouble brewing back on Winslow Street.

For, overnight, widower Michael Dobrescu has moved his family on to their property with, seemingly, no intention of leaving.

Upon receiving word of the invasion, Libby and her father rush back to Colden Massachusetts, intending to vacate these immigrant trespassers from Romania. However, the matter cannot be so easily resolved upon learning Professor Sawyer does not, in fact, hold the deed to the house. 

Dobrescu claims that as the eldest son of the 9th Duke of Vlaska, rightful ownership goes to him. This quickly becomes a matter for the courts to decide, which could take anywhere from several weeks to a year.

Crestfallen, Libby accompanies the sheriff in a mission to gather their personal belongings from the home. Upon seeing Mr. Dobrescu, she is taken a back by his size, strange clothing, and brash manner. And after being thoroughly insulted then rudely dragged away from meeting his sister, Libby is more than happy to see the back of this brute hulk of a man.

However, despite her apparent dislike for him, is there actually any truth to Michael's statements? Is he a descendant of royalty, or a mere imposter looking to capitalize on a golden opportunity? Is there a chance the Sawyers could lose their home?

Author Elizabeth Camden weaves together a compelling tale; one I had a hard time putting down. By the end of the second chapter, I was completely hooked and wanting to discover what would happen next. 

I read her debut novel, The Lady of Bolton Hill, and while really enjoying it, felt the Christian aspects were a bit heavy handed/overdone. 

I'm happy to say, that's not the case here.

The characters are wonderfully developed, the pacing just right, while the tone manages to convey intricate layers of emotion and tension in each scene. I connected perfectly with Libby, but came to love Michael the most. He seemed to leap off the page, and I could picture him just as Ms. Camden described; rugged, quirky, handsome, unpredictable, gentle, fierce, protective... and with a sense of humor to boot.

Literally, a real hunk of a guy!

Watching the relationship develop between Michael and Libby was honestly a treat, and one I won't soon forget. Their dialogue fairly crackled, with just the right amount of quips, plus feeling, thrown in to keep readers on their toes.

I also found the plot to be rather original, and appreciated that aspect a lot. Sometimes, books can tend to run together after a while, so learning about the Romanian culture was an added bonus and made the Dobrescu family stand out. I haven't come across anyone quite like Michael and will miss his larger than life personality which truly shone through.

If you're looking for a well written, engaging, romantic, historical, The Rose of Winslow Street captures all that and more. I honestly loved it and will be putting this one in my keeper pile.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

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