Monday, April 3, 2017

"To the Farthest Shores" by Elizabeth Camden

About this book:

  “The unpredictability of her upbringing prepared army nurse Jenny Bennett to face any challenge at the Presidio Army base, but the sudden reappearance in her life of the dashing naval officer who broke her heart six years ago is enough to rattle even her.
  Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher is one of the few men in the world qualified to carry out a daring government mission overseas--an assignment that destroyed his reputation and broke the heart of the only woman he ever loved. Honor-bound never to reveal where he was during those years, he can't tell Jenny the truth, or it will endanger an ongoing mission and put thousands of lives at risk.
  Ryan thinks he may have finally found a solution to his impossible situation, but he needs Jenny's help. While her loyalty to her country compels her to agree, she was too badly hurt to fall for Ryan again despite his determination to win her back. When an unknown threat from Ryan's past puts everything at risk--including his life--can they overcome the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against them in time?”

Series: As of now, no.  

Spiritual Content- Prayers & Blessings over food; Church going; Ryan is the son of missionaries (he does not look back on his childhood as happy, though); Talks about forgiveness; ‘H’s are not capital when referring to God; Mentions of God & forgiving; Mentions of prayers & blessings over food; Mentions of church going; Mentions of sins & salvation; Mentions of a missionary family; Mentions of Christians & witnessing; A few mentions of Bible reading; A few mentions of those & parables in the Bible; A few mentions of a man preaching; A few mentions of blessings; A few mentions of Catholics, sainthood & a martyr; A few mentions of monks & a nun; A couple mentions of miracles; A couple mentions of a crucifix displayed; A mention of a church pulpit;
*Note: A few mentions of pearls having magical healing properties; A mention of Zeus; A mention of a Valkyrie; A mention of bitterness being dammed up.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘heck’, a ‘prissy’, a ‘shut up’, a ‘sissy’, four ‘idiot’s, and eight forms of ‘stupid’; Mentions of curses (said, not written); A bit of Sarcasm & Eye rolling; Passing out, being shot, pain, blood/bleeding, stitches, vomit & nurse activities (up to semi-detailed); Almost hitting & kicking someone; Nightmares; Many mentions of carousing, opium, smoking opium, opium dens, addictions, tobacco, cigarettes, smoking, gambling, saloons/bars, alcohol, drinking, drunks & hangovers; Many mentions of passing out, someone shot, pain, blood/bleeding, stitches, wounds, throwing up/vomit & nurse activities (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a war, fighting, deserters, illnesses, losing limbs & deaths; Mentions of crimping, crimpers & sailors being drugged, robbed, beaten & killed; Mentions of poisons, being poisoned, being shot & murder attempts (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a mugging with a knife & the injuries (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of a thief & robbery; Mentions of bullies, being bullied, slurs & cruel taunts; Mentions of lying, lies & liars; Mentions of nightmares; Mentions of gossip & rumors; A few mentions of gallows, firing squads & executions; A few mentions of threatening public flogging & ripping someone to pieces; A few mentions of threats; A few mentions of breaking in & stealing something; A few mentions of hunters & hunting; A couple mentions of cheating someone; A couple mentions of someone being getting a black eye; A mention of a soldier who tried to steal morphine; A mention of a cat killing a jellyfish; A mention of oyster poop.

Sexual Content- a barely-above-not-detailed kiss, a semi-detailed kiss, and a detailed kiss; Touches, Tingles, Embraces, Nearness & Smelling (up to semi-detailed); Remembering nearness (barely-above-not-detailed); Noticing; a ‘floozy’; *Spoiler* Jenny’s mother was a dance hall girl/prostitute, Jenny recalls that sometimes she was allowed to sleep in her mother’s room and other times she would be moved in the middle of the night *End of Spoiler*; Many mentions of Ryan’s unfaithfulness to Jenny when he got another woman pregnant out of wedlock when he turned to her for comfort (barely-above-not-detailed); Many mentions of Ryan’s infidelity; Mentions of men going to brothels, bordellos, the woman there & one place that had underage girls; Mentions of men who love many women & consort with them; Mentions of when a little girl was conceived out of wedlock (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a kiss (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of flirting & flirts; Mentions of reputations & chaperones; Mentions of jealousy; Mentions of blushes; A few mentions of sexually transmitted diseases, touches & kisses; A few mentions of kisses & kissing; A few mentions of crushes & puppy love; A couple mentions of a couple dallying & hinted to be kissing; A mention of men buying prostitutes; A mention of a man getting plenty of experience with a woman; A mention that most crimes are rooted in either sex or money; A mention of vile men following a young girl; A mention of a womanizer; A mention of swooning; Love, falling in love & the emotions;
             *Note: Mentions of a man’s bare chest (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of the fertilization of female oysters’ larvae & the male oysters part of the process; A few mentions of romance novels by a dreadful author; A mention of a bawdy story about dance hall girls (not written); A mention of bawdy limericks (not written).

-Jenny Bennett,
-Ryan Gallagher, age 29
                                P.O.V. switches between them
                                              Set in 1904 (Prologue in 1898, Epilogue in 1928)
                                                        330 pages

Pre Teens-
New Teens-
Early High School Teens-
Older High School Teens-
My personal Rating-
This was one of my anticipated books for the first half of 2017. Elizabeth Camden is an author I teasingly say is one of my guilty pleasure authors. She always includes different, interesting historical facts and quirks. However, there’s normally content I don’t like and normally think wasn’t needed. This new novel was no different in that regard.
This one, though, I could not stand the main guy. Jenny was okay and I liked her spirit. But, Ryan has to be one of my least favorite “heroes” ever. One of the very few times I’ve ever read a romance book and not want the couple to end up together. I honestly could have done a status update on Goodreads every other page, letting everyone know that I really didn’t like him.
If you’ve followed me on here for a while or on one of my personal social media sites (which if we’ve talked a bit before, you’re welcome to friend/follow me on which ever site) you probably know I love Asian culture. China has a huge spot in my heart with the Koreans, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and many other counties also holding dearness in my heart. So in any case, I do get a bit tense when any possible prejudice against those with Asian roots could happen. I’ve stopped reading many a books because of that fact. This book didn’t have any obvious prejudices against Ryan’s half-Japanese daughter, but there were some hints of it. Lily was a sweet girl, and I wish there would have been more parts of Jenny being more accepting towards to her. (I do understand where Jenny was coming from, though, and I can’t say that I blame her thoughts. It’s a human reaction.) Ryan didn’t look back on his childhood as a missionary kid as happy the majority of the time, and again, while I understand the logic behind those feelings, I still found it sad.
I would have to say this is my least favorite by Elizabeth Camden. That’s probably more of a personal thing (because of Ryan) than the actual content, but that doesn’t excuse the content I wasn’t a fan of. All the mentions of Ryan’s infidelity, for one. (They weren’t married, I know, but I still felt for Jenny.) Finn’s problem with opium and drinking for another. But by the end, I really liked him and his wit.
Last point for this review: I don’t know about y’all, but my head doesn’t do well with epilogues set in the farther future. I’m just saying, seeing the characters you just saw as young-20-year-olds a page ago now as 40+ year olds with grown kids…it makes me feel like I just skipped chapters and have giant question marks going on in my head.

See y’all on Wednesday with a new review!

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Publisher (Bethany House) for this honest review.

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