Review of “The Lady of Bolton Hill” by Elizabeth Camden

Camden, Elizabeth. The Lady of Bolton Hill. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2011. 

Paperback | $14.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0764208942 | 334 pages | Christian Historical Romance

3 stars

The Lady of Bolton Hill was Elizabeth Camden’s debut, and it is a good effort, but, having read one of her later books first and found it much more polished, there are areas that could use improvement here. However, thi sbook, like many a first book, shows her promise as a writer.

The story has a lot of promise conceptually, but has mixed results in the execution. I feel like she developed Daniel’s character well, portraying nuances of his character as a result of the hardships he had to face in life, and his gut reaction being to retaliate with a quest for vengeance. And I enjoyed his transformation from someone so singularly focused on that, to someone who finds his faith again. I also enjoyed Bane, who is the antagonist of the book, and is also redeemed. While his “conversion” does feel a bit rushed and unrealistic, I like that, ultimately, there is a sense of goodness in him, and he has further adventures that play out in subsequent book, which I look forward to reading.

However, I found Clara to be a bit hard to like at times. Even keeping in mind that this is a Christian fiction book, I felt her manner to be overly preachy at times, including the conversion scene. Even keeping in mind the intended audience, this felt like a bit much.

I also found the romance a bit underwhelming, especially given that the blurb promises “a romance neither of them thought possible.” While again, I knew it would be mostly chaste because of the genre, I didn’t really feel much beyond friendship with perhaps  teenage crush between Clara and Daniel, and the revelations of their feelings for one another towards the end took me off guard. And even taking into account how unrealistic the conversion was, I actually felt more between Bane and Clara, which is strange, considering that he was also her kidnapper.

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