About the Book (from the Publisher):
Anna O’Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help.
Luke Callahan was one of the nation’s most powerful congressmen before his promising career was shadowed in scandal. Eager to share in a new cause and intrigued by a winsome librarian, he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship. Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress.
From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they’ve ever dreamed for their futures?
For a while now, I’ve been wanting to try a book by Elizabeth Camden. After all the wonderful things I’ve heard about her previous books, not to mention the awards they’ve won (Christy Award, RITA, etc), I was already excited to see she had a new title coming out. But when I saw that this one features a librarian as heroine, I knew I had to read it. After all, I’m a librarian too, and who doesn’t like reading books about characters you share something in common with?
Beyond All Dreams turned out to be right up my alley. I enjoy a nice sigh-worthy romance as much as the next gal, and this one definitely fits the bill. But there was more to this one. In fact, the elements that really stood out for me were the depth of characterization and the exploration of deeper themes throughout the story. Not to mention some fascinating glimpses into the history of the Library of Congress as well as the start of the Spanish-American War.
Both Anna and Luke faced difficult childhoods in different ways, and I found it interesting to see how their childhood experiences as well as their reactions to those experiences shaped the people they grew up to become. It was also fascinating to see how their differences complemented each other, allowing them each to have a significant positive impact on the other. They definitely made a great team, and it was fun watching them working together toward achieving their dreams.
Forgiveness and trust play huge thematic roles in the story, taking on significance in a number of relationships both past and present. Then there’s an exploration of the differences between love, friendship, and infatuation. In fact, this book raises all kinds of interesting questions on a variety of topics that would make it really well suited to discussion within a book group. And yes, the book does include discussion questions for that purpose.
I can definitely see why Elizabeth Camden’s books have become so popular! I know I’m looking forward to reading more from this author. And I would not hesitate to recommend Beyond All Dreams to fans of inspirational romance and historical fiction.
Thank you to publisher Bethany House for providing me with a free electronic copy for review purposes.