Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Writer's Review of “The Lady of Bolton Hill" by Elizabeth Camden

I really don't know what it was that created such an urgent desire to read this particular book. The last time I was so crazy about getting my hands on a book, the book was Julie Lessman's A Passion Most Pure. Instead of blazing through the pages like I usually do, I actually had to set the book down at times just to digest everything. Which is a good thing. It's what I hope for every time I open a new book to read.

And it's what I found myself doing with The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden.

From the very beginning I noticed Camden's penchant for supplying historical detail. I loved it. I learned so many things about everyday life lived in the year 1879, I found myself taking notes. The plot, at first seemed like it could become predictable... but it didn't. Camden surprised me so many times! I loved Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain and how they were so devoted to one another after being separated for so many life-defining years. I would have liked to see a little more of the depth of their relationship and never-ending attraction to one another come out, but what there was along the way of telling the story was enough. 

The only thing that bothered me at the beginning of the book were the similarities it had to the book I am writing. If I have the same sort of structural-ideas as a published author - that is a good thing right?

Here are some of the things that made me squirm:

~ Camden's prologue takes place eleven years before the rest of the book with the death of a parent, while mine also opens eleven years prior with the death of a parent.

~ Her book is based in Baltimore 1879, while mine is based in Boston 1880.

~ Both Clara and Daniel share a love of music and composing and especially Chopin - which in turn forms the basis of their adolescent friendship, while my lead female character is an accomplished pianist who loves Chopin and values her piano more than most people. 

~ One of Camden's supporting male characters is a doctor missionary visiting back from Arizona, while one of my supporting male characters is the same kind of missionary visiting back from California.

~ Daniel Tremain is a self-made robber baron bent on vengeance and is neck-deep in railroad wars, while my lead male character is the fed-up son of such a man with many of the same inner-characteristics.

~ The plot, near the end of Camden's book, deals very much with the demise of an illegal operation, while my book deals with a similar situation.

~ And in the last chapter of the book, Daniel Tremain does exactly the same sort of thing for Clara Endicott that I have planned. Thank goodness for the "second ending" in the Epilogue! 

The similarities eventually began to diminish and Camden's plot took off in a completely different direction than I ever would have thought up. :D That made me feel better about anyone someday reading my book and thinking, "This young woman copied all of her ideas from Elizabeth Camden!"

Well, despite all the frustrations of thinking everyone in the world might someday think I was a copy-cat, I did love this book. I cannot wait until Elizabeth Camden's next book The Rose of Winslow Street comes out in January.

I borrowed Elizabeth Camden's The Lady of Bolton Hill from my local Allen County Public Library and I give it 5 STARS.


1 comment:

Cathy said...

Hi, I'm a new follower of your blog. Great review. I love books with historical detail! Both these covers are so gorgeous. I'm looking forward to reading them both. :)