Beyond all Dreams bay Elizabeth Camden


When a librarian and a prominent congressman join forces to solve a mystery, they become entangled in secrets more perilous than they could have ever imagined.


This is a book that the author mostly tells rather than shows what's going on. The point of view is from the two main characters, and that is something to be thankful for (more about head jumping later). There is an incredible amount of back story for the characters that is sprinkled in and throughout the story. Back story about minor characters as well that I think could have been blended much better, and I blame the editor for this not the author. Back story is all the things that happened to a character before the current story that is being told. Sometimes the back story is jarring. For instance: Suddenly you are introduced to another character from a memory of the congressman so the librarian worries and frets over this new character who is nothing but a memory. Ye gads!

It gets 3 stars of 5 stars from me because the character development was superb. The story premise and the research is excellent. The characters don't wring their hands and blather endlessly about "What should I do?" However...Camden or the editor saw fit to explain numerous times about certain aspects of the story, which is never needed. Readers are in the moment with the characters and don't need to be reminded about what happened or what the character thought in the last chapter or even three chapters ago! Authors and editors should give readers credit for having a brain and an attention span longer than a gnat's.
The story reads like a patchwork with the main thread being this mystery that surrounds the ship that sunk killing her father. Then you have the mystery of why Anna's voice is so throaty and hoarse. Then there is the mystery of why the congressman has so much anger smoldering inside. Then there is the mystery of why he has a boy who belongs to his sister living back in Maine living with him in Washington D.C., and his sister by the way had a severe problem with alcohol. I didn't read close enough to find out why she had that problem unless it was because their father had the same problem.

Camden does a lot of head jumping (note: head jumping is going from one character's thoughts to another character's thoughts, It is not in the same scene, which is head hopping). There are basically no transitions from one head to the next so the jumping is as startling as a splash of cold water. If you have a lot of head jumping, you simply must have good transitions to make the story flow seamless, and to avoid dams, which make for a choppy read.

However, the storyline itself is very good. Camden does a good job with character growth, although it takes forever for either main character to address the congressman's anger issues... and even then it seems to be only in passing. It is definitely more like a soap opera than an honest to goodness mystery. Way too much is going on to do any of the story lines justice.

This book would have been much better if more time and expertise had been taken by the editor to blend the story lines into a solid flow rather than a series of locks and dams.

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