To the Farthest Shores

To the Farthest Shores

by Elizabeth Camden

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764218804
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/04/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 468,705
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is the author of nine historical novels and has been honored with the RITA Award, te Christy Award, and the Carol Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at www.elizabethcamden.com.

Read an Excerpt

To the Farthest Shores


By Elizabeth Camden

Baker Publishing Group

Copyright © 2017 Dorothy Mays
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7642-3009-7


CHAPTER 1

Six Years Later

Summer 1904


Jenny stepped outside the hospital, gazing at the sunrise just beginning to light the horizon. While sunrise signaled the beginning of the day for most people, for Jenny it meant bedtime.

Civilian nurses had been reassigned to overnight work after the war ended, and returning soldiers took the desirable day shifts. Working through the night was a struggle, but it was her only option if she wanted to continue working at the Presidio's hospital.

It was still chilly, and she drew her heavy woolen cloak tighter. Normally at this time she returned to her quarters, drew the shades, and slept until noon.

Not today. Her stomach clenched as she anticipated her meeting with Captain Soames, the medical director for the hospital at the Presidio. Once a battlefield doctor, Captain Soames had been working at a desk since the Spanish-American War ended only eight months after it began. He was a humorless, hard-bitten man who had little patience for the civilian employees at the base, but he was the only person who could grant the favor Jenny so desperately needed.

He wouldn't be in his office yet, so she made a quick trip to the barracks where civilian nurses lodged on the top floor. Her room was compact, tidy, and spotless. It ought to be, given that she swept it daily and wiped the windows, the mirror, and the hardware with a mild vinegar solution twice a week.

After scrubbing her face and hands, she changed her collar for a fresh one. All the nurses wore blue cotton dresses beneath a white apron and topped with a starched collar the army supplied to them each week. Jenny paid extra to have a freshly starched collar daily. Cleanliness was important to her, and any time she locked horns with Captain Soames, she wanted to look flawless. She shook her ebony hair free of its pins, brushed it to a high shine, and then coiled it back into an elegant twist. Pinning the folded nurse's cap into place was the last detail before heading to the captain's office.

He didn't seemed pleased to see her, even less so when she explained what she wanted, but she pressed on without letting him shake her composure.

"Skeeter Jones is a bright boy, but unless he has surgery on his eyes, he will be practically blind within a few years," she explained.

"And you want the army to pay for it."

Skeeter was a twelve-year-old orphan who earned less than a dollar a day selling newspapers, so yes, Jenny needed to find someone willing to pay for it.

"Dr. Samuelson tells me that symblepharon surgery is a routine procedure that requires less than an hour in the operating room. I'd be willing to pay any costs associated with medication. ..."

She let the sentence dangle. Her finances were already stretched dangerously thin since what happened last month, but Skeeter needed this operation. A defect in his system was causing the folds of his eyelids to become anchored to his eyeball, making it hard to see. A simple incision done by a skilled surgeon would change the entire course of Skeeter's life, but it had to be done now, before he grew much older. Operating rooms at the hospital sat vacant most of the day, and it would cost the army very little to perform this operation.

"Find some other benefactor to pay for it," Captain Soames said. "If it becomes known that the army is treating charity cases, we'll have lines stretching to the Embarcadero and complaints about favoritism."

"Or it might improve our reputation with the city."

"Find a way to pay for it, Nurse Bennett. Then maybe I'll hear your request."

"How am I to pay for it when you pay me scarcely half what you pay the male attendants?"

The captain heard the veiled accusation in her tone. "The night nurses get paid less because you do little more than babysit sleeping patients. Of course we aren't going to pay you the same salary as the staff during the day. If you don't like your job here, then quit. Ifyou aren't earning what you need, then quit. Ifyou don't like the way I run the hospital, then quit. Is that clear, Nurse Bennett ?"

She met Captain Soames's glower with her chin held high. "Quite clear. The army must be proud their officers can express themselves so forcefully and without resorting to bothersome courtesy."

Captain Soames let out a bark of gruff laughter. He'd had a grudging respect for her since the time he saw her tackle a soldier trying to steal morphine from a supply cabinet. While most nurses hailed from respectable families, Jenny grew up along San Francisco's waterfront and wasn't intimidated by unruly soldiers. Although she liked to pretend it didn't exist, a streetwise toughness from her youth still lurked just beneath her prim, starched uniform.

Captain Soames threw down his pencil and looked at her in frustration. "Why don't you just get married like a normal woman? Then you won't have to work six days a week and still scrounge for money to do a kid a favor."

Jenny tried not to blanch even though she'd heard the question plenty of times over the years. She'd fallen in love once, and it had been a disaster. The most humiliating thing was that even after receiving Ryan Gallagher's terse letter, she couldn't shake free of his memory. Something about it didn't seem right. Maybe it was just her reluctance to face the truth, but she feared something very bad had happened to Ryan and he was trying to shield her from it.

She had clung to that foolish hope for years, even pressuring her friend at the payroll office for information on his whereabouts. All Vivian had been able to tell her was that Ryan's address had been kept confidential for his entire career in the military, but she later learned he had resigned from the navy early last year. His official forwarding address was now in a tiny fishing village near San Diego.

Jenny could no longer delude herself. As a civilian, Ryan was completely free to contact her if he wished. San Diego was only a day's travel by train, and still she heard nothing from him.

"I have no plans for marriage at this time," she told Captain Soames. There had been no one else for her since Ryan, and too many men had let her down over the years.

Only Simon was different. She and Simon both knew what it was to be homeless and hungry. Since the day he took her under his wing when she was a nine-year-old street urchin, they had always looked out for each other.

The gritty world of San Francisco looked askance at a middle-aged man befriending a pretty young girl, so she'd taken to referring to Simon as her father from the very beginning. For all intents and purposes, Simon Bennett was her father, the only father she'd ever known. She even took his last name because "Bennett" sounded solid and respectable. He fed her when she was hungry, made sure she went to school every day, and consoled her when kids in the neighborhood taunted her because they knew where she came from. During the boom years, it was Simon who paid for her to attend nursing school.

The boom years were long over, and now Simon needed help. Last month his jewelry shop had been robbed. Thieves kicked in the plate glass window at the front of his shop and walked away with all the jewelry, including Simon's beloved assortment of pearls.

Simon had been collecting and selling pearls his entire life, but the theft left him broke. He didn't even have the money to replace the window and had to nail boards over the opening. Simon's landlord had warned he would be evicted if he couldn't replace the window within the week.

With no other options, Jenny had sold the watch Ryan gave her to buy the plate glass window. Guilt had tugged at her conscience when she laid the watch on the pawn shop counter. It had belonged to Ryan's father, a man who worked as a missionary in the Far East. Both of Ryan's parents had died before she met him, and she felt disloyal selling one of the few keepsakes he had from them.

She hardened her heart. If Ryan cared about his father's watch, he could have asked her for it. She owed Ryan Gallagher nothing and Simon everything.

The sale of Ryan's watch brought enough to install a new window, but it wasn't going to save Simon's shop. Jenny had been funneling all her spare money to help him restock the store, and it meant she had nothing left to help a boy who was quickly going blind.

She needed to play her ace card. When Captain Soames was first appointed to the Presidio, she'd read everything she could find about him. The details of their childhoods were different, but she and Captain Soames both shared the same hardscrabble core, and she knew exactly what it would take to persuade him.

"Your family emigrated from Ireland when you were a baby" she said. "You were one of nine children who grew up in the toughest ghetto of New York City. You didn't have a pair of shoes until you were eight years old. No one ever handed you anything. You joined the army at sixteen and your life got even tougher, but the army gave you the only thing you ever asked for. A chance. You labored, sweat, fought, and bled to get where you are ... but you weren't blind, Captain Soames. You never would have had a fighting chance in this world if you had been blind."

Captain Soames glared at her, and she glared right back. This fight was too important to lose. She waited, counting her heartbeats while he shifted in his chair.

"Go tell Dr. Samuelson to put the boy's surgery on the schedule."

It felt like the sun rose inside her, radiant with light, heat, and hope. She didn't let a trace of it show on her face as she nodded.

"Thank you, sir."


* * *

Jenny usually met Vivian Perez for lunch at one o'clock each afternoon. There weren't many female employees at the Presidio, and Jenny and Vivian quickly bonded amidst the thousands of male soldiers stationed at the West Coast's foremost military base.

Instead of eating at the noisy mess hall, they took their lunch to a table outside on the quadrangle.

Jenny twirled a tin drinking cup between her palms. "The surgery for Skeeter's eyes will be in two weeks," she told Vivian. "I'm going to ask Simon to let the boy move in with him after the surgery, because the orphanage won't have the staffing to tend to him. Of course, I can only hope Simon won't be evicted before then."

She sighed as she unwrapped her chicken sandwich on a flaky croissant roll. She didn't have much appetite but needed her strength. Opening her sandwich, she ate the chicken from the middle and left the croissant untouched.

"What about Simon finding some kind of paid work?" Vivian asked as she tucked into her own sandwich.

It would be the easiest solution to their problem. Getting Simon a respectable job somewhere would be practical, efficient, and logical.

Sadly, none of those adjectives could be applied to Simon Bennett.

"I would have better luck rerouting the path of the sun than getting Simon to behave logically," she said, unable to keep the trace of fondness from her voice. It was the erratic income Simon earned during her childhood that inspired Jenny to go into nursing. Nursing was a practical skill that would always be needed. People got sick in times of plenty and when the bottom dropped out of the economy. Hospitals could be depended on to pay their wages on time, and she appreciated the steady income.

She leaned her elbows on the table and let the breeze caress her face. She liked this spot because it carried the scent from a nearby patch of eucalyptus shrubs. It was a clean smell. Fresh and crisp. Sometimes she snipped a few twigs to take to her room.

"I wonder what that girl is doing?" Vivian asked, and Jenny followed her friend's gaze.

A few yards away, a little girl in a white smock tugged at a heavy stone bordering the rose garden. She couldn't have been more than three or four years old, and the rock was almost as big as she was. This didn't stop the girl from giving it her all, tugging with her weight.

The child seemed to be alone. Jenny doubted the girl could budge that rock, but it was best to be safe. She rose and approached the child, whose straight black hair had slipped free of its hair clips to obscure her face.

"Are you all alone out here ?" Jenny asked.

The girl straightened. She was a beautiful child with distinctively Asian features. There were plenty of Chinese people in San Francisco, but Jenny rarely saw them at the Presidio.

"Papa told me to play here," the girl said in a lightly accented voice. Jenny wondered if Papa knew his daughter was wallowing in garden mulch while wearing a clean white frock.

"Come join us at the table until your father gets back," Jenny prompted, and the girl obediently followed the few steps to the table beneath the cottonwood tree. "Are you hungry? Would you like a bit of croissant ?"

The girl looked confused as she studied the croissant. "Bread?" she asked.

"Yes, it's bread."

"Yes please, ma'am." The child swiped at her hair, and a barrette slipped even further, barely hanging on to her silky black strands.

"Come, let me fix your hair," Jenny said. "Your papa won't like it if you lose those pretty seed pearl barrettes."

There was quite an industry in mechanically grinding oyster shells to make seed pearls, so they weren't terribly expensive, but Simon would have a heart attack if he saw a child carelessly lose a pair of seed pearl hairpins while playing in the dirt. The child let Jenny finger-comb her hair, but it was a challenge to get the clips securely anchored in the slippery strands.

Her name was Lily, and once she began chattering, it was impossible to stop her. Lily told them she had two pet cats at home, one of which killed a jellyfish and brought it into their house, which made her papa laugh so hard he had tears on his face. Her papa owned an entire beach, and he had a fancy uniform that sometimes he wore and sometimes he didn't.

"Lily ?" A man's voice called from base headquarters on the other side of the quad.

"Papa!" Lily hopped off the bench and went tearing across the quadrangle toward a tall man in a crisp, white naval uniform.

Jenny stared, not trusting her eyes. "Ryan?" she whispered.

He was too far away to tell, but the man reminded her of Ryan Gallagher. Maybe it was just the navy uniform, when almost everyone else at the Presidio was in the army, but he looked so similar to Ryan it awakened a rush of bittersweet longing.

Without conscious thought she stood and started walking toward him. She'd only gone a few steps when the child reached him. The naval officer squatted down to scoop her up, tossing the girl into the air with a hearty laugh.

She knew that laugh, a golden tenor that came straight from the heart. It was him. It had to be. While she stood mute and motionless, the little girl looked over her father's shoulder and waved good-bye. The man followed his daughter's gaze and glanced back at Jenny.

He froze as if spellbound. There was no doubt.

Ryan Gallagher was back.

Before she could take another step, Ryan hoisted Lily higher into his arms, turned the other way, and set off toward the officers' quarters without a backward glance.

"Jenny?" Vivian asked. "What's going on?"

It took a while to find her breath. "That man reminds me of someone I once knew."

"Ryan Gallagher?" During her briefcourtship, Jenny had breathlessly relayed all the details of her whirlwind romance to her friend. It had been painful and embarrassing when she had to tell Vivian that Ryan changed his mind and they wouldn't be getting married after all.

She didn't want to reopen that painful chapter and shook her head.

"He's nobody," she said simply.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden. Copyright © 2017 Dorothy Mays. Excerpted by permission of Baker Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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To the Farthest Shores 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Kayla_Stierwalt More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of To the Farthest Shores from Bethany Publishing House in exchange for an honest review. This is the first Elizabeth Camden book I've read, and I've really enjoyed it. She blended history and romance into a neat story. While the idea of romance is timeless, this had the unique perspective of happening during a time of war. That allowed the love story to have a different angle on angst. It even gave some new rawness on dealing with loss and love when Jenny had to deal with Ryan's return and learn that he moved on with his life with another woman after he left her. In these experiences Jenny had, I also enjoyed seeing a strong female character. She had a rough childhood, but she came out stronger as a young adult. With the help of her adoptive dad, she became a nurse who takes care of herself. She exuded independence and morally upstanding character. Her patients appreciated her empathy, and she could also stand her ground in an upsetting situation. I enjoyed watching Jenny's life and love unfold and look forward to checking out another Elizabeth Camden novel.
Anonymous 9 months ago
I enjoyed the different story line. This wasn't just a historical romance, it was an interesting reminder than different situations in our lives can affect how we respond to others and misunderstand them as well as the importance of for giveness. I also enjoyed the information on early pearl farming. I am eager to read another book by this author!
hes7 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of historical romance, I always love reading Elizabeth Camden’s newest release. In To the Farthest Shores, Camden explores history at the beginning of the twentieth century, like the developments in the pearl industry and spying in Japan, that I found completely fascinating due to my lack familiarity. Within this history, she then weaves a second chance at romance for Jenny Bennett and Ryan Gallagher. They have a lot to learn about each other, faith, and forgiveness, and I really enjoyed seeing their story unfold with drama, mystery, and sweet romance surrounded by a very interesting cast of characters. To the Farthest Shores was a delight to read, and for any fans of historical romance in need of a good read, I recommend this one. Thanks to Bethany House, I received a complimentary copy of To the Farthest Shores and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
J_Augustine More than 1 year ago
They must overcome a painful past to find a future... To The Farthest Shores is one of Elizabeth Camden's most character driven stories yet. They are not cookie-cutter, ultra-perfect people, they are real and their struggles, especially with forgiveness and trust, will resonate with pretty much all readers. The details of Japanese culture and the intricate nuances of courtesy and honor were fascinating. And the suspense angle, that tied in with the Japan element, made things doubly as interesting. But, for me, personally, the best part was the lovely descriptions of the early cultured pearl industry. If you are looking for a book with flawed characters who battle themselves and each other as they struggle to find lasting love and peace. If you love historical fiction. If you are a fan of Elizabeth Camden. Or D all the above, you just might want to check out To The Farthest Shores. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
Ms. Camden took one nurse, one supposedly treasonous soldier, and a little girl to write a story of love so poignant that I couldn't put it down. Even though I don't generally care for war era (any war) stories, this one kept me engaged and interested that I didn't much notice the war references. I received this book free from the publisher/author. The above review is my honest opinion.
EmilyAnneK17 More than 1 year ago
Nurse Jenny's heart was broken six years ago when her fiance, Ryan, left to fight in the Spanish-American War and never came back. He didn't die - he broke up with her through terse letter. Now he is back in California with a four-year-old child in tow. Ryan had been married to and widowed by another woman in the years he had been gone. If they can both overcome the pain of the past, can they work together to begin their relationship anew? To the Farthest Shores was yet another intriguing historical romance by Elizabeth Camden. The settings and historical details were almost more interesting than the plot. The Spanish-American War, the advent of Pearl-farming, historical Japanese culture, nursing, US spy training, and sailor-kidnapping operations, to name a few. It was fascinating. I think the pearl-farming and the Japanese influences were the most interesting to me. Did you know that finding pearls to sell is no-longer hit-or-miss but that people have discovered a way to artificially induce oysters to create pearls? The romance was interesting. Would you, reader, even consider dating a man who already left you to marry someone else because he accidentally got the other woman pregnant? I mean, he did the honorable thing by her, but the whole situation stinks from beginning to end. Let's just say that Jenny and Ryan have a lot to work through if they ever want their relationship to succeed. Yikes. Then there was the communication problems. How is a romance supposed to work between a woman who shows all of her thoughts on her face and hasn't a deceitful bone in her body with a man who was trained from birth to hide his emotions and is continually trying to protect her from the ugly truth? Their success seemed a little far-fetched at times. But their love for each other was genuine and their growth as individuals great. It was sweet to see them finally get together. I enjoyed the story overall. It was well-researched, well-written, and intriguing. I look forward to Elizabeth Camden's next novel, and recommend this one to readers of clean, historical romance. I did receive this book as a complementary copy from NetGalley, but all opinions are my own.
annelr More than 1 year ago
To the Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden is a fascinating historical romance. The author captivates the reader with her compelling characters who are struggling with things humans are often challenged by--past mistakes, longing for forgiveness, and fear of the future. Throughout the story, readers are introduced to the intriguing history of the cultivation of pearls and a glimpse of Japanese culture. With espionage, attempted murders, secrets from the past, and a struggling, tension-filled romance, the plot moves steadily along to a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading more from this gifted author who writes a story that is infused with suspense, mystery, drama, and emotional tension. I won a copy of this book and was not required to write a review. The opinions are my own.
KMarkovich More than 1 year ago
I found the idea of this story fascinating – taking place in the very early 1900’s, just after the Spanish American war, through the eyes of a quasi-military nurse and an Army lieutenant. I enjoyed the characters, all of whom came from such different backgrounds, and seeing how their upbringing totally shaped how they interact with each other. At times, I grew so frustrated with Jenny for her lack of trust and extreme suspicions, but then I wondered how I’d have handled the situations. I’m not sure I would have handled them any better! This was a great book as I not only enjoyed reading it, I also learned so much – early 20th century medicine, the pearl history and industry and more! I also really appreciated the author’s historical note at the end.
Heidi_Reads More than 1 year ago
There's something about the writing of Elizabeth Camden that keeps me glued to the pages, fascinated by the history, and invested in the outcome of the story. I loved the setting and the unique characters that had obstacles that they are working to overcome, and learn valuable lessons along the way. In the beginning Jenny and Ryan seem to be the perfect couple, but as they face trials- Jenny from her past, and Ryan from his future- their flaws are revealed and there is a lot for them to learn about communication, trust, and forgiveness. I would have liked to see more romance in their relationship, but their drawn-out struggles prevented it. A bit of suspense kept the pace of the story moving forward when Ryan and Jenny's relationship was stuck in a rut. The developments in the pearl industry, the details of the navy, nursing, and spying in late 1800's Japan, San Fransisco, and San Diego captured my interest and the characters brought the setting to life. Jenny's surrogate father Simon and Finn, the spy Ryan is training to take over for him were two favorites that provided important interactions and additional depth to the plot. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
RachsRamblings More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this read! It had all the great makings of a tremendous novel- an interesting time period, a highly unknown scientific element, terrific characters, and great settings! This book has a great mystery in it, a passion of interest, and a very strong female lead. Jenny Bennett had a rough childhood that makes it hard for her to trust. It also made her just plain tough, which was to her benefit most of the time. Ryan is a bit of a mystery, but he brings in a lovely character who stole my heart. This was a great read with real life grit, determined and fascinating characters, and a totally different time period and plot that was fascinating. This book really had several elements that made it different from other reads in this genre. This is a book definitely destined for the forever shelves! I did receive a book from the publisher, but I had already purchased the read so that one will get passed on. Elizabeth Camden has become a must buy author for this reader!
MichelleKrim More than 1 year ago
This was a well-written story that took me by surprise. With many of the characters hiding secrets from their pasts, a bit of danger and intrigue, as well as a clean romance, this book was thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoyed the unique storyline, which gives a nice look at the Japanese culture. I liked the late 1800-early 1900 time period, as it's not commonly used in historical fiction. Plot: Nurse Jenny and Navel Officer Ryan met when Ryan was recovering from an injury. The couple fell in love, then Ryan was assigned overseas. Jenny promised to wait until Ryan returned, but then she receives a letter ending the relationship and breaking her heart. Six years later, Ryan's back and he needs Jenny's help, but she doesn't know if she can forgive him. Characters: I really liked Jenny. She's had a tough life, but she's tried to make the best of it and become a better person. I didn't care for Ryan at first, because of what he did to Jenny, but as I learned about the things that happened to him, I started to like him more. Seeing his relationship with his daughter, Lily, really melted me, though. There's another side character, Finn, that almost steals the story and I'm really hoping he will get his own story! Recommendation: I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical inspirational fiction. The author did a nice job of balancing the story with the theme of forgiveness. I'd never read anything from this author before and this story has me adding the rest of her books to my to-read list. Rating: 4.5/5 stars I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. This review is my honest opinion.
rubber_duckie91 More than 1 year ago
“A pearl. A radiant pearl that adds beauty to the world even though it had a tough beginning. That’s who you are to me.” To The Farthest Shores is a work of historical fiction written by Elizabeth Camden. It is the story of a young nurse named Jenny who falls deeply in love with a Navy Lieutenant named Ryan Gallagher. Ryan is sent on a special assignment while others are shipped off the the battle field. He shows back up 6 years later with the reputation of a deserter and after breaking Jenny’s heart. He is unable to disclose the reason behind his absence and doesn’t know if he can ever regain her trust but that doesn’t stop him from trying. Jenny and Ryan are faced with numerous obstacles in attempt to reignite the flame that once burnt so bright between them. First off I have not enjoyed Historical Fiction in the past so I was a bit skeptical when started this book but really wanted to give this genre another chance before giving up on it all together and I am so thankful that I did. This story opened up a love for a whole new genre of novels to me and introduce me to an author whom will no doubt soon be one of my favorite writers. I have been in a slump of reading some not too great books and this book was a much needed breath of fresh air. Camden did a beautiful job with this book and every one of her characters. Each character in this book has their own complex but yet beautiful past and together they make for some great reading. The details that were put into each characters past life and to their personalities made this book an amazing work of art. Jenny comes from a rough past to become a beautifully strong individual, Ryan is a character you are torn between loving and hating at every flip of the page, Simon is Jenny’s surrogate father and reminds you of that one goofy uncle we all have, and we watch Finn grow from an immature kid into a responsible adult and we go from despising him to loving him. If I had to pick one con to the story it would be that there simply just wasn’t enough of it. I wish the book was longer or that it was made into a series with more background into every character as well as a longer look into Jenny and Ryan’s lives together and Finn’s life after the story ended. Overall i thoroughly enjoyed ever page of this book and can’t wait to read more from Camden. I hope you al give this book a read. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. *I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for a review. *
slm76 More than 1 year ago
To the Farthest Shores is a novel about cultivating pearls, Japanese social graces, and a woman trying to compete with a ghost. Ryan Gallagher returns from an extended mission in Asia with a young daughter and a mountain of mystery surrounding him. Other soldiers call him a coward and vandalize his home but, even though he abandoned her, Jenny stands up for him without knowing where he was or what he was doing. When he asks for her nursing skills to assist a colleague, she agrees but is canny enough to add a few conditions to the assignment. Her adoptive father joins the small group in a remote coastal town, where Ryan is attempting to perfect the art of cultivating pearls. Although I’m a fan of Elizabeth Camden, this won’t go down as one of my favorite novels by her. I didn’t care much for the two main characters. I’d have been okay if it hadn’t had the required happy ending. The supporting characters were more interesting: Ryan’s daughter was a sweetie, Jenny’s father was intriguing, and I wouldn’t mind another story about Ryan’s colleague, Finn. I also had a problem with so much of the back story being told in block paragraphs. Flashback scenes might’ve appealed to me more. I did, however, learn what a cultured pearl is after having heard the term for so long. I also doubt this’ll be the last Elizabeth Camden book I’ll read. I’m sure I’ll read A Dangerous Legacy when it comes out in October. Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of To the Farthest Shores, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
MarB1 More than 1 year ago
I’ve read several of Ms. Camden’s previous books. Some I loved, others not. To The Farthest Shores also belongs to the latter. I didn’t care for the main characters; Jenny and Ryan. I couldn’t connect with their actions. On the other hand, the research was well done and I enjoyed reading about the pearl farm.
ARS8 More than 1 year ago
There is just something special about author Elizabeth Camden’s writing, which is why she is one of my favorite authors. Her latest release, To the Farthest Shores pulled me in with yet another unique couple. Her heroes and heroines are not cookie cutter characters and I was very invested in what was happening to Lt. Ryan Gallagher and Nurse Jenny Bennett. Starting in the year 1898, Ryan and Jenny have a whirlwind romance and quickly fall in love, planning their ever after together. Then Ryan must leave on assignment for the military leaving Jenny with promises of their future together. Six years pass and Jenny is left with only a terse letter from Ryan along with broken dreams and unfulfilled promises. When Ryan steps back into Jenny’s world, she is shocked and surprised by the obvious proof of his betrayal of her and the love that she thought was forever. There were times in this story that I wanted Jenny to smack Ryan upside his head and other times I just wanted her to forgive him and kiss and make up. Theirs’s was a very complex relationship and both were very intelligent characters with pasts that were slowly unveiled to give this story and the times they lived in such depth. I enjoyed the historical significance of some of the agencies in the US government that were really just getting started and the cultural differences between the United States and Japan. This was an engrossing read for me and I cannot wait to open another book by author Camden. I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all the views and opinions expressed are my own.
cdscotton More than 1 year ago
I have never read any of Ms. Camden’s previous books. And based on reading To the Farthest Shores, I am not sure I will attempt another one. I wanted to love this book. It’s written well (Ms. Camden has a lovely prose style), full of excellent details and research, and the characters had both attributes and flaws. In the end, though, I just couldn’t relate to the characters or connect with them in any way, and so the book fell flat for me. The setting, just after the Spanish-American War in the early 1900s, is one rarely seen in historical romance, and featured Jenny Bennett, a nurse heroine from a rough upbringing, and Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher, whose service to his country includes dangerous and secret missions. I liked Jenny well enough, though only at some parts in the story. Though she’s “respectable” at the beginning of the story as a hard-working nurse, her backstory as a child growing up in rough conditions made it seem as if the respectableness was a veneer. I didn’t truly believe she changed as much as Jenny thought she did, and she had issues that I did not feel were resolved satisfactorily. Ryan is calm. Seriously, he’s so calm I wanted to shake him to make sure he was still alive. And because he is also fairly unobservant (which I found hard to believe as he’s done undercover work in the past), it makes him appear dumber than he is. He’s a perfectly capable character, especially when he’s talking about oysters, but other than that there wasn’t much emotion from him. I also think it suffered that the majority of the story was told from Jenny’s point of view. Because she was so untrusting I kept wanting to yell at her that she needed to listen to what the other characters were telling her. Ryan was trying to protect her and so he avoided telling her things about his past, which made her lack of trust worse. Lack of communication is a big issue for me in romance and these two hardly talk about anything deep or important. I know at that time in history, promises to be married were rarely broken and considered nearly as sacred as marriage itself, but I did not interpret Ryan being with, marrying Akira, and having a child with her as “infidelity” and each time Jenny referred to it as such I was thrown a little out of the story. It was definitely a part of what they needed to discuss and work through, but I do not believe I would classify it as such because they weren’t married or even together when those events happened. I loved the descriptions of oyster farming and the story itself was excellently researched. Unfortunately, my inability to connect or relate to the characters, along with the lack of communication between them, means this is a story that I cannot recommend for romance fans. Lovers of oysters and pearls will enjoy the details Ms. Camden provides. I give it 2/5 stars for the lovely prose, excellent historical detail, the beautifully detailed setting, and the unusual timeframe. **I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House, the publisher. All opinions are my own.**
LucyMR1 More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Camden has written about a part of history that I didn't know much about and she had me captivated from the beginning. The research is impeccable. Secrets kept between the characters and attacks on Ryan's life add mystery and intrigue. Ms. Camden gives you enough breadcrumbs to follow the trail to the conclusion. I enjoyed that their Faith plays an important role in the characters lives. Jenny is such a believable character that you want to protect from all the hurts she has faced. She is a strong woman that you come to admire and love. I totally enjoyed this book and recommend. I received a complimentary copy from Bethany House Publishers. The honest review and opinions are my own and were not required.
MJK108 More than 1 year ago
“One should not accept an apology until one is prepared to consign the offense to the past. Otherwise it will fester like a splinter beneath the skin and continue to cause problems in the future.” -Lt. Ryan Gallagher Jenny Bennett, a beautiful and rather complex young nurse, works at the U.S. Army Base at the Presidio in San Francisco in the year 1898 when she meets and falls in love with handsome, blonde Lt. Ryan Gallagher. Although not together long, they make plans for their future marriage when Ryan suddenly has to depart mysteriously in the night. After being gone for a year, a cryptic letter from Ryan arrives telling her that he will not be returning. Six years later Jenny still struggles to completely give up thoughts of Lt. Gallagher who disappeared that night. When the mysterious Ryan arrives back at the Presidio with a beautiful Asian daughter, Jenny wants only an explanation for his behavior from him. The story revolves around the conflict of Jenny’s need for security and the truth and Ryan’s characteristics of being closed off and secretive. Even when the secrets are finally disclosed, Jenny and Ryan find that they have different definitions o f forgiveness. An intriguing read that will leave readers questioning the art of forgiveness! Be sure and check out the reader’s notes at the end of the book. Elizabeth Camden once again fills her novel with detailed historical data that captivates one’s imagination and characters that are true to life. This ARC copy was received from Bethany House and Netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
AngelN1 More than 1 year ago
I've read several of Elizabeth Camden's books, and she has yet to disappoint me. The latest, To the Farthest Shores, is set at the turn of the last century. Like all of her tales, the historical details are fabulous. Camden has a gift for placing the reader in another time and place, and I appreciate her diligence in researching. I really enjoyed learning about the pearl industry, and the glimpses she gave of military intelligence's early start were fascinating. I would have enjoyed knowing a little more about that side of the story. Jenny's experience as a civilian nurse on an army base was very interesting as well. I loved her back story, and her determined character. I felt like she was a better-developed character than Ryan. It was easier to get into her head, so to speak. This story centers on forgiveness, and it is a love story between two flawed but realistic characters. I highly recommend this book. I received this book from the publisher, Bethany House, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.
BookwormLisa More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of books. One thing that rarely happens is when a book captures most of my attention. When I was not reading this book, I was thinking about this book. My heart ached for the characters. I was drawn to the story of young love that is broken because of war. This book takes place six years after Ryan and Jenny promised that they would marry when he came back from the Philippines. There has not been contact between the two other than a letter from Ryan saying that Jenny should forget about him. He comes back to the States with a half Japanese daughter and many unanswered questions. Jenny cannot trust him. He broke her heart and was married to another woman an ocean away. I was caught up in this story. I understood both sides of the dilemma. (Of course, as a reader you are aware of information that one or more characters may not know.) I understood that Ryan could not be completely forthcoming because of the time he spent in Japan as a spy. I understood that Jenny had a horrible childhood that made it difficult for her to trust or let anyone in emotionally. There are many great lessons in this book. One of my favorite moments is when Jenny is talking to Finn, a man being trained to become a spy in Japan. Jenny is telling Finn about her issues and asks how she should look at the little girl that is Ryan's daughter. He told her to look at her as a "gift from God". Sometimes difficult things happen to people, but a blessing can come from them, like an innocent and beautiful child.' I won't say that this book is perfect, but the way that it made me feel was. I will take that as a gift. This book has kissing, someone overcoming drug addiction, talk of past sexual activity, and violence. (Someone is trying to kill Ryan.) Source: I received a copy from Netgalley.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
I love a great historical novel based around facts because after you read them not only do you feel like you have personally time traveled to said location, but you also have learned something about history along the journey. In Elizabeth Camden's latest novel, To The Farthest Shores, Jenny Bennett is making preparations as a nurse to say goodbye to the love of her life, Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher who is about to be shipped out since President McKinley declared war against Spain and the base has been mobilizing for conflict. Troops from across the nation streamed into the Presidio, preparing to sail for the Spanish colonies in the Far East. He promises to come back and without a ring to seal his intentions to marry her when he returns, he gives her his father's pocket watch which he intends to swap out with a ring. So now Jenny spends her time caring for the men at the hospital located in the Presidio, those who are amputee's struggle to come to terms with how to make it now that they are home again. The men love her ability to care for them as if they are the only ones there and many marriage offers accompany their heart-felt thanks, but Jenny is waiting on Ryan. However when the war ended and no letter or notice from Ryan, she got worried and checked the lists for wounded, killed or missing service men, but no sign of Ryan. She even took it upon herself to contact anyone she knew in attempts to locate him, but it would take a year and a half for the letter to come. The only letter she would receive from Ryan, notifying her that he had a change of heart and was no longer coming home. He was going to stay in the Navy. Left with a broken heart, she tried to find ways to stay busy and the last thing she expected to see was Ryan walking in the park with a little girl named Lily who claims that Ryan is her father. When she tries to confront Ryan, all he does is allude all her questions and has hoped she has moved on with her life. Rumors begin to circulate around the base that Ryan skipped out on serving his time in the Navy or that he became a war profiteer and eluded his time to serve his country. Without any explanation, Jenny has to assume that some of those rumors must be true. She is determined to find out the truth if she ever hopes to move on in her own life, if only she still didn't have feelings for Ryan. I received To The Farthest Shores by Elizabeth Camden compliments of Baker Publising Group and Net Galley. This is such a wonderful novel about not only the war, but also about the creation of cultured pearls and oyster farming. In the Historical note section, readers learn about the Military Information Division or MID that was established in 1885 as a branch of the U.S. Army and was one of several organizations charged with gathering intelligence about foreign nations. These unit were not integrated until the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947. Now as well I have an understanding not only of how pearls are created but the differences between cultured and natural pearls. I easily give this novel a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion. This novel does contain Reader Discussion Guide Questions, which makes this perfect for a book club.
parmilespages More than 1 year ago
Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher and Jenny Bennett met while he was recovering in a hospital and she was his nurse. After he recovers, the relationship continues and he makes a promise to return for her after his latest military assignment. He even seals his promise with his father’s watch. After six years, Jenny’s only communication with Ryan was a sterile letter saying he wasn’t returning to California. That is until she unexpectedly runs into him on the Presidio Army base. A lot has changed in six years for Ryan, and Jenny is finding it difficult to reconcile the man she knew six years ago with the man Ryan is now. The author did a great job of weaving in the theme of forgiveness into the different aspects of the story. We see Jenny struggle with her relationship with Ryan but she also struggles to forgive herself from her own past. We encounter this theme of forgiveness again while Ryan is training Finn for his assignment in Japan. Another aspect of the book I enjoyed was the story itself and the way the author incorporated Japanese culture and the pearl industry into the plot and background. All the characters were well developed and likable, one of my favorites was Simon. And each of the supporting characters had a role in enhancing the narrative and giving a better over all picture of the main character’s personalities. The author also mingled in a bit of mystery into the narrative, which added a few unexpected twists and turns and creating unpredictability. Overall, I thought is was a great novel and kept the reader engaged. I would highly recommend this historical fiction book. I received a complimentary copy of the book from Bethany House for an honest review
TheBookUniverse More than 1 year ago
"Hypeness" Rating: 4.5 Book received through Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. * Review Posted on http://thebookuniverse.weebly.com/ * I will have to say that this was a very promising story. I usually stay away from books that are solely of romance, but I decided to give it a go. This story follows a nurse, Jenny, and a naval officer, Ryan, who fall in love. Right away as you start the book Ryan mysteriously has to leave and promises to return for Jenny. The book speeds up and six years later Ryan still hasn't returned. Jenny waits for him to return everyday and is expected to return to her normal life. At the beginning of the book it shows Jenny to be a helpless and innocent girl. When Ryan does return, he has changed and brings a child with him. Though he still loves Jenny, she has matured and knows its best to stay away before she gets her heart broken twice. Ryan needs Jenny to help him with a task but she can't trust him because she doesn't know what happened in Japan. I found that when I was reading this book I was a little annoyed at the fact that Jenny still hadn't forgiven him. In the book they Ryan and Jenny talk about moving away from the past but end up in an argument. Nonetheless, this book was well developed and I enjoyed the historical aspect that was incorporated into a "basic romance story." The research about MID and pearls was a nice way to make the story interesting as well! Despite this, there were a few unanswered question that were left. Whatever happened to Finn? What will happen to Lily? Will Lily go to Japan? I hope the author has something for these two characters. A short story would be nice to wrap up their tales. All in all, should you read it? Definitely give it a go! Thank you once again to Bethany House for providing me a copy for this wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book a lot more than the other book I read by Elizabeth Camden. I feel really bad for Jenny, Ryan broke her heart in a very short letter--not even in person. Not to mention that before he did that, he married or at least fell in love with, someone else. I feel especially bad for her since he promised to marry her when he came back from his assignment (that he was leaving for). Plus, he knew her well enough to know she probably wouldn't trust him again, since when she grew up, she had horrible experiences with people. I honestly wish that she didn't go back with him at the end, because I certainly wouldn't if I was her. Not to mention the fact that he's lied to her face many times, despite knowing that it wouldn't help him get her back. The book was kind of an emotional rollarcoaster, but it was also really good.
Nutz2read More than 1 year ago
I always look forward to reading Ms. Camden’s books and this one is no exception! Her characters are always so unique and I love how her stories manage to both entertain and teach me. Prior to stumbling across her books, I doubt I would’ve read about opium addiction, or watchmakers in Chicago, or magazine illustrators, or librarians for the Library of Congress, or tuberculosis studies, or pearl farming, or the other curious things she writes about. And I love that! I love the adventures I find between the covers. It’s almost always something unexpected, but that completely works. This story drew me in from chapter one and rarely slowed! I just had to know how everything would work out! As always, Ms. Camden’s writing was excellent! Her details and descriptions, and the amount of research I’m sure went into this story make it so authentic. I loved the bit of mystique surround Ryan and his past, and fell in love with sweet Lily. There aren’t many heroes whose main trait is kindness, but that seemed to be Ryan’s. He is so kind, but there’s an inner strength and moral compass that guides everything he does. I confess that I struggled a bit with Jenny’s character at first. She isn’t exactly the most lovable lady, especially in her interactions with Ryan, though I couldn’t really blame her, either. One of my favorite things was seeing the relationship between them change and slowly grow, as Jenny learned how to truly forgive. My only negative comment is that I felt the suspense moments were thrown in rather haphazardly and the story would’ve been fine without them. They didn’t really drive the story much and seemed more afterthoughts. And I do love a good suspense novel, but this one was great as just a romance. So ignoring those, I really enjoyed this book and getting to spend time with some unique characters and their equally quirky friends. My thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House for my complimentary copy of this book! I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.