This one will keep you up late, folks. I read the first book in The Empire State novels, A Dangerous Legacy, and loved it, so when this one came up for review, I was excited to take it on. And in true obsessive-reader fashion – especially with a book that has good tension – it only took me a few days to finish.
Eloise Drake’s prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she’s finally put behind her–or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she’s now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.
Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town–but he needs Eloise’s help to succeed.
Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it’s too late.
This series focuses on the Drake family, and with this newest installment, we get to know Eloise (with some revisits to Nick and Rosalind). She’s a fascinating character plagued by conflicting desires – one, to be logical and reasonable because following her impulses didn’t work out so well the last time. And two, to throw caution to the wind and join Alex on his mad crusade to literally move a town before the state has it demolished to make way for a drinking water reservoir.
And then Alex – Lord help us all – Alex is a gambler and a white knight and has a serious case of tunnel vision. As much as the sparks between him and Eloise make fantastic things happen, their biggest obstacle might be the fact that he’s slightly obtuse and she’s afraid. It’s comical, frustrating and rife with tension.
Characters aside, the history was fascinating! I was aware that buildings could be moved, but I didn’t realize they figured out out to do it by the early 1900s. There’s some great history in this one inspired by the very real relocation of entire towns. Once again, I recommend reading the author’s note when you get your hands on this book in February. It always makes the content so much more interesting.
I highly recommend this book with a caveat. While the story line does not take the reader into any inappropriate situations, pre-marital sex and its complications are discussed. The Christian themes are also light in some aspects and for Eloise, have a Catholic bent as she spent several years living in a convent, which may be different from what readers might expect. For some of you, this might be fascinating, for others, it might not be the right fit.
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.