Until the Dawn

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" - Matthew 5:8

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Title:  Until the Dawn
Author:  Elizabeth Camden
Publisher:  Bethany House
Release Date:  December 1, 2015



Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie van Riijn sees no harm in setting up a rooftop weather station for her work with the newly established Weather Bureau. While the villagers are suspicious of the mysterious estate and its tragic history, Sophie has come to see it as her own enchanted piece of paradise. 

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover Sophie trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie yet find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There's a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark can no longer be kept in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail?

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After reading somewhat of a "prequel", but more of an introduction novella titled, Toward the Sunrise, I was intrigued to continue on and read Elizabeth Camden's full novel, Until the Dawn. I'm glad I did.  Ms. Camden fascinated readers with a story reminisce of the dark setting of Jane Eyre at times, but with a sunny disposition heroine.   The story itself wraps you in as you read about Quentin, his melancholic nature and his strive to overcome this inherited nature with science for his son, Pieter.  Come Sophie, beautiful and vivacious that brightens a room just with her smile, and not to mention a splendid cook.  Have you ever heard of the saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? What a sweet and romantic way to bring two very opposite people together?  Their romance is one that I find to be the lasting kind. Their characters developed and grew for the better with each other.  As written, "Sophie made him long to be a better man, and that was something he had not felt in a long time." (112).  Now, does that not melt your hearts a tad bit for Quentin?  Granted, he's not perfect, and no matter how "merry-go-sunshine" Sophie is, she's not perfect either, and that's what makes their love story so worth reading. It's not perfect.  Quentin's negativity might've had me saying good bye a long time ago, if I was in Sophie's shoes, but with the grace of God, Sophie was patient and then saw something more. No relationship is perfect, and with mistakes comes experience, and in turn the endurance of it all leads to strength, and that's what I hope to see with Quentin and Sophie.

As to the story, we have beauty with the mystery behind Dierenpark and the Vandermark family.  To be honest, this is one instance where the cover, specifically the image of the estate on the bottom of the cover had me wondering about this novel. And with a title as Until the Dawn, there seems to be more to be said. I want to know what that mystery is. I want to know what is behind this beautiful estate.  It's interesting with the comparison of science and religion and how each provides whatever answer you're looking for, but in the end, what science can't explain, faith can.

"...God gave us many ways to experience the world...through seeing, hearing, touching, but also heart.  When I align my thoughts and actions with the teachings of Jesus, I sense him in my heart, and the entire way I see the world shifts." (108) 
"Sometimes cruelty begets more cruelty...the funny thing is that love works the same way.  When you try to love, or at least understand your enemies, I think you will be surprised at the way the world looks a little brighter." (162) 
"Sometimes there were places where it was easier to feel closer to God...but spiritual abundance could be found by anyone willing to search for it." (337-338)

Each of our "Garden of Eden" is where we seek God. Have faith and let our desire to be close to God be everywhere, our "Garden of Eden".  Until the Dawn is the second book, first full novel I read from Elizabeth Camden, and it won't be the last. Her stories will be one I look forward to and I pray that my heart and mind will be opened to experience not only the romance, but the meaningful faith elements interspersed and as a message throughout.

One last note, this book provided the answer to the final question I had after reading Toward the Sunrise, which is why the Broeders were forever treasured and protected by the Vandermarks. If that's your question too, you'll find your answers in Until the Dawn. Happy reading!

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House for an honest review. I am not required to provide a stellar review, only an honest one.



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Photo courtesy of
Ginger Murray Photography

Elizabeth Camden is the author of eight historical novels and has been honored with a RITA Award, Christy Award, and Daphne du Maurier 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.

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  1. Great review of a book I am currently reading. I love Elizabeth Camden and Sophie and Quentin are quite the characters. Can't wait to see how it turns out (as if we didn't know) :)

  2. Hi Debbie, yes, as if we didn't know, but for you and I, and most all readers will enjoy the journey to get there. Twists and all! Thank you for stopping by and for your kind words and encouragement. Thank you. Merry Christmas and God bless you.


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