It is the turn of the century in New York City. Lucy and her brother Nick have inherited a decades old family legal feud which requires all their resources to fight. While Lucy and Nick live frugally, their uncle lives like a king, thwarting their every attempt at justice.
Lucy’s work as a telegraph operator with the AP news service puts her in direct contact with the British Sir Colin Beckwith, who works for Reuters. Though they are attracted to each other, their companies’ rivalry precludes any type of relationship. Not to mention that Colin, who bears a noble name and heritage, is in New York seeking a wealthy wife to prop up his crumbling estate.
At the same time Lucy and Nick’s legal drama takes an unexpected turn, Colin learns something about her which could put their case in jeopardy. At the same time Lucy runs across a news item which could ruin Colin’s reputation and thereby his marriage hopes. In an agreement of quid pro quo, Lucy and Colin decide to join forces while fighting their mutual attraction.
There is a reason Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite authors and A Dangerous Legacy proves the reason why.
For one reason, I love that she writes strong, independent, but also flawed and human heroines. Lucy, like other Camden heroines, is employed in a unique career in a time where most women stayed at home. If they did work it was as teachers, maids, factory workers, shop clerks or cooks. But Lucy has an important position as a telegrapher, which she uses to help contribute to her and Nick’s living costs and legal fees. Lucy is brave and fearless, but also a little naïve and foolish. At times I found her stubbornness frustrating, as do her brother and Colin. But that just make her all the more real.
Another reason I love Camden’s books are her heroes. Each one of them is unique and not your typical one dimensional leading men. Though they are all honorable, they are not generally the strong, silent or tall, dark and handsome types. Some are poetic congressmen, or fugitives seeking justice. In Sir Colin Beckwith, we find a man burdened by his family legacy but also striving to maintain it. And despite his title, he isn’t too good to work at something he loves. He also has a hidden weakness, which makese him all the more endearing to me. As does his sense of humor and the way he teases Lucy. But above all, like all of Camden’s heroes, Colin is a man who can be depended on.
I was initially hooked by the author’s romances within her novels. But in the last couple of books I’ve read, I’ve found myself gravitating more towards the historical aspects of her stories. Camden’s research of the historical details and events is superb and the way she weaves all these details in without the dreaded “info dump” is amazing. Instead, I always feel as if I am living forgotten pieces and moments of history.
In her last book I learned all about pearl farming. To be honest, I never knew pearls were farmed. In A Dangerous Legacy, I was immersed in the world of the early news service providers, the AP and Reuters, which also taught me much about telegraphy. And thanks to Lucy’s brother’s profession, I also explored the sewage and plumbing tunnels under New York City. You just never know what piece of history you will live next when reading an Elizabeth Camden novel.
So yes, I am singing the praises of one of my favorite authors. As I’ve come to expect, A Dangerous Legacy, continues a tradition of excellent research, writing and historical world building while also presenting very complex but human characters. If you’ve never read an Elizabeth Camden novel, you can’t go wrong beginning with A Dangerous Legacy. And good news! If you enjoy it, the sequel, A Daring Venture, which will tell Nick’s story is releasing later this year.
For the images which inspired the story and the characters, check out the author’s Pinterest page.