Elizabeth Camden is in a league of her own when it comes to masterfully writing progressive-era fiction. Clearly defined characters, a vivid setting and fascinating history are her hallmarks, and she delivers these to readers once again in her second Empire State novel. Doctor Rosalind Werner and Nicholas Drake have an instant, electric chemistry that continues to be fanned into flame by Nick’s audacious (and swoon-inducing) flirting. Though his somewhat arrogant sense of entitlement may at first put some readers off, his good heart and hero tendencies more than make up for it as the story progresses. Nick’s backstory is continued from A Dangerous Legacy, allowing readers to revisit Colin and Lucy as well, while Rosalind’s story gains new layers at every turn and proves very timely for the modern age. The subplot with the conniving relatives almost distracts too much from the main plot, but it also serves to nicely set the stage for the third book. Sizzling kisses, scientific breakthroughs and the highs and lows of the progressive-era society all come together to shape a story that is as compelling as it is engaging.

After losing her parents to a cholera epidemic when she was a child, Doctor Rosalind Werner is passionate about using science to fight waterborne diseases. In fact, she is part of a team on the verge of revolutionizing water treatment. First, however, she must help convince Jersey City authorities (and a judge) that their methods are safe and effective. A battle, it seems, that must be hard fought, despite all the lives that potentially hang in the balance. One of her most vocal opponents is Nicholas Drake, the newly wealthy plumber who has now been named Commissioner of Water for New York. He thinks Rosalind’s work is a waste of time, but he also can’t deny that he is intensely attracted to her. As he learns more about Rosalind and her work, he is drawn to her passion, her intelligence and her personality. Their firm and opposite positions are enough of an obstacle to a relationship together, but can their fledgling attraction survive when Rosalind’s life is threatened and her secrets are uncovered? (BETHANY HOUSE, Jun., 352 pp., $15.99)

Reviewed by: 
Carrie Townsend