REVIEW: A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden
As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.
Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.
While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.
Dear Ms. Camden,
When I started the prologue for “A Daring Venture,” I had absolutely no idea where the book was going to go. Children living through some kind of horrible catastrophic illness? Hmmm, not the most appetizing way to ease into the story but it certainly made a point and served as the backbone that stiffens Rosalind’s spine in her efforts to help prevent it from happening again.
Dr. Rosalind Werner initially wanted to become a doctor to try and keep anyone else from dying the way her parents had when she was ten years old. She quickly realized however that the best way to do this was to bring to life the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If she can help keep the water supplies clean, then people won’t get sick from typhoid or cholera. She was on her way in Germany before a scandal forced her to return to the US. Now she and Dr. John Leal are in a lawsuit trying to get permission to begin treating the water supply of Jersey City with chlorine.
Well, biochemists trying to save the world one chlorinated city water supply at a time would never have occurred to me as a romance book plot.
She and Nick Drake, plumber brother of the heroine of “A Dangerous Legacy,” are on opposite sides of the issue. This, I thought, was genius. Usually in books with characters trying to implement some now accepted but then controversial activity, the hero and heroine will be the forward thinking agents of change boldly fighting against the backward characters horrified by this Daring Something New. But our hero, Nick, is the one dead set against this. Sure, he’s in favor of clean water for everyone – just look at the long running lawsuit he and his sister Lucy fought against their own relatives in the last book. But test chlorinated water on his three year old daughter? Not so quick and not without a lot more testing about the long term effects.
As Nick tells Rosalind, if the process can be proven safe he’ll be one of the first men dancing in the streets but without safety data – nope, he’ll block it any way that he can. He also can’t wait for the 90 day extension the judge gives Rosalind’s side to gather more data to be over so he can begin courting her because she’s the most amazing woman he’s ever met. She’s so smart he almost can’t believe she’d be interested in a guy like him who has no college education.
Rosalind feels the same pull and thus it kills her to go along with what Dr. Leal decides to do. But Rosalind has seen, at first and devastating hand, what happens from a glass of water tainted with bacteria that filter systems can’t remove and she’s not going to back down trying to stop that. What neither of them expect is a hidden enemy ready to hurt anyone in a quest for revenge.
So – contaminated water. Yeah, not exactly the thrill a minute subject. At least not until I read that prologue which brought the issue to vivid intensity and explained Rosalind and her colleagues’ steadfast determination to continue their work. And that whiff of chlorine you sometimes get from drinking water? Thank your lucky stars for it.
The conflict between Nick and Rosalind isn’t an easy-peasy one and when things go badly between them, things go downhill quickly. Neither is perfect but Nick, bless his heart, is honest enough to admit that he did Rosalind a disservice in expecting her to be so. Nick’s a hothead and his verbal fireworks make things difficult but he does admit his fault and after Rosalind demands that he do something to fix things, he tries.
The dysfunctional Drake family remains just that with some real corkers who stir up all kinds of things. At the end of the day, some people are just twisted enough or desperate enough to instigate events most people find unbelievable. Rosalind’s family tensions add a touch of verisimilitude to her life while it’s interesting to note that Nick and his brother-in-law can still rub each other the wrong way at times.
Brava for Rosalind that she takes her time in trusting Nick again – but then he had to do the same thing for her. No one is perfect. Well I certainly learned a lot about municipal water treatment and got a romance in the bargain! B