This is a delightful historical romance. We are taken to the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Our main character is a Kodak girl. Clara Lambert had been hired by George Eastman to take photos, or snapshots, as he called them. The idea was to convince women how easy it was to create lasting memories of their families and thereby sell more of his “Brownie” cameras.
Her adventure turns out to be more than she expected when she witnesses the attempted assassination of President McKinley. During that experience, she catches the eye of James Brinton. He has a past that got him relieved of his police duties. A compassionate captain has allowed James to work again but he must be on his best behavior or his career with the police is over.
Clara is shocked when, in the aftermath of the assassination attempt, someone tries to steal her camera. James comes to her rescue. With the attempted assassin already in custody, why would someone want her camera? The police demand copies of the photos she has taken. When some of the photos show incriminating evidence, James must decide where his loyalties lie.
I really like how the characters have been brought to life in this novel. Johnson has captured the era, especially how people were responding to the idea of taking photos. Women were hesitant to attempt the process. There were some people, it seems, who thought the photographs stayed in the camera somehow, even after the film had been removed.
Every good romance needs obstacles. There several issues that Clara and James must work through before romance can blossom. Both have made choices in the past that affect their current lives and each must make the difficult choice of forgiveness. I really like how they rely on their Christian faith to do the hard thing. Add a couple of misunderstandings in there and the result is a good romance.
I always like to learn something new when I read a novel and I wish there had been more about how the Brownie camera worked. Clara once commented that she hoped the photo was in focus and that got me thinking about how the focusing was done. Also, Clara changed her film in a lighted room. Did they have film canisters then? I'm an avid photographer and other readers might not even be interested in these details.
I do recommend this well crafted and well written historical romance that includes a bit of a mystery. Those who appreciate a character driven historical romance with plenty of obstacles to overcome will really like this one.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Suzie Johnson is the author of three previous novels. She is married with one adult son and lives on an island in Northwest Washington. You can find out more about her and her books and follow her blog at http://www.susandianejohnson.com/.
WhiteFire Publishing, 300 pages.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author for the purpose of an independent and honest review.