When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping. Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals--the Jenkins brothers--on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next. Darius Thornton needs a secretary--someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research. The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.
©2014 Karen Witemeyer (P)2014 Recorded Books
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I've been a HUGE Karen Witemeyer fan since I first read "A Tailor Made Bride." "Full Steam Ahead" didn't feel like the author I fell for in that first novel. While parts of the story were very good, I didn't connect with the characters as I had in her previous novels. It's something that I can't pinpoint, or put my finger on, but it was frustrating. I loved the historical aspect of the story, and the science behind the steam engines, but it seemed like so much was repeated, plot lines were emphasized and re-emphasized again, and I wanted more than that. Frankly, I expected more than that.
A big issue was probably the narration. Yet again, 2nd book in a row, an old sounding narrator for a book about young people. I honestly feel like had the book had a better narrator, one that didn't speak so slowly, or emphasize certain words the same way every time like, "Lafitte Dagger," it would have been smoother, and I could have connected more to the characters. Now, Carine Montbertrand was definitely not as bad as the narrator for "Stealing the Preacher." That's a book I had to return and buy in print. Looking back, I might buy this one as well and re-read it.
I felt like giving the overall rating of this book a 3 out of 5, but I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt by making it a 4. I enjoyed the story, I liked how the characters met and interacted, but there was a disconnect somewhere.
Definitely worth the credit if you're a fan of Karen Witemeyer, or enjoy a nice easy listening Christian romance. It's just not up to the level I expected based on her previous works.
"I've probably outgrown books like these"
There was a pretty good story behind this, but I think it might be the sort of book I'll veer away from in future. So many of them are alike with theme variations. Damsel in distress falls for the handsome yet aloof employee who ends up being so impressed with her strength and character that he falls in love too....all in two weeks! End of story. Except that in this one there was a whole lot of discussion about boilers for a steam boat. Not the least interesting for those of us who find steam engines and discussion of them boring. Okay, I'm being mean.
Sorry. I'm done.
"Determined to finish it."
This book was not my favorite, but I am glad I kept picking it up to finish it. It is not what I expected/wanted from a Witemeyer book. Tailor Made Bride & Short Straw Bride & Stealing the Preacher (read in that order) were fantastic. I have listened to them more than once. Full Steam I probably won't read again.
Darius's story at the beginning of the book made me cry....I physically had to dry my tears, hug my son and husband, and then pick it back up to read.
I had a hard time wrapping my head around these christian people putting so much stock in a "Lucky Dagger". They risked their (and their daughter Nicole's) life on keeping this dagger in the family. Nicole continually defied her father to prove she was as good as a son (she was definitely better/smarter than a son). During her defiance she used her intelligence and wit to rescue an emotionally traumatized Steamboat Fleet Owner (Darius Thornton).
There were also a LOT of musings by Nicole about this childhood boy friend who she loved dearly and hadn't seen in a very long time. It didn't seem to have a solid purpose in this book, but I think that it might be just a set up for a sequel. I would be willing to listen to the sequel (if one comes) because I believe Karen is a great writer.
The narrator OLD, but the characters were young...hard for my imagination to remember most of the characters were under 50. There was a french accent when the narrator felt compelled to say the word in a "French'y" way.
I am glad I read it, but it has put my Witemeyer craving on hold.
Yes it was easy listening
This woman has an enornous collection of various voices. , she is excellent!
I found this to be extremely boring. i couldn't even finish it. The main characters had no chemistry. I did not enjoy the narrator, either. Her voice was too old sounding and I hated how she changed to an accent every time she pronounced Nicole's parents names. Annoying.
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