A historical fiction book with a librarian as the heroine -- how could any librarian like myself pass up the opportunity to read such a book? From the first page when I realized that Anna O'Brien worked at not just a library, but THE LIBRARY, The Library of Congress, I knew I would be fascinated by the setting of the book. I was not disappointed. Miss O'Brien is one of several female librarians given a temporary status at the library in the late 1890s; her particular specialty is maps. Within days, the library will leave its quarters in the Congress and move across the street to the grand new building dedicated solely to the library. Details like the political disagreements over the cost of the new facility, Congress's dependence on the library for pertinent factual information on a daily basis, and the precarious life of a single working woman gave life to this turn of the century Washington D. C. tale.
The young Congressman Luke Callahan from Maine adds intrigue and a hint of scandal. Clearly his hot head and rash actions cause many of his problems, but his immediate attraction to the quiet,but feisty Anna is not an action he regrets. Knowing that any hint of impropriety could cost her beloved job, Anna vows to stay away from his charms. But she suspects a cover up of how her father and the entire crew of his navy ship died fourteen years earlier, and when her attempts to learn the truth are roadblocked, she turns to Luke for help.
Mystery and a smacking of political intrigue with a cover up, a fresh historical setting (one not overdone by others) and a romance between a likable, but flawed pair --- these elements blend smoothly into a captivating novel which I am sure will remain one of my favorites for 2015. I believe Elizabeth Camden intended this to be a stand-alone story, but I would love to see Anna back at the Library of Congress helping Congressman Callahan figure what is best for America as the country faces the dawn of the twentieth century. If you agree, let's tell Camden; perhaps she will craft a sequel.
I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Books for review purposes. I am scheduled to blog on February 15th, but am posting a few days early.