Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
TYPE OF NOVEL: Historical Romance, Christian Fiction
SETTING: Texas, 1851
MAIN CHARACTERS: Nicole Renard, a feisty, quick-minded, and courageous heiress with a talent for mathematics and an obligation to save her family from a nefarious family. Darius Thornton, a man haunted by trauma in his past, has become obsessed with finding a solution to boiler explosions on steamships and lives as a recluse in Texas.
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL: While I do like to live by the credo “all Jane Austen, all the time,” I do enjoy dipping my toe into some historical romances that introduce me to a whole new cast of characters and take me to different places and eras in history. When I want a satisfying and illuminating historical romance that has some hints of faith mixed in, Karen Witemeyer is an author I’ve come to trust to get the balance just right.
WHAT I LOVED:
- Darius Thornton: (Oh yes, the hero is first and foremost!) I adored our atypical, rough-around-the-edges hero. His manners are brusque and he is susceptible to brooding, but what I love most about him is his noble, self-sacrificing, and intense nature. He will work himself ragged to study and try to solve boiler explosions, even at the risk of his own life! And to see how he was haunted by the past every time he attempted to snatch some sleep (which wasn’t often), was a testament to his compassionate and responsible character. In addition, I loved seeing his scientific mind at work, especially when he tried to apply his keen observation skills and scientific theories to figuring out Nicole!
- Self-Sacrifice and Forgiveness: I truly enjoyed the underlying themes of self-sacrifice and forgiveness that were present in this novel as well as the inspiring message delivered throughout the text. Nicole is so loyal to her family that she is determined to find and marry a suitable heir to run her father’s company, even to the point of sacrificing her own happiness and desires. And poor Darius, he blames himself for a life he wasn’t able to save and has yet to realized that we cannot absolve ourselves from our past mistakes or earn forgiveness.
- Boilers and Steamships: I love it when novels open my eyes and expand my mind! Before reading this novel, I was very ignorant of boiler explosions and the ever-present danger passengers faced when traveling by steamship. I enjoyed learning about Darius’s experiments and seeing him search for the conditions that are most conducive to prevent steamboat explosions.
- There’s Steam: I loved the relationship between Darius and Nicole, she’s feisty and fiercely loyal, and he is fervently intense and focused. And that kind of combination could be very passionate! *sigh* There is a lovely amount of tender and amorous embraces in this novel (nothing too mature though). And while their feelings for each other may have quickly developed, Darius and Nicole both have secrets to share and obstacles to overcome.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Quick Change of Heart: Nicole and Darius progress (perhaps a little too quickly for my taste) from attracted to each other to full-on “my heart is yours forever” love. Especially Darius. I would have loved for the “I-have-strong-feelings-for-you-but-we-cannot-be-together” struggle to have lasted a little bit longer.
A beautiful and exhilarating romance! This story is full of dynamic characters who face dangerous predicaments and develop strong devotion for each other. With Full Steam Ahead, Karen Witemeyer delivers another praiseworthy an engaging adventure that secures her place on my list of go-to authors!