A volunteer for the Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn uses the highest point in her village---an abandoned mansion---to take her readings. But Quentin Vandermark is furious when he discovers Sophie trespassing. Can the duo find common ground over Quentin's troubled son? And w... Read More
- Product type: Book
- Format: Softcover
- Release Date: Nov 3, 2015
- UPC: 9780764217203
- Volumes/Discs: 1
- Pages: 352
- Publish Date: Dec 1, 2015
- Language: English
- Audience Age Maximum: 0
- Audience Age Minimum: 0
- BISAC: "FIC042030"
- ISBN: 0764217208
Customer ReviewsWrite your own review
- Ancestral Bodings by Kathleen E. on 3/8/2016
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden, © 2015
A volunteer for the newly established Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn needs access to the highest spot in her village to report the most accurate readings. Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie knows no better option despite a lack of permission from the absent owners.
North of New Holland, 1898. Early each morning, Sophie van Riijn arrives at the Dierenpark mansion high above the Hudson River, to calculate the weather readings to telegraph to Washington to the Weather Bureau. Nine years she has been collecting the data to send each day; rain, storm, or shine. There is a groundskeeper, Emil Broeder, and a housekeeper, Florence Hengeveld, who have maintained the abandoned Vandermark estate for several decades, that it not lay in ruins.
The tourists come to buy postcards and Dutch cookie treats, painters come to fill their canvases ~ Sophie comes for a respite from the clamor of the small village of New Holland where her father runs a hotel and is the local mayor. How she loves the scent of the open water blowing across the breeze, and the flowers... There is a cove where oysters bed and lilies bloom, quite unordinary for other places in the area. A quiet paradise. That is until the summer day a steamboat from Manhattan brought sightseers, and the tour guide unknowingly told his embellished tale to young Pieter, the great-grandson of Nickolaas Vandermark, the last occupant sixty years earlier.
Pieter and his father, Quentin Vandermark, have arrived to stay.
This is an intertwining story of the remarkable village girl who soothes the angst of these newer generations of Vandermarks, far beyond what they might have imagined. Used to hearing superstition and grave losses to their family line, they are query to her attendance to them. An excellent cook, the aromas coming from their kitchen bid them come, however wary at first. Her constant peace is uneasy to Quentin, through his constant years of physical pain and anguish.
A settling comes, as Quentin begins to speak with Sophie as much as he would like to stay away. Years of turmoil is not easily left behind.
***Thank you to author Elizabeth Camden and to Bethany House Publishers for sending a copy of Until the Dawn to me for review. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***
- This book was just not for me, and I don’t think I will continue with the series. by Sparrowhawk on 1/29/2016
Try as I may, and boy did I try, Until the Dawn was a story that I simply could not connect with. I have been thinking about the reasons why and I think it might have to do with the writing style and monotonous storytelling which made it incredibly difficult to stay interested and engaged. This book was just okay for me.
WHAT I LIKED
+ Elizabeth Camden’s Until the Dawn is a historical novel set in the late 1800’s in the bustling city of New York. The story follows Sophie’s audacious quests, plights and attempts to establish a weather station, save the glorious Dierenpark abandoned mansion from utter destruction, and to bring solace and comfort to a family who has had to stand against waves of immense oppression and speculation. I enjoyed these aspects of the novel (to some extent) and how they intertwined different strands of realistic hardships I assume were prominent in this era ― gender roles, disease and illness, loss of a loved one, agnosticism, mental and emotional trauma, all of which contributed to the main plot.
+ I especially loved the romance in Until the Dawn which alludes to similar themes found in Beauty and the Beast. We have a wealthy widowed aristocrat named Quentin who finds himself living in an abandoned mansion with his ten-year-old son, Pieter who is not only processing the loss of his mother, but a recent attempt on his life to boot. Both Quentin and Pieter are an utter mess. Quentin is stoic, snarky, vain and agnostic while Pieter is caught in a limbo of evolutionary science vs creation science and desperately longing for a motherly bond. This is where Sophie, the mansion’s cook and a kind, pure of heart woman with given potential steps in and the romance begins to bloom.
Sophie made him long to be a better man, and that was something he had not felt in a long time.
+ In my recent review of Toward the Sunriset I expressed my immense displeasure in Sophie’s character, I’m happy to report that I enjoyed her character arc in this story a lot more. Too, despite my low rating of the book, I truly believe there is merit to Sophie’s story arc, she is deeply cemented in her beliefs, she has an active imagination and open mind, and is in a sense a sort of women’s libber. I simply couldn’t get enough of the banter between her and Quentin, there was a lot of wit and poise to their remarks and judgments.
He fought not to roll his eyes. “Miss van Riijn, please be aware I am violently allergic to your brand of doe-eyed sentimentality. That much sugary optimism spilled into the atmosphere this early in the morning is liable to render us all comatose. – Quentin
I’m not going to retaliate to your meanness, because I do my best to be kind to every person I encounter. That may seem small to a person like you, but trust me, it isn’t always easy. No matter how awful a person is, above all, I always try to be kind. – Sophie
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- When it comes to reading, I love immersing myself in the moments of the story, not standing on the sidelines feeling like I am forced to swallow a complete disconnect between the characters and the plot line. That said, there was a considerable amount of science, culinary and historical jargon that in truth, did not spark any interest. I suppose this is where I made the assumption that the author’s writing style is one I’m not too keen with. I found each paragraph filled with extended forms of telling and not showing (i.e. how to make cocoa powder, how weather stations work, the scientific laws and rules about particular flowers, beekeeping and gardening, creation science vs evolution, bone fractures and symptoms, etc.). This sadly led to a complete emotional disconnect and I am afraid this overshadowed all the positives.
- Compounding the aforementioned with the monotonous storytelling and dull plot line, it behooves me to say that I found this book to be extremely boring, and this was namely my main gripe with the book. Suffice it to say, it took a lot of fortitude to finish this book.
Despite these setbacks, I did finish Until the Dawn ― albeit skimming through the last half of the book ― and I’m certain there are plenty of people who will enjoy this book far more than I did. This book was just not for me, and I don’t think I will continue with the series.
- Has Some Faults, Still Good. by Katie on 1/19/2016
Author Elizabeth Camden brings her classic intriguing air of mystery to this read. One of the things I love about Ms. Camden’s books is that she can have the mysterious and funny side to her books but can also bring forth a serious side as well. In this book our hero deals with depression and his son deals with anxiety, I really appreciate her taking on such hard topics with her characters. It makes the character seem a bit more realistic to me. However, one thing this book lacked a lot of is any trace of lightheartedness & though I highly applaud her seriousness I do like to see a little bit of happiness breakthrough in her struggling characters and with this book I never saw too much of that personally. Some of the other negative things that I have toward this book; one being is that Quentin (the hero of this book) was extremely unlikable and nearly unbearable to me for about half of the novel. I understand that he was struggling with some serious issues and was using anger & hate to cover up those things but he was simply a character I had a really hard time liking for the first part. Later on in the book he became somewhat easier to like and even though he was hard to like in the beginning, he did grow on me and I enjoyed watching him grow in his faith and as a “person”. Second, throughout most of this book there was a large amount of talk about many different religions and had endless talk of superstition, because of this I felt like it took away from the book and the author’s writing, a good bit. Sophie is the heroine of this book; she was a very gentle and soft spoken character. One thing I liked about her character is that she seemingly had a good bit of perseverance even when others discouraged her goals and that was admirable. She was likable; however, I felt that throughout most of the book, though she was supposed to have dealt with quite a few life problems, she was incredibly naïve most of the time. All in all, this book did keep my attention, it was mysterious and interesting but it wasn’t as good as the author’s previous books that I have read. To end my review, I will add that I really did love Quentin’s son, Peiter. He was an adorable little boy who had dealt with too much for his age, seeing him blossom under Sophie’s care was a lovely thing. My personal rating for this book is 3.5 stars. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed and that is why my rating is what it is. Nevertheless, I am still a big fan of Ms. Camden’s and eagerly await her next release! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.
- Two Worlds Collide by Suzie on 12/16/2015
Oil and water. Toothpaste and orange juice. Just like some combinations, some people just don’t go together…or do they?
Sophie van Riijn’s deepest desire in life is to be a wife and mother but after three failed engagements, she isn’t sure God is going to grant her that dream. Instead, she finds purpose in the simple task of her volunteer position taking weather measurements for the Weather Bureau in Washington D.C. in her little town of New Holland on the Hudson River. Despite the fact her weather station has been set up on private property (without the owners’ permission), she faithfully records her statistics and reports them every day. But when the Vandermarks suddenly return home without warning, she can’t hide the fact she’s been using the rooftop of the Dierenpark mansion.
Quentin Vandermark is furious when he learns the staff at his ancestral home has been exploiting the place for profit. And Sophie van Riijn is the worst of the lot with her illegal weather station and her incessant cheer. But the young woman has somehow managed to relate to his son—something few people are able to do.
Reluctantly, he hires Sophie to tutor his son as well as cook for the household. Without much effort, she manages to draw each member to her side. Quentin pokes and prods at her, trying to prove her kindheartedness and cheer aren’t real but no matter what he does, she seems to remain constant. And soon he finds himself wanting to know why. His life and his beliefs are firmly rooted in science, in what can be explained but Sophie’s belief in God is drawing him to something he’s been missing in life.
While Sophie has grown up at Dierenpark and loves it with all of her heart, Quentin has never been there. But he can see they appeal that draws people to the lands. Too bad his grandfather has commissioned him to destroy it.
I love the character of Sophie. Despite what Quentin believes, life has knocked her down a few times but her faith remains firm. No matter what Quentin Vandermark’s mood, she always rises above it. Sure, she gets angry and hurt—she’s human, after all—but she apologizes when necessary and is determined to love the people around her no matter how they treat her.
Quentin is brooding, moody, brusque, and to-the-point, but when push comes to shove, he’ll do anything for his son. His one goal is for the boy to grow up and become a good man, not an entitled rich child but one who knows the value and rewards of hard work. While he and Sophie are at odds most of the time, he sees the value in what she can teach the boy. And as he gets to know Sophie better, he begins to past her attractive appearance to her even more attractive heart and soul.
This one was hard to put down and I raced through it in two days. Definitely worth the time to read it. Elizabeth Camden is quickly becoming one of my favorite Historical fiction authors.
***Bethany House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.
- This book is excellent, and you need to read it. by Leah on 12/14/2015
When this book arrived in the mail, I was so seriously excited. Elizabeth Camden rarely disappoints, and her book 'Against the Tide' is one of my favorite romance book, so I think that it is safe to say that I was giddy with excitement when I got this book. and I can say definitely say that when I did finish this book I was not at all disappointed. It was ridiculously addictive and I finished it in a day and a half.
Sophie was a fun person to read about and I loved how she stood up to those who barked commands to her, the only thing that I thought was a bit off about her personality was her positivity, she was like crazy positive and nice, but I think that she was written to be that way and the story line would have to be completely changed if she wasn't, so after the first 2 chapters I just accepted it as part of the plot. I really loved Quentins character although I probably shouldn't have been so ready to as he is not very nice, but he was just so strange and rude on the outside that it intrigued me to fid out what was on the inside.
As far as negative things go the only thing I have to say is that the mystery in the book was a bit hard to follow for me, but that doesn't mean it has to be the same for everyone. but I really have nothing else to say about this book, except that you need to read this a least once in your life.
My rating: 9.5 out of 10
- Until the Dawn by kp on 12/6/2015
I recently read Until the Dawn, the latest novel by Elizabeth Camden. On the opening pages of this tale, you meet Sophie van Riijn, a young woman who has grown up along the Hudson River Valley with the freedom to make Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion outside of town, like a second home. When the wealthy Vandermark family suddenly returns to town after sixty years away, Sophie finds her quiet, idyllic life in this beautiful place about to drastically change!
Sophie soon learns that Quentin Vandermark has returned to make plans to fulfill his grandfather's wish to have the mansion destroyed. The mansion holds a lot of painful family memories and his grandfather wants it permanently removed. Sophie and her father, the local mayor, are hoping for time to seek out any reason to stop this terrible action. When Sophie is hired on as a tutor for Quentin's young son, Pieter, you see their relationship changing for the better. Quentin slowly begins to admire Sophie for the way she sees and interacts with the world around her. When Quentin's grandfather suddenly shows up on the scene, you have no idea what will happen next!
Will Sophie have any impact on the way that Quentin views the world or will he simply move ahead with destroying this beautiful mansion? A lot of truths will be revealed about this family by the final pages!
- Early New York by Maureen on 12/1/2015
We were introduced to the Vandermark family in Toward the Sunrise: An Until the Dawn Novella by Elizabeth Camden and now the story of this family continues when Quentin Vandermark returns to the family home for the first time in sixty years.
Sophie van Riijn has used the mansion for her weather station, and now she finds out that Quentin has returned to tear down the home, that is believed to be cursed, and being an architect his Grandfather wants him to handle the demolition. We walk these grounds with both Sophie and Quentin and we see the beauty of this place on the Hudson River, and I hated the idea that this place would be destroyed.
Quentin has also brought his troubled son with him, still suffering nightmares from being kidnapped the previous year. Poor little guy had been locked in a closet, and we watch him blossom at this beautiful place, and being around Sophie.
Is there a chance of romance between these two, it seems that Quentin’s grandfather main purpose is concealing family secrets and wants the mansion destroyed at all costs.
I enjoyed this look at early America and specifically the New York City Area, and how much things have changed, but this book brought out the unspoiled beauty of the area, and I loved the story and you will have to read to the last page to see how things turn out. Enjoy!
I received this book through Net Galley and Bethany House Publishing and was not required to give a positive review.