Dedication and sacrifice bring former academic rivals together in this medical drama set in an 1891 Washington, DC, hospital. With Every Breath, by Elizabeth Camden, reveals the terrifying impact of tuberculosis during a time when treatments were experimental. A death sentence for most, the disease ravaged the US population, leaving pain and grief in its wake, a scenario Camden describes in explicit detail throughout this empathetic historical novel.
Trevor McDonough, a gutsy physician intent on finding a cure, enlists the help of Kate Livingston, an experienced statistician. Once competitors, they must work together for a common good rather than fight for prominence in an intellectual environment. Devoted to saving terminal patients in a research ward while fending off an unknown enemy, McDonough’s attempts seem nothing but a futile endeavor.
Enriched with period flourishes and supported with facts about the disease, a sense of place is effectively established, allowing complete immersion in an unfamiliar setting. “The girl struggled to heave in a lungful of air while she reached for a mask on the small metal table beside her bed. It sounded like she had gravel rattling in her lungs.”
Camden creates mood and atmosphere—a genuine feeling for the fascinating yet disturbing situation her protagonists face. She reaches deep inside her characters to portray them realistically, fleshing out personalities who live by 19th-century moral standards.
This book stays within common boundaries respected by American society over one hundred years ago. The hero and heroine interact in a somewhat confined realm. They express their emotions in a straightforward manner, important actions speaking louder than conversation or prolonged introspection.
An award-winning, prolific author, Elizabeth Camden holds degrees in history and library science, giving her the skills to enhance her writing with exceptional background information. Her book will draw historical fiction enthusiasts as well as readers of inspirational romance.
Julia Ann Charpentier
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