Lydia Pallas is one smart, strong, resourceful and likable heroine! Having grown up an orphan and surviving cruelty, poverty and an unstable lifestyle, Lydia overcomes her fears, meeting all challenges head on. An independent woman, Lydia works as a translator in the office of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Service in Boston. The year is 1891, a time when few women were employed outside of menial positions. Lydia’s early, knock-about life has given her a knowledge of languages, however, which makes her a valuable employee.
While working for Admiral Fontaine, Lydia meets Alexander Banebridge. Banebridge hires her to translate documents for him and when Lydia questions him, she is drawn into his life and work by his answers. Banebridge has a self-assigned mission to stop the opium trade. A devout Christian, Banebridge believes his purpose to be serving God and mankind. Lydia agrees to help and they fall in love. Their love is both heightened and threatened by financial circumstances, danger, and the evil of opium and its promoters. Lydia and Bane are drawn into perilous situations that require extraordinary courage and devotion.
The characters are believable, likable and complex. Readers will cheer for the unflagging efforts of Lydia and Banebridge as they risk life and safety unselfishly for the good of others. Historical details are accurate and well-researched. Although this story is a romance, it is also a very suspenseful adventure. The story is filled with challenges, cruelty and danger and it is in facing these situations that Lydia learns to know, love and trust God. This exhilarating story will keep readers up late and leave them wishing for a sequel.
I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. I highly recommend it for adults and teenagers. Fans of historical fiction will want to add this book to their winter reading list and it is an excellent gift book.