Beyond All Dreams
By Elizabeth Camden
Published by Bethany House
362 Pages

Back Cover: When a librarian and a prominent congressman join forces to solve a mystery, they become entangled in secrets more perilous than they could have ever imagined.

REVIEW: Don’t Judge a book by its cover; to be honest this cover didn’t say pick me up and look inside. I’m so glad a friend told me this book was really good. I’m grateful I was sent this book I loved this story that mostly too place in the library, had family drama, there was a mystery to solve, and there was danger for both main characters. I loved how the author naturally wove the spiritual thread in between all the above.

The most of the setting is in the Library of Congress in 1897. Anna O’Brien adores books and is obsessed with maps. Her father was a scientist who worked with the Navy to draw maps of the ocean floor. She worked in the map room which allow her to search for clues of what happened to her missing father’s Navy ship. She recently found an error in a report the Navy wrote. She sent them a letter about it. Now Lieutenant Gerald Rowland was there to speak with her. She thought they would appreciate her findings.
The Lieutenant looked at her, “You’ve got a lot of gall…he snapped…”

“When 56 men disappear in the middle of an ocean, a complete and accurate investigation should be conducted,” she said quietly.”

He said, “The USS Culpepper sank during a late season hurricane, all hands lost. Case closed.”

She couldn’t believe this. She thought they’d thank her. Although she was 12 when her father’s ship disappeared. She was not seeking orphan’s pension. She just wants to know what happened to her father and for them to correct the report.

“Women…the government made a mistake ever letting women work in the Capitol. They’re nosy, meddlesome and don’t know how to follow orders. I heard that the library of Congress only employed females’ librarians on a probationary status. When is that up for review?” the Lieutenant glared at her.

This man was not only threatening her but every woman that worked at the library. She had to be careful. After that meeting she encounters a Congressman that annoys her to no end. “Mr. Callahan raised an arm and snapped his fingers and looked about, “Someone get a map so we can settle this.”

“That was Anna’s cue. She fumbled with the map tubes beside her, searching for one that charted ocean currents.”

“Maps!” Mr. Callahan demanded in an obnoxious outburst…he looked directly at her and snapped her fingers, again. Snap, Snap, Snap. Did he really expect her to spring across the room like a dog summoned to heel?”

“Of course he did. Most congressmen were accustomed to people bowing and scraping…” She got him the maps and said, “Snapping your finger works better if you wear a crown and use a scepter to point out where I should scurry.” She walked off returned to her chair not waiting for a reply.

Luke and Elizabeth crack me up as they go round and round with each other. It’s fun to read. I liked that these main characters love books. Each have their own tale to share. Here is Lukes, “When I was growing up, books were my only escape, “…I was born into a family of swinging fists and bellowing voices, but when I opened the pages of a book I found men of valor… to anyone watching it probably looked like I was reading a book in the front room of my father’s house, but I was really in Paris, fighting alongside the three musketeers. Or twenty thousand leagues under the sea, or racing around the world in eighty days,…reading was my liberation,…from hopelessness and tyranny.”

In the historical notes from the author I learned this was loosely based on the Virginius, an American ship caught smuggling guns to Cuban rebels’ 1873. I love learning about history this way. I also enjoyed the fact that Teddy Roosevelt showed up in the book before he because President. This is the first book I’ve read by this author it definitely won’t be the last.

This novel makes for an unforgettable, heart-warming fun read you won’t soon forget. It also makes a great book club pick. The author includes eleven discussion questions to help create lively discussions.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

She regularly posts about the joys of the book world at

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! 
The Book Club Network blog 

Book Fun Magazine 


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