Ever since meeting Elisabeth Camden at the 100th anniversary party of our mutual German publisher, I’ve been meaning to read one of her books. Not one translated into German, of course, but the real thing. With ‘Until the Dawn’ I have finally done so and enjoyed it.
Meet Sophie van Rijn, a young woman desperately trying to find some purpose in her life. For lack of anything else to do, she voluntarily mans a weather station and sends daily reports to the weather bureau. What she really wants, though, is to marry and have children. Fate has robbed her of no less than three fiances, leaving her smarting. She has spent most of her life in or in the close vicinity of Dierenpark, estate of the fabulously rich Vandermarks, who have fled the estate after the unexplained death of Karl Vandermark 60 years before.
Sophie is less than thrilled when all of a sudden the Vandermarks return – with plans to destroy the centuries old mansion. She and Quentin, the man who minutely plans the destruction, clash time and again, as her deep connection to the estate drives her to contradict the surly millionaire. Their only mutual interest is his son, who is extremely timid and fearful due to his being kidnapped a few months earlier. Sophie is the only one who can reach the withdrawn child.
As you can see, the story has many different aspects which makes it an interesting read. The personal development of the characters is deep and relatable, made all the more fascinating by the stark contrast of Sophie’s sunny, optimistic mood and Quentins dark temper. Add to that a family curse, a crew of strange supporting characters and excellent descriptions that make the special atmosphere of Dierenpark come to life, and you have a wonderful book. The only criticism I have is that the developmental steps of the characters in their thoughts were often repeated, which caused me to skip a few lines here and there, thinking ‘I already know that.’ But this is just a matter of taste and did not diminish my enjoyment of the novel.