What I've Read This Week . . .
Everlasting by Angie Frazier -- Young Adult Historical Fantasy
In 1855 San Francisco seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen is engaged to the prominent and wealthy Randall Jackson. He is kind and attentive, but she doesn't feel anything for him. Worst of all, he doesn't share her love of the sea or understand why she wants to go on "one last" voyage with her sea captain father on a two month voyage across the Pacific Ocean. Camille wants to sail with her father forever but he insists she grow up and marry and Randall is a good catch, especially since he is keeping the family business afloat with his investments. Captain Rowen tries to protect Camille from disagreeable things, such as the unsuitable rough men on board the ship, but Camille finds herself drawn to Oscar, the First Mate. They have a blossoming friendship, yet there may be more beneath the surface they haven't dared to explore. Then Camille discovers that her father has been keeping secrets from her. First he wants to sail on for two more months to Australia where he claims he has to pick something up for someone. Then Camille discovers that the mother she believed to be dead has been living in Australia these last sixteen years, is dying and wants to see Camille. Camille's mother holds a mysterious map to somewhere or something unknown to Camille and her father will not tell her the truth. Then strange things begin to happen and her father is lost at sea when their ship is wrecked. Camille and Oscar are two of the three survivors, left with nothing but each other. Camille is determined to find her mother and this mysterious map. She learns that the map leads to a magical stone which can bring back the dead. Accompanied by Oscar and a charming, crooked companion, Camille embarks on a danger-filled quest to avoid her enemies and find the stone to bring back the one she loves most of all. The first 2/3 of the book are historical fiction, filled with great period details about life on board a sailing ship and in early Australia. The last 2/3 are a magical fantasy that takes the reader on a frantic adventure. The ending leaves room for a sequel. I could have done without the fantasy. I like Camille and her struggle to figure out what she wants out of life and her determination to live her life on her own terms. I also give kudos to the author for making Randall kind and sympathetic, though possibly more sinister than he appears to be. Oscar is a wonderful and flawed hero. I like the chemistry between Camille and Oscar and the way the romance plays out. The secondary characters are pretty stereotypical but there are twists and turns in the plot that make the store above average. The plot is well-written and fast paced. It's a quick read that I would recommend mostly to girls 12+. I liked this book but didn't love it. I would have preferred a straight historical novel instead.