Until the Dawn by Elizabeth Camden

Until the Dawn

A volunteer for the newly established Weather Bureau, Sophie van Riijn needs access to the highest spot in her village to report the most accurate readings. Fascinated by Dierenpark, an abandoned mansion high atop a windswept cliff in the Hudson River Valley, Sophie knows no better option despite a lack of permission from the absent owners.

The first Vandermark to return to the area in sixty years, Quentin intends to put an end to the shadowy rumors about the property that has brought nothing but trouble upon his family. Ready to tear down the mansion, he is furious to discover a local woman has been trespassing on his land.

Instantly at odds, Quentin and Sophie find common ground when she is the only one who can reach his troubled son. There’s a light within Sophie that Quentin has never known, and a small spark of the hope that left him years ago begins to grow. But when the secrets of Dierenpark and the Vandermark family history are no longer content to stay in the past, will tragedy triumph or can their tenuous hope prevail? – from author’s website


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I had read the novella Toward the Sunrise, which is set before this novel, so I was already familiar with the Vandermark curse, Dierenpark Mansion, and with Sophie van Riijn. Both books can be read as stand-alones so you don’t have to read Toward the Sunrise to understand this book. Because I already knew these key figures prior to reading this book, it was easier to get into it.

Sophie and Quentin Vandermark are complete opposites – Sophie is driven by feelings and the unseen, Quentin believes everything has to be explained by science. They need to come to a point where they can see the value of both in order for their fragile relationship to work.

I found the ending to seem a little anticlimactic. I even wondered what the climax was actually supposed to be because the build up at the end seemed quick and then it was over before you knew it. Maybe I’m just used to a clear cut climax that when it’s not clear cut I’m a little confused at what it was.

It’s a nice little Christian historical romance that you may enjoy if you’re into family curses, family secrets, science, romance, and want Christian elements to it.

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Double Play by Ben and Julianna Zobrist

Double Play

All-Star player Ben Zobrist (Tampa Bay Rays), considered one of the best all-around players in baseball, writes about the importance of his faith, life, and athletic career in Double Play. Written with his wife, Christian singer Julianna Zobrist, and Mike Yorkey, best-selling author of Every Man’s Battle and Linspired: The Remarkable Rise of Jeremy Lin, the book gives fans a first look into the heart of an athlete whose talent and devotion to God, family, and baseball make him one of the most loveable figures in the Major League today. – from publisher’s website

I grew up in a sports-loving family and we watched a lot of baseball towards the end of this season. Through my casual baseball watching and the more frequent baseball watching this past season, I knew who Ben Zobrist was, or at least I had heard of him. So I knew he played professional baseball, formerly for the Tampa Bay Rays and more recently for the Kansas City Royals, although this book was published before he went to Kansas City. This book gives an overview of how he and his wife, Julianna, grew up, but its main focus is their romance, faith, and how they do what they love.

I enjoyed this book, partly because I enjoy reading about the lives of people I’ve heard of before, whether through sports, music, TV, movies, etc. Seeing how Ben & Julianna met and how their romance wasn’t presented in a way that made their relationship seem perfect. Julianna wrote about how certain things that Ben did turned her off and it took a while from when they first met before they actually started dating. They also shared their struggles, like depression, anxiety, pride, and how Julianna actually considered leaving Ben for a period of time. When I was reading this book, I was in a place in my life where I needed encouragement and reading about their struggles gave me some hope and gave me some perspective.

With the way this book is written, Ben & Julianna come across as real people and not just people you see on TV or hear on the radio. You can see a baseball player’s romantic side and see a Christian music singer and mother’s dedication to her husband and her marriage. How they have a policy of not going more than six days apart from each other in order to put their marriage first, which can be quite difficult when Ben is on the road a lot of the time for his career.