Beyond All Dreams

Elizabeth Camden My Novels Leave a Comment

BeyondAllDreams_rd1.inddA new book is on the way! It only seems like a few months ago that With Every Breath hit the shelves, but my wonderful publishers are ready to unleash my next book the first week of January. So, without further ado… is the cover and blurb for Beyond All Dreams!

Anna O’Brien has the perfect job at the Library of Congress until she stumbles across a baffling mystery of a ship that disappeared at sea. When forces conspire to prevent her from learning the truth, she turns to a dashing congressman for help.

Luke Callahan is one of the most powerful men in congress until his career begins collapsing amidst a political scandal of his own making. When he joins forces with Anna to solve the mystery of the lost ship, he is stunned to find himself falling in love with the down-to-earth librarian. Opposites in all things, Anna and Luke form an unusually powerful force as they unite in a common cause. Despite the attraction, strict rules forbid Anna from any romantic entanglement with a member of congress, and each meeting puts her career in jeopardy.

From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation to the scholarly archives of the nation’s finest library, Anna and Luke will begin unraveling a mystery larger and more dangerous than ever imagined.

Look for it to hit the stores on January 6!



The Office Romance

Elizabeth Camden Ramblings about Romance Leave a Comment

office workersThe American Civil War brought a surprising opportunity to American women.  As men left to fight in the war, the government hired thousands of women to fill office vacancies in Washington D.C.   Even after the war, the floodgates had been opened and it was acceptable for American women to obtain respectable white collar jobs in cities all over the United States.  By 1891, there were 70,000 women working in American offices, and by 1920 that number had swelled to half a million.

As a romance novelist, this presents an irresistible temptation for me.  Although “dating the boss” is taboo in today’s society, in the late 19th century women who ventured into the workplace were considered fair game.  Sometimes they welcomed the attention of their employers and sometimes they didn’t, but there was no law against workplace sexual harassment until a landmark Supreme Court case of 1974 (Barnes v. Train) recognized it is a distinct issue.

I’ve always been fascinated by professional woman of the late 19th century, and most of my novels feature heroines working in professional capacities.    In Against the Tide, Lydia was a translator for the Navy when she meets a man who does undercover work for the government.  It wasn’t a terribly risqué plot, since Lydia never reported to Bane and could walk away from him whenever she wished.

I got a little more daring in With Every Breath (August 2014).  This is a hospital drama, and Kate is a government statistician who is hired by a doctor to help with his research.  Kate reports directly to Trevor, and both are well aware of the risks associated with getting romantically involved.  “Dating the boss” added a delicious layer of tension and complications to the plot….one which I wouldn’t be free to explore were I writing a contemporary romance.   Over the years we have too much instinctive suspicion of relationships that begin with such a disparity of power, but this is a 21st century attitude, and I write 19th century characters.  Trevor and Kate are smart enough to be aware of the emotional danger of their relationship, but it hardly stops them from pursuing it.

It took decades to establish commonly accepted expectations for how men and women should interact in the workplace.  For the most part, the government and Human Resource departments wanted to avoid the headaches of sexual harassment charges and did everything possible to discourage romantic relationships in the workplace.   None of this has been terribly effective.  Even today, I think most of us know people who met their spouse at work.  When you put men and women in close proximity and give them a shared mission, it’s hard to override the rules of natural attraction.

If you’re curious about professional women in the late 19th century workplace, I hope you’ll take a peek at one of my novels!