Can her dreams of independence withstand a dash of love?
Since she was young, Alice McNeil has seen a career as a telegrapher as the best use for her keen and curious mind. Years later, she doesn’t regret her freedom in foregoing marriage, especially when she acquires a coveted position at an important trading firm. But when the company’s ambitious junior director returns to London, things begin to change in ways Alice could never have imagined.
For Douglas Shaw, years of hard work and ingenuity enabled him to escape a life of grinding poverty. He’s now determined to marry into high society–a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.
He immediately earns Alice’s respect by judging her based on her skills and not her gender, and a fast camaraderie forms. However, when Alice accidentally angers a jealous coworker and his revenge threatens both their reputations, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to see the future in a different light?
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher and author, the words and opinions below are my own.
Jennifer Delamere returns to London with a new series set in the late 19th century with a focus on telegraphy. Both Alice and Douglas come from humble backgrounds and aspire to succeed in life, but they have different ideas on how to accomplish it. For Alice, it means remaining single even though it appears that both friends and family are disappointed in her decision. Douglas, however, places an emphasis on making connections wherever possible even if it means marrying someone for money and not for love. Sparks fly when they meet and the rest, as it is said, is history!
Although the book is set around the sending of telegrams, the message Delamere sends is about the definition of success. Must you be wealthy to be successful in life? Can you be successful without the benefit of a formal education? Douglas was forced to leave school at the age of 12 but he’s in a higher position than Alice at their employer of Henley and Company, whereas she was able to stay in school for longer. Or has her career been hindered because she’s a woman?
It might sound strange, but my favorite aspect of Line by Line was the appearance of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Although I don’t know a whole lot about him – something I intend to rectify – I’ve always had an interest in him, probably because we both have connections to Scotland and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Delamere includes him in the narrative in a realistic way; he was in England in 1881 when the book is set. He’s the catalyst for Douglas’ change of attitude regarding wealth. There’s nothing wrong with wealth, per se. It’s what you do with the wealth you accumulate that matters. Douglas isn’t exactly happy with the notion of giving away one’s hard-earned money, reminding me of the New Testament story of the Jesus’ interaction with the wealthy young man.
Overall, I found Line by Line an easy-going book to digest especially in comparison with some of the novels I’ve recently completed. I read most of it while on a camping trip. The other two books in the Love Along the Wires series will most likely feature Alice’s two friends who also work in telegraphy, and I’ll look forward to reading those as well.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 30 June 2020
Jennifer Delamere’s debut Victorian romance, An Heiress at Heart, was a 2013 RITA Award finalist in the inspirational category. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and the Maggie Award for Excellence from Georgia Romance Writers. Jennifer earned a BA in English from McGill University in Montreal, where she became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of nonfiction and educational materials for nearly two decades, and lives in North Carolina with her husband.
Jennifer Delamere’s Website https://www.jenniferdelamere.com/