Monday, October 21, 2019

Book Review - A Distance Too Grand (American Wonders Collection, #1) by Regina Scott

Book Synopsis
Meg Pero has been assisting her photographer father since she was big enough to carry his equipment, so when he dies she is determined to take over his profession--starting with fulfilling the contract he signed to serve on an Army survey of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in 1871. What she doesn't realize is that the leader of the expedition is none other than the man she once refused to marry.

Captain Ben Coleridge would like nothing more than to leave without the woman who broke his heart. He can't afford to be distracted during this survey, which is a screen for another, more personal mission, one he cannot share with any member of his team.

As dangers arise from all sides--and even from within--Meg and Ben must work together to stay alive, fulfill their duties, and, just maybe, rekindle a love that neither had completely left behind.

My Review
A Distance Too Grand is a historical novel set in 1871.  It tells the story of Meg Pero, a photographer who has signed on to take photographs for an Army survey of the Grand Canyon.  The officer leading the survey, Captain Ben Coleridge, is her old beau. As they reconnect, they also face danger and a mystery on the trip.

I wanted to read this novel from first description because of the unique character - a woman photographer in the 1870's - and setting - the Grand Canyon.

Meg is such a wonderful, strong female character. She wants a career as a photographer during a time period when women just did not have careers.  She is also very brave when dangers occur as part of the survey.

I loved  Ben and Meg together;  it was great seeing him appreciate her intelligence and creativity and support her dreams. 

The novel is well written, and the descriptions really captured the time and place.  I found the details about 1870's photography especially interesting.  Meg does photos for stereoscopes, and the photographic process for these pictures was fascinating.  The book includes passages like this:

"The view was quaint.  It might make a popular stereograph, particularly if she titled it something romantic, 'Glen in Far-Off Arizona Territory,' perhaps, or 'Forgotten Wilderness.'  People slid her pictures into their stereoscopes and peered through the dual lenses to view exotic places and foreign cultures they'd never visit in person, after all.  The best pictures told a story" (p. 62).

There is a lot of western adventure on the trip, as well as an ongoing mystery.  Although I figured the mystery out early on, I enjoyed reading the resolution in the novel.

This is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading the next novel, which is about Yellowstone.  I recommend A Distance Too Grand for fans of historical fiction, and especially for anyone interested in the old west or early photography.

Author Bio
Regina Scott is the author of more than 40 works of warm, witty historical romance. Her writing has won praise from Booklist and Library Journal, and she was twice awarded the prestigious RT Book Reviews best book of the year in her category. A devotee of history, she has learned to fence, driven four-in-hand, and sailed on a tall ship, all in the name of research. She and her husband of 30 years live south of Tacoma, Washington, on the way to Mt. Rainier.