Line by Line (Love Along the Wires, # 1)
By: Jennifer Delamere
Publication: June 30th 2020 by Bethany House Publishers
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Alice McNeil resolved at a young age to travel through life unencumbered by love or marriage, free to make her own decisions. A seasoned telegrapher, she's recently acquired 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 also determined to marry into high society--a step that will ensure he never returns to the conditions of his past.
He and Alice form a friendly relationship based on mutual respect, but anything deeper is not in their plans. However, when Alice accidentally raises the ire of a jealous and vindictive coworker who's intent on ruining her life, Alice and Douglas are forced to confront what is truly important in their lives. Will their growing bond give them the courage to risk finding a better way?
I've read and enjoyed Jennifer Delamere in the past. So I knew that there was a high probability that I would also enjoy Line by Line, yet something about the description kept me from racing to pick this one up once it was in my possession. I think it has more to do with the time period of women entering the workforce perhaps. I can't really nail it down. I do remember that Douglas would have to rescue Alice's reputation from the book description. However, I wrongly assumed this would mean they'd been seen or found in a compromising position and would have to marry...not that Douglas would have to rescue her work reputation.
The first chapter starts off with discussion about Alice's desire to remain unmarried and work a career. This is unconventional for the time period, and I always struggle with female characters that are staunchly against marriage. This is because I can't relate. One of my deepest desires from an early age was to find love and get married. I've also had the other dream of being a stay at home mom, which I now am. So while I know and understand that many women (today and in the past) haven't shared my dreams, but rather, want quite the opposite, I always find these characters a little more difficult to read.
I was also under the impression for some reason that this book would have a slow start. I'm not exactly sure what gave me that idea except for me reading the first page and not immediately being hooked. But come on! Sometimes you've got to give a little bit more than that. And in this case, I did have to read several pages to feel well and truly invested. But not terribly many.
Now that I've discussed what was hindering me from diving into this book, I'd like to take a look at the pieces I enjoyed. I can't say that I enjoy the same topics that Alice does when it comes to reading, hobbies, etc. But I can appreciate someone who is constantly in search of bettering their minds, exploring new ideas, and seeking to understand the world around them. I appreciated that she and Douglas shared so many topics of common interests.
I was also worried when the "spinster book" came upon the scene. I wasn't sure which direction that would go or how much of the book would be wrapped up in the messages from the book. I ended up enjoying this piece of the story and how it played into Alice finding herself in some comical situations. Yet it wasn't really used in the main romance storyline. I give props to Jennifer Delamere for how she worked this into the plot in a way that I could appreciate rather than roll my eyes at.
As I've already mentioned, I was expecting Douglas and Alice to be forced into some kind of premature marriage relationship due to the mention of her reputation needing to be rescued. So when there was one scene in particular, I began to wonder if that would be the catalyst. Yet it turned out not to be. That scene did in fact spur me into a reading frenzy to see where the story would go from there. At first I was disappointed to find things weren't as I assumed they would be because I find myself typically enjoying arranged or forced marriage books often. However, I was happy that Jennifer Delamere went into a different direction than I was thinking. And it makes much more sense that Alice's career reputation would need salvaging more than her personal one as it seems her career reputation was probably of a higher value to her.
-Alice could not fathom why someone would deliberately try to poison their workplace environment.
Me either Alice! Me either! Yet it happens all the time. Some people are just well and truly miserable. And we all know that misery loves company.
Line by Line was so much more enjoyable than I was expecting it to be for some reason. I have no real idea why I kept putting this book off or why I was convinced it would be a struggle for me to read. Alice and Douglas were both easy to root for through each stage of this book. I look forward to continuing this series. Line by Line gets 4 Stars. Have you read Line by Line? What did you think? Let me know!