Title: Against the Tide
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
Elizabeth Camden has written a very creative story with an interesting premise and plot. Against the Tide is a story about fighting against the opium trade that was so pervasive in the city of Boston in the late 1800s as Boston was one of the biggest ports where ships unloaded all sorts of cargo. It is also the story of a romance between two people, one who will do anything to have a life together and one who will do anything to keep the other safe, which means a life apart.
Alex Banebridge is very handsome and charming. He also is pressuring certain politicians and those who support them to pass legislation making the import and sale of opium illegal even in pharmacies where it was sold under a different guise as a cure for headaches, rowdy kids, toothaches or whatever else might hurt. Orphanages and parents were given their children opium unknowingly, and it was legal! When Alex was six years old, he was kidnapped from this mother’s arms and never saw her again. He was kidnapped by the evil Professor, who used the kidnapped victim as leverage to get the family to do whatever he wanted. Alex was not the first or the last boy this happened to. The Professor was the largest dealer in opium on the east coast. Alex lived with him for 11 years and the Professor raised him as his own son, showing him the opium trade, how to cultivate alliances and how to manipulate people. Alex was able to escape the Professor when he became a Christian. Now he has dedicated his life to outlawing opium to make up for the time he spent spreading and encouraging the use of opium. He served with Lydia’s boss in the Navy and needs her skill translating shipping documents that will help him find where the opium is coming into the country. He lives his life without any personal possessions or a home, and he is always on the move, traveling all over to accomplish his mission. He has vowed not to marry or have any close friends because if the Professor finds out, he will take that person and be able to control Alex. He falls in love with Lydia, but he will not marry her. He must leave her life so as to not put her in danger from the Professor. Will they meet again?
Lydia Pallas is a young woman of Greek and Turkish parents who works for the Navy as a translator. She knows six different languages, and she loves her job. She grew up very poor and lived on a fishing boat with her parents. They never had a home, except on the boat and were constantly on the move. She feels she had a happy childhood until her family came to America. After school one day when she was nine years old, she goes to meet her father at the dock, but he never shows up. Her family is believed to be lost at sea and she is sent to an orphanage. She has no possessions, except the clothes on her back and must be on guard against thieves in the orphanage. As part of the nighttime routine there, each child is given “medicine” to help him/her sleep. Of course, this is Mrs. Winslow’s Syrup, aka opium. Now that she is older and has left the orphanage, Lydia longs for security and order. She still has her little blue bottle of “headache medicine” that is the same Mrs. Winslow’s Syrup. She meets Alex and begins doing translations for him. He gradually tells her his mission, so they team up to bring the guilty parties to justice. While working together, Lydia falls in love with Alex. However, Alex will pursue no relationship with her to keep her safe. Lydia has all the signs of an opium addict and doesn’t even know it, but Alex does. The Professor kidnaps another boy and Alex needs Lydia to infiltrate the Professor’s house and come to the rescue. Lydia desperately searches for security, and Alex leads her to God. Alex won’t marry a drug addict, which Lydia finally realizes that is what she has become. Will they be able to be together? Can Lydia’s newfound faith sustain her through her trials?