Some things you should know about Faithful
by Janet Fox and Everlasting
by Angie Frazier:
1) They are both debut novels.
2) They are both historical novels with strong, adventurous heroines.
3) They both involve missing mothers.
4) They both involve a heroine who embarks on a long journey with her father.
5) They both involve a heroine who chooses love over duty, potentially ruining the family in the process.
6) They are both Young Adult books, and, as such, are completely lacking in hot, steamy, sexy bits. (Though Faithful does take place in Yellowstone, so there is hot and steamy of a different kind.)
Although both of these novels initially appealed to me because of their commonalities, they do differ in several significant ways.
Faithful tells the story of 16-year-old Maggie Bennet. Maggie is a child of privilege in early 20th-century Newport, Rhode Island, whose father whisks her away to Yellowstone in a search for her missing mother. In the beginning, Maggie comes across as spoiled and petulant. However, once she arrives at Yellowstone, she begins to shed the old Maggie and to find a stronger, more resilient self. There is a romantic interest for Maggie — a young man by the name of Tom. But really the whole book is about love — love of self, love of family, love of a place — and finding that love when it's least expected.
Everlasting begins in San Francisco, about 50 years earlier than Faithful. In Everlasting, Camille Rowen is about to set sail with her father for her final voyage before she marries a man she doesn't love in order to save the family finances. Things, as they are wont to do in novels, go horribly wrong. There's a storm and a shipwreck, and Camille and Oscar — her father's first mate and far beneath her station — are thrown together on a magical quest. Quite frankly, I could have done without the magical bits of the story, but the adventure of Camille and Oscar's journey, and the romance that blossoms between the two of them, allowed me to tolerate things that, in a lesser book, would have probably prevented me from finishing.
In spite of their similarities, these books have completely different tones. Reading Faithful is like watching the petals of a flower unfold, while Everlasting is more like a fireworks display. Both, however, are lovely, emotionally fulfilling stories and are beautifully written. Being YA, neither has a huge page count, so for the same number of pages you would normally find in a historical romance, you can enjoy two wonderful love stories.