Book Boyfriend Report – Camille by Tess Oliver

camilleIt’s been a while since I did a Book Boyfriend Report and if there has ever been a more appropriate nominee for the award than Nathanial Strider I don’t think I’ve come across him. Tess Oliver’s Historical Young Adult Paranormal Romance (That is a poop ton of genre tags to attach to a novel) is one of the best books I have read in the new year. This read combines supernatural, early 19th century science, a good deal of gender suffrage, and a very romantic if not reluctant romance between two parties perfectly matched and ironically at odds and a devilishly charming hero who has been around the neighborhood and talked the knickers off all the wenches. Camille Kennecott and her guardian Dr. Bennett will have you raising an eyebrow, shaking your head and fearful for any other poor souls they get a bee in their bonnet to take under their care to do research upon. Let’s just be happy that Nathaniel was the one bit by this werewolf because I’m pretty sure someone less taken with Camille might have snapped and taken a taste of the pair of them and all their experimenting.

Camille, the book, begins in a graveyard where Camille, the girl, and Dr. Bennett are looking to nab themselves a werewolf. It’s a task they’ve undertaken since Camille’s own father, also a scientist, fiddled with the werewolf blood and infected himself. After he tried to attack Camille and her sister, werewolf hunting and eradication became personal. Dr. Bennett and Camille have been searching for affected persons and killing them. On this first unlucky particular night their sleuthing leads them to the graveyard where Nathaniel Strider and his posse of thieves arrive to steal from dead souls. After witnessing him cut a finger off a woman’s corpse in order to claim her ring Camille watches him be attacked by the werewolf they are hunting. Finding someone freshly bitten is a first; both she and Dr. Bennett surmise that perhaps with Strider than can somehow reverse the transformation. If only Camille could reverse the effects of Strider’s ridiculous appeal and outrageous forthright charm have on her. She is falling for his roguish charm and good looks and she doesn’t want to catch herself.

Nathaniel Strider is absurdly magnetic. He is an alluring combination of rough, seductive, bewitching, shameless and caustic. When Camille is sent out to collect him from the streets of East End she finds him in an alley with a wench. When the beast in him senses her there while he is charming the girl out of her panties for a little slap and tickle, Camille finds herself caught in his sights. All the while he is touching this other girl he is smirking and challenging Camille with his eyes–awful scoundrel! After a few days of her following him he confronts her about her constant tailing and he can’t turn down the offer for a hot meal. In a completely uncharacteristic response and opposite of the devil in the alley, the boy she brings home is nervous to be there with a girl of her age and station. I guess in Strider’s mind there are girls you take to an alley and then there are girls who you probably shouldn’t even look twice at.

Camille is a very unusual girl who was brought up without any sort of social decorum and she doesn’t really respond well to what most people would consider proper channels. She isn’t above bribery, manipulation and deception through omission or slight of hand to accomplish the greater good. She doesn’t necessarily use her forces for evil and I think Strider finds these qualities incredibly attractive. It’s interesting to see how he responds to her bribing the nurse at the hospital with chocolate to see her sister and have special visiting time. He goes out of his way to get a rise out of her, and falls back on his pickpocketing or orange stealing half because it’s who he is and half to see her reaction and appeal to the part of her that likes excitement. They are always a compliment to one another and Nathaniel often reacts badly when he comes to realize that it’s such a natural balance. He’s a runner when things overwhelm him and he fears that what is happening to him is going to harm or hurt her.

Now, since the book begins with out Book Boyfriend getting nipped by a werewolf we have to face that while he is developing his feelings for the fair Camille who wears men’s pants out in public and at one point made a spectacle of them both by kissing him when it struck onlookers like two boys snogging. And the one time he first saw her in a dress she was in a wax museum being roughed up by two lowlifes looking for a cheap thrill. Nathaniel’s budding animal likes Camille and has claimed her as his own. He doesn’t like anyone else touching her and he does not like it at all when she is in danger. He does get an inordinate joy that Camille spent a good deal of time following him through the streets of the East End before he confronted her and he likes it that she challenges him. Nathaniel calls her his Huntress and he likes that she stalks him. By the end of the book when he isn’t sure if he can control what he is becoming or if he will have to kill himself the only concern he has is whether or not Camille may be endangered. Even as his animal wants her in the most primal way, Nathaniel would do everything he could to save her from himself.

This Book Boyfriend is everything any girl could ever want and he grows to get all fuzzy! He is the All In, Bad Boy, Charming, Does It All Right, Enigma, Got Some Issues, Pure Sin, Reluctant and Insecure, Three P’s: Protective, Possessive and Proprietorial. He took the title in all of them! Nathaniel Strider is the perfect Book Boyfriend!

Camille is an incredible book if you liked to read Libba Bray‘s Gemma Doyle Series or The Infernal Device Series by Cassandra Clare.


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Tess Oliver’s Books:

HuntressHeart of The Huntress Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Camille Kennecott has finally found true happiness. Her twin sister, Emily, has returned home after years of self-inflicted seclusion within the austere confines of Bethlem Hospital. Nathaniel Strider, the boy who has captured Camille’s heart, has tamed the beast within him and joins her whenever he is not living his dream as a sailor on the open sea. And her guardian, Dr. Bennett, has graciously carved out a space in his scientific laboratory for Camille to spend her day experimenting with herbal remedies.
When Dr. Bennett receives a plea from a colleague to visit Transylvania and help deal with the werewolf problem, Camille is thrilled at the prospect of traveling to this exotic place. But the darkest form of treachery has boarded the ship with them, and it is not long before Camille faces the chilling possibility of losing everyone she’s ever loved.

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