Friday, September 27, 2019

The Spice King By Elizabeth Camden

The Spice King
by Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764232114

Ok, so, let's just have this be our little secret. This is my first Elizabeth Camden novel! 😳
I know, it's shocking. I'm so bad at trying "new to me" authors. When I saw this book come through as my book option for review from Bethany House, I caved. WOW! Was that ever a good choice!

Summary:

Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world. 

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience. 

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?

My Review:

Just when I think my love for historical fiction is hemmed in nicely, I meet a new author who makes me want to devour their books! The Spice King has made me an immediate fan of Elizabeth Camden!

Annabelle is a feisty young lady who needs to keep her temporary job at the Smithsonian. Actually, she needs a permanent job for her and her sister, Elaine. With her sights set on Gray Delacroix, she's intent on getting what she needs. Sakes alive I enjoyed this character. She is young, but she has insight, wisdom, and humor that help her in numerous situations.

Then there's Gray Delacroix. Wow, what a crabby patty! When he and Annabelle first meet, you know he's going to be a hard nut to crack. By meeting Gray we also, by default, meet his unreliable brother, Luke, and his society-centered sister, Caroline. As I got started with the book, one of my first thoughts was, "Please let there be stories about Caroline and Luke!"

With Annabelle's grit, she's not going to give up trying to convince Gray to work with her. Gray, while his interest is piqued in her determination, has zero desire to work with the Smithsonian or any government agency! Reading them trying to come to terms with how to each get what they need had some rather amusing moments.

As with any good novel, there's intrigue and drama. Unfortunately, the political drama that unfolds around them could destroy what both are trying to accomplish. You know, it's hard to share a review sometimes because you want to talk about scenes with others. There's a carriage ride later in the book with Gray, Annabelle, and Gray's ship's captain that seriously cracked me up!

I think my favorite takeaway from this novel was the history lesson I learned! I knew nothing of President McKinley and his wife. This book not only helped me learn more about this time in history, I actually did some research! Go figure. Me checking out actual history! Now doesn't that convince you of how fantastic the writing is?

And you know it, I'm absolutely looking forward to book 2 in the Hope and Glory series. And yes, it will be about one of Gray's siblings. Can you guess who? While you wait to find out, be sure to read an excerpt from The Spice King!

About the Author:

Elizabeth Camden (www.elizabethcamden.com) is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award, and she lives in Florida with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.

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