1. The Spice King (Hope and Glory Book #1) - eBookeBOOK
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    The Spice King (Hope and Glory Book #1) - eBook
    Elizabeth Camden
    Bethany House / 2019 / ePub
    $9.99 Retail: $15.99 Save 38% ($6.00)
    4.5 Stars Out Of 5 78 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    Stock No: WW101352EB
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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    Well researched, interesting topic and setting
    November 21, 2019
    Coast and Anchor
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spice King #1.
    I'm always drawn in by a stunning cover - this one has just that! The Spice King involves a man who spends his time building a global spice empire and a junior botanist at the Smithsonian who happens to be female, that alone makes for a unique storyline. Set in 1901, this historical fiction read is full of information that you can tell the author did her research on. That made up for the slow progression in the first half of the book. The characters are well described and diverse in their backgrounds and upbringing. The interactions between Gray and Annabelle were always intriguing and kept you wondering how it was going to develop. While Annabelle's character was charming, intelligent and strong, Gray's character was a bit bland in my opinion. The romance fell a little flat and could have been deeper. The idea of devotion to country versus following your heart and those we love was very well written. The conflict is deep and complex both within the characters themselves and decisions they must make. Overall, the story was a bit slow going for me, but that doesn't mean I didn't like it. I simply had to make more time and quiet space to read it. For those who like historical time period books, the historical information alone surrounding the agriculture and politics make this a fabulous read.
  2. Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Wonderful start to an incredible start to a new Historical Romance Series!
    November 4, 2019
    Paty Hinojosa
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spice King #1.
    Wow! This was a wonderful story from Elizabeth Camden. I'm always amazed how her stories are crafted with so much realism and detail to history, yet they never drag. On the contrary, I feel as if I'm timetraveling to 1900 and immersed completely in the story, the complexity and srtuggles of the characters, the political environment, the advancement of technology regarding food produce, etc. I also loved to learn, at the end of the book, that the historical part was based on historical facts, even if given different names for the characters, companies, etc.

    The characters were wonderful: deep and complex, yet kind, loyal and compassionate at the same time. Annabelle Larkin was raised on a farm and through her family's sacrifice managed to go to the Agricultural College in Kansas. In order to support her blind sister's dream of independence, she goes with her to Washington, D.C., where Elaine has gotten a job at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile, Anabelle gets a temporary position at the Smithsonian botanist investigator. She knows she needs to find something big and important to get herself a permanent position where she's working, and when she hears that Gray Delacroix, the owner of an Spice Manufacturer Empire, has a unique vanilla orchid, long extincted, in his Greenhouse, and the orchids are her boss's especial interest she decides to get an invitation from Gray to inspect it, even after she gets rejected more than once.

    Gray Delacroix is a man that has worked himself thin to get his family bussiness, the spice manufacturing, on the high position it is as of today. It has taken him many trips across the world, a constant battle with malaria, close to death experiences, etc., all because he wanted to finish and make succede what his deceased father started together with him. But leaving his younger siblings, the twins, without a close parenting, has its consequences, for they have been missing the fatherly and older brother figure most of their lives, and they are both wild souls with big hearts and dreams to pursue. Luke and Caroline are all he has now, and he finally decides to establish and start thinking of finding a wife and having a family. So when Annabelle arrives at his home, after some rejections, with an endearing fake spice map as a gift, his defenses start to melt. Sooner than later he's besotted with her and opens his home, factory and greenhouses for her to inspect and delight herself in.

    But Annabelle is soon pressed by the goverment to investigate if Delacroix is involved in some dealings with Cuban insurrection, because of some evidence that points to him, which could be a great and dangerous betrayal to the amercan nation, even a hanging offense. Annabelle knows Gray doesn't favor the goverment and is constantly criticizing their methods. But that doesn't mean Gray would be capable of treason would it? With a patriotic inspiration, she accepts to spy for the goverment, but also easing her conscience that what she is really doing is trying to exhonerate him from these vile accusations. But what would Gray do if he knew? And will she really find the evidence the goverment is looking or will she be able to exhonerate the Delacroix name?

    This novel is truly a gem, and I'm thrilled that it will continue following the Delacroix family with Caroline and Lukes story. Theres definitely a big mystery where Luke is concerned. I have my guesses but I cant wait to read his story.

    Annabelle and Gray's story felt real. And their interactions were so endearing, even when everything goes terribly wrong. This will not be an easy love, and maybe this is what will make it more solid at the end. There are many obstacles to overcome, doubts and regrets, for them to have a chance at forever love. At times it seemed practically impossible, but I loved Annabelle's sunny and optimistic disposition. Not only that, but the certainty that God has a plan through it all, and that He'll give her the strength she needs to stand firm while the storm passes her and threatens to bring her down. Gray is an awesome character too. Known to be rigid and stoic, he will see through Annabelle how much joy he is missing in his life and he's struck by her capacity to be in awe with some of the simplest things. But a great barrier will separate them, and it will take a lot of self discovery, thruthfulness, humility and a great dose of forgiveness and empathy to break it. That is, if he's willing He has a lot to learn in this story and I was proud of him in how these difficult circumstances turned out for his personal growth, to be the man and brother God expects him to be, but not happen before a lot of struggle with his pride and distrust.

    The love story was so so sweet and made me sigh. These are characters made of wholeness, loyalty and integrity. But life's puzzles are not as easy to navigate as they initially seem. So they will have to fight for it, but it will be so much worth it in the end.

    I definitely recommend you this novel, as well as the rest of the series, which I'm sure will be as captivating and enriching as this one. I really couldnt put it down!
  3. Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great series debut for fans of historical American fiction
    October 30, 2019
    Blooming with Books
    Bloomer, WI
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spice King #1.
    The Spice King

    Hope and Glory #1

    By Elizabeth Camden

    Annabelle Larkin has been given an almost impossible task - secure a sample of the Vanilla Orchid from the private collection of Gray Delacroix. But Gray Delacroix has spent years amassing his collection and he isn't about to share it with the Smithsonian. But Annabelle's future and her job depend upon this.

    But Annabelle is faced with a choice when she manages to make an impression on Gray Delacroix and is given access to his world. But Washington, DC, is nothing like the Kansas farm that she grew up on. And all too soon she is caught between two worlds that of society and of the government.

    Set in 1900, The Spice King focuses on the Delacroix family who lost almost everything in the Civil War. With hard work and sacrifice, they rebuilt and were known for their botanical expeditions and the expansive private collect they had amassed. Their goal was to grow and produce locally what had to be brought in. But various government agencies seemed bent on preventing them from profiting from their work. Unfortunately, Annabelle stumbles into this mess. She needs her job at the Smithsonian so that she and her sister can remain in Washington.

    This is a fascinating look at just how far some individuals will go to obtain what they desire - no collateral damage is too high and anyone in their way, well too bad for them. I loved the various historical aspects of this book. The fight over food purity, the right for women to work in untraditional fields, and a look into the life of the US President.

    This book is the first book in a new series Hope and Glory and if this one is any indication it is likely to become a favorite series. If you love historical fiction this one brings it to life in a fantastic way that makes you just connect with the characters. Lovely and well worth multiple reads.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher with no expectations - all thoughts expressed are my own honest opinions.
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    great historical romance
    October 18, 2019
    Jessy
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spice King #1.
    The Spice King is a terrific kick off to a new series. Elizabeth Camden sheds some light into some history of spices, flowers, and vanilla in a romantic tale with great conflict. As usual she adds that mystery element that keeps you hooked until the end. I can't wait for the rest of the books to release. I rate this a 5 star.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Great start to another series!
    October 18, 2019
    Lisa
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This review was written for The Spice King #1.
    I was drawn immediately into the story between the two main characters, Gray Delacroix and Annabelle Larkin which was also helped by the captivating cover! One of the things that I really enjoy about Elizabeth Camden's work is her focus on a historical topic, the cultivation of spices and food processing, in this book and the background research that goes into presenting the facts. I think that this is what gives the story a realistic feel because although the main story is fictional, there are those historical elements. I was so inspired by the story that when I needed to go to store for more vanilla extract, I deliberately avoided the imitation stuff. :-)

    I enjoyed the contrast between Gray and Annabelle in terms of their backgrounds and even their personalities. I identified the most with Annabelle because of her simple country background, working hard and staying strong in the face of hardship. Despite her tough background, she is very feminine and sweet, almost too nave when approached by her higher ups about spying on Gray. This is the pivotal point in the book where the action really picks up! I echo the sentiments of others when I say that I would like to see more charged chemistry between the two main characters because their different backgrounds and outlooks really set the stage for there to be clashes even if only psychological in nature.

    I will say that one aspect that I really enjoyed was the book highlighting women's struggles of entering the workplace. Annabelle encounters a lot of prejudice and is stuck doing unrelated menial work just because of her gender. It was a good reminder of how much things have (and have not) changed with regard to women in the workforce now.

    I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the author. All opinions expressed here are solely mine.
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