The Spice King (Hope and Glory, #1)
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?

The Spice King (Hope and Glory, #1) Details

TitleThe Spice King (Hope and Glory, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 3rd, 2019
PublisherBethany House Publishers
ISBN-139780764232114
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Romance

The Spice King (Hope and Glory, #1) Review

  • Sarah Grace Grzy
    January 1, 1970
    Camden is my new favorite historical fiction author! No matter how many I read, I just can't find one I don't like! Camden is a master of this genre. Annabelle Larkin is an adorably naive and innocent character, but that's not to say she doesn't have a backbone. She is passionate, tender-hearted, and nearly always optimistic, as well as patriotic with strong morals. I quickly fell in love with her sweet character. Grey Delacroix is quite the opposite. Embittered against the government for having Camden is my new favorite historical fiction author! No matter how many I read, I just can't find one I don't like! Camden is a master of this genre. Annabelle Larkin is an adorably naive and innocent character, but that's not to say she doesn't have a backbone. She is passionate, tender-hearted, and nearly always optimistic, as well as patriotic with strong morals. I quickly fell in love with her sweet character. Grey Delacroix is quite the opposite. Embittered against the government for having wronged his family in the past, he is reclusive and sarcastic, yet he too has a strong moral code and is incredibly loyal to his family, which is a trait I am always drawn to. The story starts out with a series of (rather humorous) letters, and quickly draw the reader in. I was a bit surprised by how quickly the romance took place in the course of the book, but it definitely made sense plot-wise and still was very realistic. (No insta-love either, thankfully.) But the story is certainly not all about romance. There is suspense, treason, betrayal, politics, intrigue, sabotage and more. This is a jam-packed story that is sure to keep your interest! And, of course, the book is well-laced with Camden's trademark humor and witty banter. I found myself laughing out loud at times. All in all, The Spice King is an epic opening to Camden's newest series, and I am greatly looking forward to the rest of the series! I highly recommend checking this book out, as well as any of Camden's numerous other works!FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    Lovely start to a new series! Gray is the oldest sibling and feels responsible for the success of his company and the well being of his younger twin brother and sister. Gray's world revolves around spices from around the globe.Annabelle brings her blind sister Elaine from a Kansas farm to Washington DC. She made this move to give her sister the opportunity to be at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile, Annabelle is trying to secure a permanent position at the Smithsonian. The details about the van Lovely start to a new series! Gray is the oldest sibling and feels responsible for the success of his company and the well being of his younger twin brother and sister. Gray's world revolves around spices from around the globe.Annabelle brings her blind sister Elaine from a Kansas farm to Washington DC. She made this move to give her sister the opportunity to be at the Library of Congress. Meanwhile, Annabelle is trying to secure a permanent position at the Smithsonian. The details about the vanilla industry and Good Housekeeping were exceptional. I look forward to continuing this series.
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  • Jen.
    January 1, 1970
    What a well researched story!  The details were very unique!  You can clearly see Elizabeth Camden’s love for history by the attention to detail she shares with her readers.I really enjoyed the characters.  I look forward to reading more about the Delacroix siblings!This was my first time reading this author and I absolutely will read more by Elizabeth Camden in the future!The Spice King is available NOW – visit www.christianbook.com for purchase details!I received a complimentary copy of this b What a well researched story!  The details were very unique!  You can clearly see Elizabeth Camden’s love for history by the attention to detail she shares with her readers.I really enjoyed the characters.  I look forward to reading more about the Delacroix siblings!This was my first time reading this author and I absolutely will read more by Elizabeth Camden in the future!The Spice King is available NOW – visit www.christianbook.com for purchase details!I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers.  A positive review was not required.  All opinions expressed are completely my own.
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  • Rachel McMillan
    January 1, 1970
    With her always detailed and immersive research and her glorious turns of phrase, Camden excels at spotlighting interesting and little known aspects of American history in her highly readable books. Her heroines are always intelligent and more than matches for their equally bright heroes. Gray and Annabelle are no exception.The fact that Camden finds ways to extol the agency women did have as they worked up in a man's world is fascinating to me and she always draws out nuances in the threads of With her always detailed and immersive research and her glorious turns of phrase, Camden excels at spotlighting interesting and little known aspects of American history in her highly readable books. Her heroines are always intelligent and more than matches for their equally bright heroes. Gray and Annabelle are no exception.The fact that Camden finds ways to extol the agency women did have as they worked up in a man's world is fascinating to me and she always draws out nuances in the threads of US historical narrative often overlooked in fiction---especially in CBA fiction and romance. Here, spices, treason and food transparency are the heart of a romance flavoured with exotic plants and ripe with detail. Though all of Camden's geographical canvases --from Boston to New York to the pearl trade on the US West Coast are resplendent-- I cannot doubt the author's personal passion for Washington, DC. We are back in an amidst political upheaval, we meet McKinley and his wife, we dive into the Library of Congress and we see all through the perspective of two layered and flawed characters.Gray, a dashing figure in his early forties suffers from recurring bouts of malaria and is the sort of broodish sort you would read out of Darcy --until he meets Annabelle: sunny and dedicated to her blind sister and to capitalizing on her degree in Agriculture.This is just a fascinatingly unique setting and world for two characters and I cannot emphasize enough how empowering and feminist Camden's books are without every leaning into anachronism. Intelligent, romantic and beautifully written, charged with fascinating history and proving her, again, a perennial and inimitable voice in inspy fiction.
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  • Monique
    January 1, 1970
    Elizabeth Camden is one of my autobuy authors. I see a new book, I click “add to cart” and then patiently wait 6 months for it to be released. This time I got extremely lucky as I was able ro read an advance e-copy and the waiting was cut short! And I’m so glad it was... because The Spice King is AMAZING. It’s the best christian historical fiction I read this year. I’m gonna tell you why. First, I couldn’t stop reading. I read so much my ereader actually overheated. Did I wait for it to cool dow Elizabeth Camden is one of my autobuy authors. I see a new book, I click “add to cart” and then patiently wait 6 months for it to be released. This time I got extremely lucky as I was able ro read an advance e-copy and the waiting was cut short! And I’m so glad it was... because The Spice King is AMAZING. It’s the best christian historical fiction I read this year. I’m gonna tell you why. First, I couldn’t stop reading. I read so much my ereader actually overheated. Did I wait for it to cool down? Nope, I continued on my phone. It’s very addictive and there are so many twists and turns! And it starts very original, with Annabelle trying to persuade Gray Delacroix to donate his collection to the Smithsonian, and Gray’s letters were hilarious. The actual introduction made me laugh out loud, and their banter brings me life. It starts so well! Annabelle and Gray have a connection, and their wonderful courtship is developed very early in the story. And they are a perfect pair. But of course, it’s not all fun and laughter, there is much more at stake... hearts will be shattered including my own. I honestly had no idea how on earth this was ever going to end up well in the end. There were many suprising plots and subplots and the pacing was perfectly balanced between lightness and heavy stuff, action and introspection. Annabelle is a wonderful cheerful character with much resilience and I respect her a lot (even if I’m not agreeing with certain actions). Gray seems a bit broody but he totally is very sweet and caring on the inside and a righteous man. Elizabeth Camden has a way of making relatively boring jobs sound so exciting! This book gives a lot of insight in the food industry, and makes it thrilling, and you actually come to care a lot about ingredient labels! So, so interesting! What makes the story more vibrant are the fabulous side characters. Gray’s much younger twin siblings are amazing, even if he has trouble seeing it sometimes. I just wanna hug my cinnamon roll Luke and Charlotte is so interesting! The next installment better be about them because I kinda need it badly because some plot points were left open. My heart always beats faster when there is disability representation and since that kind of is my thing I’m going to mention it. Gray has malaria, and has flares with crippling high fever (and other symptoms), and it is so well written! I love how it isn’t an obstacle to overcome or a plot point, it just is and everyone’s OK with that (well as far as being ok with a chronic illness is possible of course). And Annabelle’s sister became blind three years ago and I love how this is portrayed. You can imagine her fear very vividly and yet she fights for an indepent life, she is extremely brave yet very realistic. We need more of this kind of writing, it is so important for people to see disability treated as normal in books/media, this makes me very happy. Also, I love that the (gorgeous) cover features a man. My dad and grandfather will be very happy to see this, they are normally slightly embarrased to be seen reading this genre, as it is generally marketed towards women, but don’t underestimate the men reading these books! ;) When it is released in my own language I’ll definitely be handing out copies to both of them. Overall, I loved every minute of it and I can’t recommend it enough and I have all these feels.... I’ve got a free e-copy of this book from Bethany&Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Tamara
    January 1, 1970
    Heartwarming is the word that is buzzing around in my head still hours after finishing it. As usual, the writing was engaging and pulled me in from the beginning. I really liked the character of Gray Delacroix, he knew who he was and who he wasn't. He loved his younger siblings even though in the beginning, he clashed with them, he didn't give up on them and they knew that he loved them. It took me less than 24 hours to read this book and I wish the story of Gray, Annabelle, Elaine, Caroline, Lu Heartwarming is the word that is buzzing around in my head still hours after finishing it. As usual, the writing was engaging and pulled me in from the beginning. I really liked the character of Gray Delacroix, he knew who he was and who he wasn't. He loved his younger siblings even though in the beginning, he clashed with them, he didn't give up on them and they knew that he loved them. It took me less than 24 hours to read this book and I wish the story of Gray, Annabelle, Elaine, Caroline, Luke, Roy, etc... could just keep going on and on.
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  • Sarah Monzon
    January 1, 1970
    The history and look into food quality was really interesting!
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    "I hope to the bottom of my soul that I never have to see you again."Scorching words. Unfortunately for Annabelle Larkin they were understandable, if not deserved, for she had just made an excruciating, possibly unforgivable choice. Hired as a temporary junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle and her sister arrive in Washington from Kansas with one mission in mind; to gain full-time employment that would pay Annabelle in valuable agricultural information, and enough monetary funds to save "I hope to the bottom of my soul that I never have to see you again."Scorching words. Unfortunately for Annabelle Larkin they were understandable, if not deserved, for she had just made an excruciating, possibly unforgivable choice. Hired as a temporary junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle and her sister arrive in Washington from Kansas with one mission in mind; to gain full-time employment that would pay Annabelle in valuable agricultural information, and enough monetary funds to save her family's farm. Her bright scientific mind and optimistic bravado did not go unnoticed, and she found herself trekking towards the home of a reclusive global spice king, Gray Delacroix, in search of an elusive orchid. Gray Delacroix considers himself immune to sunny dispositions, but the lovely botanist is difficult to ignore. Exhausted from his years of travel around the world to build his family's spice empire, Annabelle Larkin tempts Gray to consider settling down to enjoy the fruits of his labor. And then it happens; in the place of dreams, rage ensues. Gray doesn't care how patriotic Annabelle claims to be, she has torn an impenetrable rift down the middle of his heart. "Choose hope and forgiveness over anger." What a beautifully written story, paced with accuracy and intensity at all the right times and in all the right places. Not to mention, the incredibly interesting history surrounding the food industry. So, so much to love about this book, written by quite an accomplished writer. I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
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  • Paula Shreckhise
    January 1, 1970
    The Spice King is book number one in the series Hope and Glory by historical author Elizabeth Camden. An avid fan of history, I relished this setting of 1900 in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. I learned about the early days of regulating the food industry and the beginning of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. The glimpse into the Smithsonian and The Department Of Agriculture was fascinating. The explanations of the process involved in spice making were especially interesting. Ms. Ca The Spice King is book number one in the series Hope and Glory by historical author Elizabeth Camden. An avid fan of history, I relished this setting of 1900 in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas. I learned about the early days of regulating the food industry and the beginning of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. The glimpse into the Smithsonian and The Department Of Agriculture was fascinating. The explanations of the process involved in spice making were especially interesting. Ms. Camden has done a commendable job in her research. I love her writing style. Her characters were well drawn and you could see into their motivations. Annabelle Larkin finds a way to approach reclusive Spice Magnate, Gray Delacroix, in search of a cutting of a rare vanilla orchid. This could be the answer to the quandary of how to keep her blind sister, Elaine, doing productive work at the Library of Congress. She gets much more than she bargained for. Gray is a shrewd businessman and a man of integrity but he has strong political opinions. He is also dogged by Malaria and doesn’t know when the attacks will strike next. He has long taken care of his twin siblings, Caroline and Luke, who are twelve years his junior. They are adults now and have made their life choices.There is much intrigue to follow in this story and some of it is left unresolved, making the reader want to see what happens in future books involving Caroline and Luke. Don’t miss this wonderful story to find out what happens to Annabelle and Gray. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not expected to write a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on Inkwell Inspirations“At the end of her life, she wanted to know that she had made a difference for the better.”In The Spice King, the first installment of her Hope and Glory series, award winning author Elizabeth Camden has created an intriguing historical fiction novel filled with faith, romance, betrayal, and treason. Elizabeth Camden is a master at taking relatively unknown parts of history, such as the lack of regulation in the U.S. food industry and the use of adulterat Originally posted on Inkwell Inspirations“At the end of her life, she wanted to know that she had made a difference for the better.”In The Spice King, the first installment of her Hope and Glory series, award winning author Elizabeth Camden has created an intriguing historical fiction novel filled with faith, romance, betrayal, and treason. Elizabeth Camden is a master at taking relatively unknown parts of history, such as the lack of regulation in the U.S. food industry and the use of adulterated food in the early 1900s, and weaving a fascinating tale of politics, sabotage, and sacrifice. The story begins in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian as botanist Annabelle Larkin is tasked with obtaining extremely rare plant specimens from Gray Delacroix, the owner of Delacroix Global Spice. Annabelle suddenly gains the attention of government officials and finds herself in a dangerous position in which she has to choose between loyalty to her country and the opportunity for true love.Elizabeth Camden consistently creates intelligent, strong-willed heroines, and Annabelle Larkin is no exception. From the desire to have a successful career and overcome her regrets from the past, Annabelle becomes stronger and realizes what is truly important in life. The author authentically weaves the characters’ faith into the novel and educates the readers about the rich history of the Department of Agriculture, food regulation in the early 1900s, the American occupation in Cuba, and the presidency of William McKinley.The Spice King is highly recommended for readers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy books by authors such as Jody Hedlund, Rachel Fordham, and Carrie Turansky. Readers will eagerly look forward to the rest of the Hope and Glory series, in which Gray’s siblings will hopefully get their own stories told. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine.Additional Quotes:“God was sending her a message. The world was a good place. She needed to look for it, even when life was full of pain.”“They lived in a huge and expansive country, filled with choices and opportunities. Not all of them were easy, but she had found a man of character who would step into that world with her, and nothing had ever felt so right.”“This country had been built on a foundation laid down by farmers and stalwart farmer’s wives. It was made great by college professors, inventors, gamblers, industrialists, and dreamers. The politicians at the helm would change every four years, but the heartbeat of America would stay strong.”
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  • Elodie
    January 1, 1970
    The Spice King is a soaring and tantalizing tale about two very different persons from both sides of the fence who made choice to help their kin and the consequences they face afterward.I do know this novel does not classify as an historical romance but the blurb told me there was a hint of it inside this historical fiction.Now, I do think this is my first historical read set this late in history, right at the end of the gilded age. so yes, there is no sizzling scenes but Gray and Annabelle’s fe The Spice King is a soaring and tantalizing tale about two very different persons from both sides of the fence who made choice to help their kin and the consequences they face afterward.I do know this novel does not classify as an historical romance but the blurb told me there was a hint of it inside this historical fiction.Now, I do think this is my first historical read set this late in history, right at the end of the gilded age. so yes, there is no sizzling scenes but Gray and Annabelle’s feelings never felt short despite the lack of steam, their love evolved along their own revolution until their epiphany.Even if Gray and Annabelle could not have been two more opposite persons, their love for their siblings was what linked them together.Annabelle is not perfect, why when presented with few choices, she chooses the one path which will cost her her heart but unsure her sister is provided. I didn’t liked her path because it felt like she used Gray’s growing affection against him but between a burgeoning love and her sister’s welfare, I do understand which way she had to set her mind.And once her decision made, it was not without consequences for Gray and herself. In some way she paid too for her choosing, a nibbling guilt for her deeds, spying does not leaving people unscathed.Gray is sure the wronged party and I felt for him as for once he was ready to settle and saw in Annabelle, a possible future. She was the sunflower to his clouded self. And I do wondered at time how they could overcome the rift Annabelle’s disruption in his life caused. Gray is a good man, he was shaped by his upbringing and has his reasons for his defiance about the gouvernement. Time changes but not his distrust but life’s events will force him to reenact his decisions and confront his own mistakes.The side characters crafted by Mrs Elizabeth Camden gave this novel its deep as they were as true as fleshed persons, with their flaws, guilt, and unconditional love for their clan. Now I do wonder if we will see more of them in the next installments.« This country had been built on a foundation laid down by farmers and stalwart farmer’s wives. It was made great by college professors, inventors, gamblers, industrialists, and dreamers. The politicians at the helm would change every four years, but the heartbeat of America would stay strong. »I was granted an advance copy through Netgalley by the publisher Bethany House Publishers. And here is my true and unbiased opinion.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Another fantastic read from Camden! Peel back the cover (cleverly designed with vanilla coloring) and enter a gilded world flavored with the spices of romance, heartache, and political intrigue. The characters are loveable and relatable, and the story one to devour - leaving you grateful for the promise of more to come! Definitely one to add to your historical fiction collection.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All op Another fantastic read from Camden! Peel back the cover (cleverly designed with vanilla coloring) and enter a gilded world flavored with the spices of romance, heartache, and political intrigue. The characters are loveable and relatable, and the story one to devour - leaving you grateful for the promise of more to come! Definitely one to add to your historical fiction collection.I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
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  • Vera Godley
    January 1, 1970
    From the very first pages of The Spice King until the very end, this story was amazing and I was enchanted. I found the background information sprinkled liberally throughout the book about the spice and flavoring industry and the cost to procure authentic products thoroughly captivating.I will never look at a little bottle of vanilla flavoring again without a heap of respect for its history.Set in 1900, the story captures the social temperature of the times with residual hatred for the effects f From the very first pages of The Spice King until the very end, this story was amazing and I was enchanted. I found the background information sprinkled liberally throughout the book about the spice and flavoring industry and the cost to procure authentic products thoroughly captivating.I will never look at a little bottle of vanilla flavoring again without a heap of respect for its history.Set in 1900, the story captures the social temperature of the times with residual hatred for the effects from penalties imposed following the Civil War and on to the general distaste, disrespect, and disapproval of women in the professional work place.The characters were richly drawn by the author having them play their role in the story quite aptly. The naive Annabelle, who was bucking the social system by working as a professional in the government offices of the Smithsonian and later the Department of Agriculture, was a true treasure and a character readers will love.The male protagonist is Gray a quite wealthy man of around 40 who is very protective of the plants he has gleaned from around the world. He also has an embittered spirit toward the Government and governmental intrusion.The other supporting characters and each a joy to get to know in this story. Of course, you won't like them all as there are some quite unlikable. I heartily recommend The Spice King and it is an entertaining, historical read.DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from Revell to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given.
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  • Grace Mullins
    January 1, 1970
    Full review to come. 😊
  • Courtney Clark
    January 1, 1970
    The Spice King is an intelligent historical romance! Things I loved about this novel:-the tenacious heroine! She's capable and wonderfully feminine, yet she still proves her ability and right to work in an environment history traditionally viewed as a place for men. And she loves her sister so much!-a brooding and fiercely loyal hero, whose facade begins to melt when he sees the potential for a dream for companionship and family unrealized (both in a romantic way and the relationships restored w The Spice King is an intelligent historical romance! Things I loved about this novel:-the tenacious heroine! She's capable and wonderfully feminine, yet she still proves her ability and right to work in an environment history traditionally viewed as a place for men. And she loves her sister so much!-a brooding and fiercely loyal hero, whose facade begins to melt when he sees the potential for a dream for companionship and family unrealized (both in a romantic way and the relationships restored with his siblings)-political intrigue and secrets! Historically accurate WASHINGTON and the White House!-themes truth, loyalty, patriotism, trust-I enjoyed learning new things about exotic spices & foods we take for granted today!-the friendship and rapport between Gray and Annabelle. It's a dynamic and subtle relationship. He is attracted to her intelligence and she greatly respects him! -Gray's relationship with his siblings! I'm excited about more to come... and hopefully some answers to the twists of the story.-THE SWOONY COVER. I'M IN LOVE.-the romance-that's-way-smart. The romance is central to the story, yes, but even more so is the simple mature friendship that develops between Gray and Annabelle. Camden doesn't dwell on the physical dynamic between them, that's done well and subtly just so the reader senses the attraction. The appeal in their romance is more about camaraderie, intelligence, a recognition that each compliments the other, and a mutual respect. This elevates the story to a higher level, I think!Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy. This is my honest review.
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  • MJSH
    January 1, 1970
    “She embodied laughter and optimism and steadfast determination. Being with her felt like wind in his sails, filling him with buoyant optimism.”Elizabeth Camden has done it again! What a fascinating story from the beginning to end! This beautifully written and masterfully crafted tale takes us first to 1900 Alexandria, VA as Gray is building his spice trade empire and Annabelle is starting a new life in Washington DC as a botanical specialist in the Smithsonian. As Annabelle and Gray meet while “She embodied laughter and optimism and steadfast determination. Being with her felt like wind in his sails, filling him with buoyant optimism.”Elizabeth Camden has done it again! What a fascinating story from the beginning to end! This beautifully written and masterfully crafted tale takes us first to 1900 Alexandria, VA as Gray is building his spice trade empire and Annabelle is starting a new life in Washington DC as a botanical specialist in the Smithsonian. As Annabelle and Gray meet while she’s searching for the original vanilla orchid, their lives intertwine to include intrigue, romance, betrayal, and matters of national security. There are plenty of plot twists to keep you on your toes and there is still a smoldering question unanswered by the end of the book, which should make the sequel very interesting. I really enjoyed learning about the spice trade, the intricate process of making vanilla extract, the beginning of quality control in processed food items spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture, and how our scientists went all over the world looking for seeds and fruits to diversify our food supply. The premise and plot are quite original and captivating, as is the storytelling. Equally captivating are the characters in the story. Gray, the sober and disciplined businessman, and Annabelle, the bright and sunny botanist with an expertise in cereal grasses, are absolute opposites in personality and outlook on life. Yet they’re drawn like magnets to each other and learn what grace, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness really mean through trials and tribulations. Gray’s brother Luke and sister Caroline are also fascinating; I can’t wait for the next book to get to know Caroline better. Truly this is a historical fiction not to be missed. I received a copy of the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
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  • Victoria Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew me out of the water. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect having never read a book by Camden before. But wow. The historical emphasis really inspired me and I had a fantastic time learning about the origin of food laws and requirements, before the FDA was ever invented. Set amidst one of the sweetest romances I think I’ve ever read, this book was pure perfection. I haven’t really been into romance lately as the traditional sense of the word has been overrun in recent times This book blew me out of the water. Quite honestly, I didn’t know what to expect having never read a book by Camden before. But wow. The historical emphasis really inspired me and I had a fantastic time learning about the origin of food laws and requirements, before the FDA was ever invented. Set amidst one of the sweetest romances I think I’ve ever read, this book was pure perfection. I haven’t really been into romance lately as the traditional sense of the word has been overrun in recent times with books that are annoyingly sweet and over the top detailed romances that left me more irritated than anything else. This was the perfect balance. It focused enough on the actual characters and outlying characters that it left it way more interesting than I thought possible. I really related to the main character of Annabelle. And Gray too. They both had personality characteristics that made them unique and relatable. The side stories for the siblings of the main characters has me super excited for book two of the series! Book three better be about Luke. That's all I have to say about that. :D I loved this book and would highly recommend it! This is the way romance should be written. Thank you Miss Camden for such beautiful writing! I can’t wait to read more!
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  • HR-ML
    January 1, 1970
    A Desperate Hope (Empire State#3) DNF. The Spice King (Hope + Glory #1) 4 stars. This had romance, mystery & spirituality. Washington DC & trips to Cuba, May 1900, going forward. Wealthy Gray traveled the world to find, process & sell spices. His trade rival was the Magruder fam. who employed dishonest means. The Smithsonian gave Annabelle, a college grad, a 6 mo. assignment as a junior botanist. Later, she enjoyed a promotion to the US Dept. of Agriculture. Under pressure, the h spi A Desperate Hope (Empire State#3) DNF. The Spice King (Hope + Glory #1) 4 stars. This had romance, mystery & spirituality. Washington DC & trips to Cuba, May 1900, going forward. Wealthy Gray traveled the world to find, process & sell spices. His trade rival was the Magruder fam. who employed dishonest means. The Smithsonian gave Annabelle, a college grad, a 6 mo. assignment as a junior botanist. Later, she enjoyed a promotion to the US Dept. of Agriculture. Under pressure, the h spied on the H. The H + h worked with Goodhousekeeping magazine (still around nowdays) to expose inaccuracy in food products in a jar. In those days product content labelsweren't required. Magruder family sold the "apple-sauce." The intense H didn't trust people or the US government. Anna felt attracted to him. She stood up to him when others feared to do so. She had responsibility for her blind sister, employed in the braile dept of the Library of Congress. I liked the push/ pull of this couple and their willingness to forgive each other.
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  • Maureen Timerman
    January 1, 1970
    I love this author, and I knew I had to read this one, and I was surely not disappointed, Elizabeth Camden is a master at drawing the reader in.This story takes place during the admiration of President McKinley, and a recovering nation. I enjoyed these characters, and we meet prairie farmers, wealthy businessmen, a woman working in the White House, and a Smithsonian botanist. How these characters all work into this story will keep you page turner.We touch on the foundation of our Christian faith I love this author, and I knew I had to read this one, and I was surely not disappointed, Elizabeth Camden is a master at drawing the reader in.This story takes place during the admiration of President McKinley, and a recovering nation. I enjoyed these characters, and we meet prairie farmers, wealthy businessmen, a woman working in the White House, and a Smithsonian botanist. How these characters all work into this story will keep you page turner.We touch on the foundation of our Christian faith, forgiveness, and you will see how hard that becomes. I can also see the next novel coming, and personally I can’t wait to see how this all works out.I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I live in rural Nebraska, but my interest in agriculture is ... minimal at best. I'm thankful for it, and I appreciate the work my farming relatives put in, but I don't really care about the science behind my food. So the fact that I was completely captivated by this novel, which is about a botanist and a spice tycoon who fight for purity in the food supply, speaks to Elizabeth Camden's skill at spinning a story.While it took me a bit (probably 25% in) to get into the book, I soon couldn't fly t I live in rural Nebraska, but my interest in agriculture is ... minimal at best. I'm thankful for it, and I appreciate the work my farming relatives put in, but I don't really care about the science behind my food. So the fact that I was completely captivated by this novel, which is about a botanist and a spice tycoon who fight for purity in the food supply, speaks to Elizabeth Camden's skill at spinning a story.While it took me a bit (probably 25% in) to get into the book, I soon couldn't fly through the pages quickly enough! Annabelle is spunky and determined, while Gray is reserved and set in his ways, and they make a perfect match. (I do have to say that Gray strikes me as more of a Darcy than a Colonel Brandon as Annabelle thought, but I suppose any Austen hero comparison is good!)I loved the intrigue involving Gray's brother Luke, which looks to continue in a future novel, and the "war" with the rival food company was so fun to read about! There's also romance, of course, but the novel is much more than a romance. Rich with historical detail, it's sure to captivate fans of American history. Disclosure of material connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Denise Hershberger
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsCamden is a master of taking a fairly traditional plot line and making it her own and unique through her fantastic characters. I especially love her strong female leads. Annabelle is working in a scientific field full of men, but she stands on her own and I love it. I also love how invested in the work she is. I know there are personal reasons, but even then it makes a great heroine. Granted she is far from perfect, but that only makes her more believable.Gray was amazing. I loved his c 4.5 starsCamden is a master of taking a fairly traditional plot line and making it her own and unique through her fantastic characters. I especially love her strong female leads. Annabelle is working in a scientific field full of men, but she stands on her own and I love it. I also love how invested in the work she is. I know there are personal reasons, but even then it makes a great heroine. Granted she is far from perfect, but that only makes her more believable.Gray was amazing. I loved his care for his family, his determination, and his unique ailments gave him a great physical flaw that I don't find too often in books. I related to his bad days as I'm sure many others will.As I mentioned before this plot isn't anything new. It has been done, but Camden's research and characters make her books amazing. You truly feel transported into the time of the book. And honestly you learn a lot too!This was a fast read for me because I got so engaged in the story.I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This is my honest review.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    "The Spice King" is the first book I have read written by Elizabeth Camdem, but I found it so interesting that I might read other of her works in the future.Historical romance is not one of my favorite genres, but the synopsis caught my attention, and the plot surprised me in every way, since it was not the cliché that I thought it would be. I really liked the characters and especially the main couple, Anabelle and Gray, as well as other aspects of the story, American politics and the world of s "The Spice King" is the first book I have read written by Elizabeth Camdem, but I found it so interesting that I might read other of her works in the future.Historical romance is not one of my favorite genres, but the synopsis caught my attention, and the plot surprised me in every way, since it was not the cliché that I thought it would be. I really liked the characters and especially the main couple, Anabelle and Gray, as well as other aspects of the story, American politics and the world of spices, as it seemed quite original and different from what I had read before.I also liked that the author introduced in the history a character with a disability, Anabelle's sister, Elaine, who is blind, and I wish we could had know a little more about her and her experience.It is definitely a novel that I would recommend, the plot is entertaining and full of unexpected twists, with a complex romance and an interesting background.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ebook to review! All opinions expressed are my own
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  • Doreen
    January 1, 1970
    “Soon even Kansas won’t be safe from properly seasoned food” (location 786). This book talked about the early days in the fight for food purification. It was common for companies to add filler ingredients, including things like tar, so they could make more of a profit. It was fascinating to learn more about the different positions and to hear what is behind the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” I had no idea that magazine had a testing lab for looking at products.I really enjoyed the charact “Soon even Kansas won’t be safe from properly seasoned food” (location 786). This book talked about the early days in the fight for food purification. It was common for companies to add filler ingredients, including things like tar, so they could make more of a profit. It was fascinating to learn more about the different positions and to hear what is behind the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” I had no idea that magazine had a testing lab for looking at products.I really enjoyed the characters in this book. When Gray Delacroix sums up Annabelle and her family, he gets it just right. Annabelle is a beautiful woman. She gives up her own plans to move to Washington to help her blind sister. She is a picture of sacrificial love and persistence. Gray’s brother, Luke, reminded me of the movie “The Mission.” He is trying so hard to pay his own form of penance. Gray, too, is very caring for his family. He takes his responsibilities seriously yet has a dry sense of humor that balances that.This is a great read. It doesn’t get bogged down with the politics of the fight for food purification but gives just enough information to get a flavor for the times. I’d highly recommend it.Thank you to Bethany House for providing me with a free e-copy of this book. All opinions are my own.#TheSpiceKing, #Netgalley
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  • Jaquelyn Scroggie
    January 1, 1970
    This story had me hooked from page one. It was so interesting entering the world where people studied plants and wanted to learn as much as they could about them. This story has so many unique and interesting twists and turns. I like Annabelle and how persistent she was when she wanted something bad enough. She was put in some hard situations in this book where the difference between right and wrong was a blurred line. Camden had me turning pages anxiously awaiting what would happen next. I woul This story had me hooked from page one. It was so interesting entering the world where people studied plants and wanted to learn as much as they could about them. This story has so many unique and interesting twists and turns. I like Annabelle and how persistent she was when she wanted something bad enough. She was put in some hard situations in this book where the difference between right and wrong was a blurred line. Camden had me turning pages anxiously awaiting what would happen next. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Historical Romance. I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers and was in no way forced to post a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Martha
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the history with Washington politics, Good Housekeeping, and also the secondary characters with blindness. I am so thankful to people that fought to have ingredients disclosed on labels for us. I am really excited to see this is a series as well, as I want to know more about the siblings.I have never been disappointed by one of Elizabeth Camden's books, and this one was no exception. I found myself pulled into the story immediately. The short heroine, of course, which I don't see as ofte I loved the history with Washington politics, Good Housekeeping, and also the secondary characters with blindness. I am so thankful to people that fought to have ingredients disclosed on labels for us. I am really excited to see this is a series as well, as I want to know more about the siblings.I have never been disappointed by one of Elizabeth Camden's books, and this one was no exception. I found myself pulled into the story immediately. The short heroine, of course, which I don't see as often as I like, being only five feet tall myself, made me laugh. I could see myself in her. As I stated earlier, I totally want to know what becomes of the siblings of the main characters, and just get more from this author. You will be entertained, but learn at the same time. Romance? Yes, but not exactly in the way you think. It was less the focus of the story and more a background story. The relationship and friendship was what you really saw as you learn how this country changed history with spices and food. Plus, with that cover, I mean, you just have to get it!
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  • Miranda Atchley
    January 1, 1970
    This is my favorite Camden novel to date. Every element was pitch-perfect and came together in a truly lovely novel. I loved Annabelle and Gray, as well as the supporting cast of characters. Sweet, inquisitive, and intelligent Annabelle Larkin is the opposite of the brusque, business savvy and reclusive Gray Delacroix, yet together they are the perfect couple. I loved these two and championed for their happily-ever-after, even though the odds were against them. And, without giving away any spoil This is my favorite Camden novel to date. Every element was pitch-perfect and came together in a truly lovely novel. I loved Annabelle and Gray, as well as the supporting cast of characters. Sweet, inquisitive, and intelligent Annabelle Larkin is the opposite of the brusque, business savvy and reclusive Gray Delacroix, yet together they are the perfect couple. I loved these two and championed for their happily-ever-after, even though the odds were against them. And, without giving away any spoilers, they had a rocky road to travel. I was kept in suspense wondering how things would work out not only for Annabelle and Gray, but for the Delacroix business and all those involved. Camden’s passionate prose and thorough research breathe new life into obscure bits of history. What I love about her novels is that they are very smart with women protagonists who do amazing things in their respective eras. I love reading about bold women who defy expectations and follow their hearts and this is a hallmark of Camden’s writing.I adored The Spice King and cannot wait for more in the Hope and Glory series. Highly recommend!I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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  • Nora St Laurent
    January 1, 1970
    I’m blown away by how this author weaves fascinating historical tidbits through interesting characters I cared about and some I didn’t. I was clueless about Vanilla Extract. I wondered why there was quite an assortment of extracts with a huge price range; now I know why. Wow, I appreciate this authors skill in making a topic that could have been super boring a very thought-provoking read. It made me appreciate the availability of delicious vegetables and spices I can easily obtain today. I’m tha I’m blown away by how this author weaves fascinating historical tidbits through interesting characters I cared about and some I didn’t. I was clueless about Vanilla Extract. I wondered why there was quite an assortment of extracts with a huge price range; now I know why. Wow, I appreciate this authors skill in making a topic that could have been super boring a very thought-provoking read. It made me appreciate the availability of delicious vegetables and spices I can easily obtain today. I’m thankful for what others went through so we could have this abundance.Annabelle is smart, naive and desperate to stay in DC for her sister’s sake. Elaine has dreamed of being a volunteer in Washington’s library for the blind. I enjoyed how the author talked about the library and showed Elaine (a young blind woman) facing her fears. Annabelle is hired as a temporary junior botanist at the Smithsonian, botanical department and then the Dept. of Agriculture. She is not popular in either camp because of the social scheme of things as the Smithsonian is a male dominated place. Annabelle’s one assignment is to obtain full-time employment which would allow her to stay in D.C. In doing so she hoped to gain valuable agricultural information, and enough money to save her family’s farm. She won’t let Mr. Gray’s rejection letter stop her. She thinks outside the box to accomplish her task in connecting with him.Mr. Gray Delacroix is the world’s leading spice industrialist. He’s a recluse, about 40 something, a man who’s exhausted from years of traveling, contracting Malaria along the way didn’t help things. Mr. Gray is very protective of the plants he’s collected from around the world. He hears a knock at the door, he tries to send the person away; but stops after she tells him of the Smithsonian’s search for an elusive vanilla orchid. He’s captivated by Annabelle’s bright scientific mind and optimistic courage. She’s lovely and hard to ignore. He doesn’t trust the government or this attractive woman. Gray and Annabelle connect in a special way, which has him thinking for the first time about settling down to enjoy the fruits of his labor. I couldn’t help but smile as Gray and Annabelle toured and talked about their love of botany, it was a rare connection.Annabelle and Gray worked well together to fight the good fight in making people aware of additives in the food supply (the author tells readers about how this led to the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, which required labels to accurately describe a product’s contents.”) Interesting that we are still fighting this fight. I was fascinated at how the Smithsonian collected seeds from different cataloging of these species.The Smithsonian confronts Annabelle; she is faced with a choice she didn’t think she could make but when generals sit her down and want her to uncover information about the Delacroix family business. She buckled. She had to know Gray had nothing to do with this, so she forged ahead to prove his innocence. Her heart ached. What if she found something? She knew she’d give it to the government. She also knew it would blow up any chances she had at a relationship with Gray. This is book one in the Hope and Glory series. I'm thrilled that the author takes up Caroline Delacroix next. Here is a peek, "Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington society in her role as secretary to the First Lady of the United States. Yet Caroline is hiding a terrible secret, for unless she can untangle a web of espionage, her brother faces execution for treason." Looks like more fun ahead in book two. This novel was filled with a splash of romance, political drama, betrayal, loyalty to family and country, treason and forgiveness. I liked how the author authentically weaves the characters’ faith into this story while sprinkling readers with a rich history of the dept of agriculture, food regulation in the early 1900s the American occupation in Cuba, and the presidency of William McKinley (highlighting issues and his wife’s health). I love learning about history this way. All this made for a book I couldn’t put down. I look forward to reading the next book. This author includes 9 discussion questions to help create lively discussions.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”Nora St. LaurentTBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Catalogue front page www.bookfun.org
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  • V. Palmer
    January 1, 1970
    The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden wasn't at all what I expected, but what I found between these pages fascinated me!The Spice King is rich in history and science, and I absolutely loved that about it! This is one of those gorgeous fictional stories that I could see being used in school curriculum to engage students in history and science! I loved seeing the political landscape through the eyes of Gray and Annabelle in Washington, DC during the Gilded Age. I loved learning more about the differe The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden wasn't at all what I expected, but what I found between these pages fascinated me!The Spice King is rich in history and science, and I absolutely loved that about it! This is one of those gorgeous fictional stories that I could see being used in school curriculum to engage students in history and science! I loved seeing the political landscape through the eyes of Gray and Annabelle in Washington, DC during the Gilded Age. I loved learning more about the different departments of the government in this timeframe. I loved the science -- both past and present -- of botany. The details about adulterated foods in the twentieth century horrified me! All of these components were fascinating by themselves, but the addition of a political thriller/mystery that is sure to come out during the rest of the series made it even better!Gray and Annabelle were an interesting couple! While not soulmate characters for me, I found them to be well-written and likeable. And Gray channeled some serious Mr. Darcy vibes, so he's obviously pretty awesome! Gray and Annabelle's relationship really explored the range of emotions from betrayal to forgiveness after Annabelle is pushed into a moral corner. The exploration of that fallout is an angsty trial that I could relate to -- one I'm sure many other readers will also understand. Another thing that I appreciated is that Gray's journey to not only forgiving but also understanding Annabelle's decision wasn't rushed. I also liked how the author used these things to highlight our God-given purposes in life.Four Stars ~ The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden is a fascinating story! The Spice King is the first book in the author's new Hope and Glory Series from Bethany House! I'm looking forward to continuing the underlying mystery in the next book!Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    When a super-speed reader doesn't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cos When a super-speed reader doesn't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!! I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building his very successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before it spirals out of control, he returns to his ancestral home to save his brother and sister before it's too late.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?Undeniably clean and enjoyable, this romance is not too treacly - it is a fascinating tor read about the Smithsonian in those days and this detailed historical background made it very enjoyable. The characters are well written and I look forward to reading the other books in this series as they are released. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "Social Influencer Millennials" on Instagram and Twitter) so let's give it 🌱🌱🌱🌱
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  • Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
    January 1, 1970
    Camden will have readers hanging on every word in The Spice King. The history alone had this reader intrigued, and wanting even more. It is so evident that Camden does her research. She presents information about things we don't even think about - such as the food industry and the beginning of testing products. She talks about different departments in Washington, the good and the bad. Annabelle and Gray seemed to be on opposite sides of the spectrum as far as allegiance, and yet Camden masterful Camden will have readers hanging on every word in The Spice King. The history alone had this reader intrigued, and wanting even more. It is so evident that Camden does her research. She presents information about things we don't even think about - such as the food industry and the beginning of testing products. She talks about different departments in Washington, the good and the bad. Annabelle and Gray seemed to be on opposite sides of the spectrum as far as allegiance, and yet Camden masterfully brings them together in a way that reels the reader in and doesn't let them go.I liked Gray before I even started reading the book. I mean, have you seen the cover! Yes, swoon. In the beginning he did seem like this arrogant businessman that I was not going to enjoy or relate to. But little by little his defenses came down, and you see a man who truly cares for his family, is protective, and finds himself totally blown away with this woman who has put herself in his life. The more the story went on, the more fascinated I became with his character. The secondary characters were just as enchanting as the main characters. Annabelle's sister, Elaine was one of my favorites, and while she didn't get a huge block of time in the book, the time she did have made a profound statement. She is proof that even in historic settings, people with disabilities are truly only limited by themselves. In other words, the sky is the limit, and if you push hard you can live a relatively normal, happy life. Elaine was truly an inspiration. Historic fans will fawn over this new series by Elizabeth Camden. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book as we read more about Gray's sister Caroline! I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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