One thing I always love about Elizabeth Camden’s novels are her intelligent heroines who illuminate aspects of women’s roles in society during the setting’s era. In her latest novel, The Spice King, a tenacious botanist is finding her place in 1900 Washington, DC. There happens to a hero to this story, too, as evidenced by the handsome cover….
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?
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. And the hero very much matches the cover, so extra points for matchy accuracy!
- 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!
I am excited for the rest of this “Hope and Glory” series! I know we will see more of Gray and Annabelle.
Thanks to Bethany House for the review copy. This is my honest review.