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The Spice King

(Hope and Glory #1)

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building a successful global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Tasked with gaining access to the private Delacroix plant collection, Smithsonian botanist Annabelle Larkin unwittingly steps into a web of dangerous political intrigue and will be forced to choose between her heart and her loyalty to her country.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Bethany House Publishers
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4.37  · 
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 ·  194 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Sarah Grace Grzy
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
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
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"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
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Maureen Timerman
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
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
Denise Hershberger
Aug 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Camden 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
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
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
"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
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“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
Jaquelyn Scroggie
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Miranda Atchley
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 ...more
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Overall, The Spice King is an educational, powerful, and intense read. Elizabeth Camden once again very skillfully weaves excellent historical research into an intriguing, multi-faceted story brought to life by an interesting array of main and secondary characters. My favorite character, and one I feel most admirable and relatable, is Gray Delacroix, the manager of the now thriving global family spice business. Gray and his recently deceased father spent many years struggling to overcome obstacl ...more
Jennifer K
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Camden wraps these wonderful characters in rich history and creates a gripping plot that had me turning pages. Her unique characters captured my interest because although they are flawed, their strengths shine. The timeless lessons the characters learn are good examples for us all. The romance was one of my favorite ingredients of the story. Camden writes romance with some of the best of them. I appreciate this well researched historical fiction and I can’t wait for the next book in the series. ...more
Sarah Vanscoyoc
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I confess, I used to read all of Elizabeth Camden’s books, but I fell behind a while ago, amidst the busyness of life. So this is the first one I’ve read in quite a while and as I read, I was reminded what I so enjoyed about her other books! I didn’t have a ton of expectations, given the previous statement, but if I’d had any, I can confidently say they would definitely have been far surpassed!
I can’t fathom how much research and time Ms. Camden must put into every single one of her stories! Th
Nora St Laurent
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
I love novels that are not afraid to ask the BIG questions. The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden is a wonderfully engaging read. The characters are excellently crafted and delightfully endearing. The historical detail is fascinating. I learned so much about the history of processed food. Unfortunately, since the 1800s, food has been a science experiment crafted in warehouses and labs. I am blown away by what some people were, and still are, willing to call food just so they could turn a profit. Wh ...more
Maggie Boyd
There is no sweeter joy than finding an author who consistently publishes great romance, and for me, one such author is Elizabeth Camden. I love the way I never know what to expect from her books – mystery, adventure, heartwarming family stories, or journeys of self-discovery – and yet I know exactly what to expect from her books – excellent prose, rich history, and sweet, intellectual romance. The Spice King entirely lives up to those expectations.

Annabelle Larkin has a brand new job as a junio
Sep 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love and political intrigue

My rating is 4.5 stars

Spice King, Gray Delacroix, had worked hard to build the spice empire that provided the lifestyle his younger twin siblings enjoyed. His dedication to the quality of the products they sold and disgust at the unscrupulous practices of his competitors led him to crusade for reform in the food industry that would lead to pure products and accurate descriptions of what was in them. As a label-reader, I was especially fascinated at learning more about
Sep 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Farm-raised, Kansas native, and Smithsonian botanist Annabelle Larkin is swept into a world of conspiracy, food adulteration, and politics when she meets self-made man Grey Delacroix the head of a sizable spice empire.

Grey has labored for years to build his business, foregoing a college education he travelled across the world collecting the most rare plants and learning how to cultivate them on foreign soil. He is smitten with the young Smithsonian botanist, with the gumption to ask him to donat
This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Camden, though I've wanted to read one for a long while. I was drawn to the title and the rich history that I associate with spices.

Gray was just a small boy during the Civil war, in which his family's ships were confiscated and home burnt. This left a lasting impression on his life, living in the "raccoon shed" and later life aboard a ship searching for spices and other exotic plants. His passion is his vanilla orchids. Now 40, Gray has decided to s
Robin Willson
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The world was a good place. She needed to look for it, even when life was full of pain."
1900 Washington DC. Christian Historical. I was all in on the first page.
This is intense.
Annabelle is from a farming family in Kansas. Her father was able to put her and her sister through college, which is quite a thing now, even more so back then. She and Elaine move to Washington, DC, she at the Smithsonian (later Department of Agriculture), her sister at the Library of Congress. Elaine is blind, and thi
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I saw the cover for the first book in Elizabeth Camden's new series, I couldn't wait to read it. A historical novel about spices, botany, and political intrigue, it mixes romance with with world of commercial food, business rivalry, and treason. Happily, The Spice King lived up to my hopeful expectations.

The Spice King, Gray Delacroix, is a wealthy recluse who refuses to let the government anywhere near his business. That includes sharing his plants with anyone from the Smithsonian, n
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a really unique piece of historical fiction. It was really interesting to see Gray's business pursuits and the development of spices that we take for granted in our day, particularly alongside the government aspect, with the Smithsonian wanting information and the Department of Agriculture wanting to start regulating the growing business. Saying a book talks about the beginning of the fight for food safety and ingredient labels, that might not make it sound very appealing, but it was re ...more
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s hard to think of a time when laws or regulations were non-existent when it came to food processing and labelling products that were being sold to the public. Elizabeth Camden takes the reader on a journey to the early 1900s when some companies in the food industry strove to make profit and cheated their way through adulterated food and false advertising, and others strove to bring pure products to market.

Gray Delacroix has been given the responsibility of running his father’s spice company
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Spice King, by Elizabeth Camden, is book in in the Hope and Glory Series. This is a great historical fiction story that shows the importance of faith, family, forgiveness, and honesty. The story gives a look into the background of processing spices, what it takes to make good spices and how some companies misrepresent the product they make. It shows the dedication it take to help enforce the production of good quality products.
Annabelle has taken a temporary job at the Smithsonian to move wi
The Spice King has everything I love in a historical read and so much more. There's espionage, secrets, betrayal, intrigue, romance. I could go on and on.

I always feel like I learn new and interesting bits of history when I read an Elizabeth Camden book and this one is no different. The Spice King deals with a subject that's very important to me. Food safety. I had no idea how lax the regulations were. Food labeling was pretty much nonexistent and oftentimes, the product wasn't even what it sai
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