Award-winning author Elizabeth Camden starts a new series, set during America’s Gilded Age (President McKinley era), exploring the safety in the food industry.
In The Spice King, Annabelle Larkin and her blind sister Elaine move from the family’s farm in Kansas to Washington, D.C. Annabelle is working temporarily at the Smithsonian as a junior botanist. She has been tasked with gaining access to the private Delacroix plant collection, unaware that she is stepping into a situation filled with political intrigue that will test her loyalties. Despite her growing attraction to the wealthy Gray Delacroix, which will Annabelle choose: to follow her heart or her loyalty to her country?
Like Camden’s other books, Annabelle works in a male-dominated field – she is persistent, intelligent, and likeable, at the same time occasionally exhibiting a meekness from growing up in the heartlands. Gray struggles to keep his family together and to do the right thing even when it is hard. Theirs is a clean romance, though Gray’s somewhat social awkwardness in this relationship was distracting. It takes a major event for Gray to recognize his younger brother and sister (who are now adults) don’t need him as a parent figure anymore, as well as the cost in his sibling relationships by his focus solely on building his business empire in recent years.
As always, Camden pens a well-documented historical novel, filled with plenty of facts woven throughout the story. The faith element is minimal but evident, and the storytelling is excellent with strong, flawed characters and descriptive narratives. The second book in the series is expected in 2020, titled A Gilded Lady, and will focus on Caroline Delacroix, Gray’s sister, who works as the social secretary to the First Lady.
Recommended for school libraries and public libraries. Fans of Camden’s earlier books will not be disappointed in this new series.
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my honest opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publishers, publicists, and/or authors. I am not required to write reviews, nor to even post positive reviews.