The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden ~ Review

My Review:

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 donate his plant collection. But the enchantingly cheerful, passionate woman who brings light into his life, is also the one who can bring everything that matters crashing down.

I've never met an Elizabeth Camden that I didn't love, and this one is no exception. Incredibly well written as well as researched, set at the turn of the 20th century, when food impurities were at a dangerous high due to few laws regulating disclosure and safety, this novel introduces the passionate and principled Delacroix family. I love how Ms. Camden brings the politics and advances of bygone eras to life in a way that brings new appreciation for the things that we take for granted everyday.

Grey has worked hard for his success, he has devoted much of his life to his business in order to provide for his younger siblings Luke and Caroline, whom he practically raised. But underneath his intimidating outer layers, he is a man who is deeply loyal to his family and who has the grace and determination to keep growing, and always strive for better whether in his business or personal life. I admired his devotion to his siblings, he always wants the best for them, and there is no distance he would not go for them.

Annabelle brings a bright enthusiasm wherever she goes, she is passionate about learning new things, is devoted to her sister and her country. She always is encouraging others to find joy in the everyday. Despite disappointments, she always tries to look on the bright side, she relies on her faith to hold her fast as she struggles to provide for herself and her sister, as well as to serve her country even if it means betraying a friend.

Luke and Caroline shine as Grey slowly begins to see the man and woman that they have grown up to be in their own rights, each blessed with a double dose of charm. Both are so much more than they appear at a single glance.

Overall, an absolutely thrilling introduction to what is sure to be a fantastic trilogy, I already love Luke and Caroline! Annabelle is faced with many hard choices, as she fights to stay true to her beliefs and her family. I loved the glimpse into life at the turn of the century amidst the buzz of the nation's capital, I'd never thought that the Agriculture Administration and the history of food adulteration would be so truly fascinating. Annabelle and Grey have captivating chemistry that leaps from the page, most evident in their engagingly clever dialogue and how their personalities complement each other perfectly. Annabelle's sister Elaine faces her fears and blazes her own trail, not letting her limitations choose for her. A thoroughly riveting read, with heroes who jump from the page, high stakes, faith, and romance. You won't want to miss it!

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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