The Spice King | Book Review
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
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?
Elizabeth Camden has done it again! I have been a fan of her writing for a long time, and her newest release did not disappoint! The Spice King (can we just talk about that title for a second?) was an utterly romantic love story, all tangled up in a world of food and spice -- and war rumblings -- in the year 1900.
How much do you know about the food industry at the turn of the century? For me, that was next to nothing, until this book. I found the events leading up to the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 to be fascinating. Elizabeth Camden is a master of weaving loads of history into a book... undetected.
Back in 1900, food companies weren't required to be honest about their products in any way -- for instance, in this story, a jar of applesauce could be pumpkins and acid for all you knew, and there didn't have to be a list of ingredients. Gray's fight for pure, honest foods and flavorings rang true with me and the fake vs. real food debate in our culture today.
Also, if you don't get up from reading this book craving pure vanilla ice cream or fragrant sugar cookies, you're not reading it right. :) The descriptions of spices and herbs and the elusive original vanilla orchid had my mouth watering!
Annabelle was a strong and feminine main character, another trademark of Camden's writing. And Gray, with his Darcy-esque steely principles and love for plants, has his hands full with two step-siblings, Luke and Caroline. Their love story was satisfying and made me chuckle quite a few times, especially when they visited the Good Housekeeping Magazine. :)
Finally, the rumblings of the Spanish-American War added intrigue that was very realistic. (Sometimes drama, especially of the political/spy variety, can feel pasted into a novel just for the excitement, but this was well-spun all the way.) I am once again waiting for a sequel! And this history buff enjoyed the White House dynamics of President McKinley's term.
Whether you're a history buff or not, this book is the perfect blend of sweet romance and spicy adventure, and I guarantee you'll love it!
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to post a positive review.*