Book Review: The Spice King

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First of all, can I just say – THIS COVER! How often do we get to see the hero instead of the heroine featured on the cover? I just think it’s so unique! I love it. And not only is the cover amazing, but the story completely measures up. Elizabeth Camden is on a short list of authors whose work I usually enjoy (others are on a “hit and miss” list) and with the Spice King, she’s done it again!

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?

I’ve read very few books where I was genuinely concerned for the characters and baffled as to how they would work their way out of the fix they’d gotten themselves into (I pride myself on being able to predict plots). This one had me on the edge of my seat wondering just how Camden intended to play this one. And wow. It pulled on my heartstrings.

And the history of this book! Have you ever wondered about the history of cooking… the spices in your kitchen… food production..? The Spice King takes place in the midst of the push to get food and drugs labeled. Imagine if someone sold you pumpkin and told you it was applesauce? Or Chicory instead of Coffee? Our contemporary minds can’t imagine such a world because our allergens and diets depend on it. And it’s the heartbeat of the characters – for better or for worse.

Speaking of characters, the odd pairing of Gray and Annabelle are the prime ingredients for a “thoroughly modern couple.” And it sells. After all, he’s the Colonel Brandon to her “Miss Prim and Practical.” It’s hard not to forgive Gray his gruffness or Annabelle her challenging choices.  In the end, you’ll be desperate to see how things work themselves out.

For myself, I can’t wait for Gray’s sister Caroline’s story because there is still more to know about the fascinating Delacroix family. And I need to make sure they come out alright.

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I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own

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