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  • Must-read historical fiction

    Elizabeth Camden truly has a way of creating absolutely delectable historical fiction, turning somewhat little remembered facts in our history into centerpieces of her incredible writing. Hope & Glory series takes the reader on a journey from the boom of spice importing and processed food industry and agricultural science (The Spice King) to the last year of President McKinley's administration and all its politics and glitter (A Glided Lady) to the long years and sacrifice poured into the Pure Food and Drug Act along with plenty of political intrigue (The Prince of Spies). The series should be read in order so that you can get the full flavor of the Delacroix siblings. I have been anxiously awaiting this last book in the series and Elizabeth Camden does not disappoint! It's the perfect ending to the series. The year is 1902 and Luke has grown up after his stint in a Cuban jail. He's still delightfully impulsive, bold, passionate, loyal, and tender but has learned to rein in his thrill-seeking and emotional soul and has also found God. By the power of the written word, he seeks to make changes in the government but is also fueled by bitterness and desire for revenge. Marianne is a sweet, creative, loyal, oftentimes timid daughter of Luke's number one enemy whose path keeps getting tangled up with Luke's, even as he schemes to take down her father and his processed food empire. Their romance is splendidly magical, properly old-schooled and heart-stirring (with some of Romeo and Juliet vibes thrown in). There are twists and turns in the story that will make you gasp. The journey Luke makes to put his faith into action is a tough but admirable one; the faith journey Marianne makes is somewhat different but nonetheless powerful. I also loved learning about photography during that time, the beginnings of the FDA and how the National Mall in DC came about, one small piece at a time. If you are a fan of historical fiction, this is a must-read book! The Delacroix siblings, particularly the reformed and repentant Luke, will linger in your heart for a long time to come. I received the book from Bethany House Publishers and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

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  • Loved it

    The Prince of Spies by Elizabeth Camden is the third and last book in the Hope and Glory series. I do recommend reading the earlier books in this series, as Luke, the main character, has been in them quite often. I suppose it gets covered in short in the book itself, but you’ll miss a lot by skipping the first two books, especially as all previous characters play a role in this one too, yay! Also, this cover! It’s so stunning and I can’t get over the fact that when you lay all three books in a row they form a matching image! That’s reason 2 to read the entire series by the way. Ok, about the book itself now. We have Luke, charming, intense, sensitive, kind and fun, who throws himself into situations without thinking. I was a bit reluctant as I love more introverted nerdy men and I definitely got that with the first two books, but I have to admit I loved him! Luke is a rounded, layered, very interesting character and I’m here for it. His funny remarks make me giggle and I can’t help but fall in love with his easy way, and feel for him when his traumatic past hits him. I would have liked to see more of his PTSD though, that was the only aspect that didn’t feel genuine to me, you mostly only see what’s on the outside, not the inner world to go with it. But that’s a minor detail and basically the only thing in this book I didn’t like. Because it is AMAZING. We get a dual POV between Luke and Marianne, which works perfect. Their forbidden romance is truly a work of art, and I loved every minute. It has a bit enemies to lovers in it, which was my favorite part. Marianne works at the photography department and her job is to photograph buildings mostly, or anything that can be used, and she does it splendidly. Her character is amazing too, how she stays upright in a difficult family situation, and how she copes with everything, trying to be honest at all times. But of course this wouldn’t be an Elizabeth Camden novel if there weren’t many other plots going. We continue the plot set in book 1 about toxic food additives, though it’s taken to another level. I always marvel at how amazing Camden can make something that sounds really boring and makes it into the most exciting thing ever, with lots of details of niche history. Applause! And there was this ball thrown by Caroline I really really want to attent, it was so imaginative... basically I just loved the entire book. There were many unexpected plots and turns and I kept guessing how it would all end. And I loved to see how Luke, a fairly new Christian, is growing in faith, and helps Marianne to discover it, too. They fit so well together! And I love them! All in all, I loved it. Obviously. This entire series has a place in my favorites and I wish there were like 8 siblings. But all good things must come to an end... And with that, my review ends too, but not before one last thing, as I have to mention a trigger warning. Don’t read on if you don’t want to know, because it’s a mild spoiler. — There is one situation concerning animal cruelty that left me crying. I received a free e-arc in exchange for my honest review.

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  • The Conclusion I Have Been Waiting For!

    The conclusion I have been waiting for! The Delacroix family has held me captive since I was first introduced. Luke is the most charismatic of the siblings and finally gets to tell his own story! I love everything about Luke: his wit, charm, intelligence, commitment to family, country and truth. It seems to fit that his love story would have to be big and complicated as well, and yet, it is perfect. Marianne is exactly the type of woman Luke needs to anchor him and make him a better version of himself. Marianne is a complicated character as well who brings great balance to Luke’s many layers. Their love story is one for the ages and not easily forgotten. Romance, family, mystery and intrigue… I loved everything about this clean, inspirational, historical fiction book. You will want to read the previous two books in the series to fully appreciate this one. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are my own, freely given.

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  • The Prince of Spies

    Having read the first two books in this series, I have been looking forward to Luke's story. He has been working with his brother Gray to stop the adulteration of foods with questionable and dangerous preservatives and additives. One of their fiercest foes is Clyde Magruder, who is also a new congressman. Things get really interesting when Luke meets and falls in love with Magruder's daughter, Marianne. She loves her family, though she recognizes their dysfunction and wishes things would be different, but she can't deny her feelings for Luke. There are many roadblocks to their happiness. Along the way, Luke and Marianne both have to rely on God to strengthen them to face the challenges with integrity. One of the things that sets Elizabeth Camden's books apart from other historical fiction is the way she takes rather obscure pieces of history and makes them very interesting parts of her story. One of the unique aspects of this series is the covers of the books. Set side by side, they form one complete picture of the Delacroix siblings, Gray, Caroline, and Luke. I enjoyed The Prince of Spies and highly recommend it and the other books in the series. I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts are my own.

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  • Amazing conclusion to an Epic Historical Romance!

    This is the amazing conclusion to an Epic Historical Story set in Washington’s Gilded Age! I can say it left me amazed at the author’s talent for crafting such a complex story while based on true events, and many historical facts! The story was beautiful, and with a deep and compelling message about unconditional love, forgiveness, courage and redemption. This story can be read as a stand-alone, but I would highly recommend to read the series in order so you can understand better the complete story, as Luke, who finally has his own story, plays an important part in the previous two books. Charmingly reckless Luke Delacroix is restless, and needs to feel a void in his heart. He has a past he hasn’t reconciled completely with, even if the blame wasn’t his. In order to do something right, he is working with the Modern Century Magazine, being the only employee in the Washington Bureau for the moment. His goal is to take down a handful of -no good- Congressmen out of office in the next elections. Especially Clyde Magruder, his biggest enemy, with whom they have a deep family feud, and the cause of his endless guilt and brokenness. But trouble starts when he comes to the rescue and risks his life to save Bandit, Marianne’s nephew’s dog. This encounter marks a unique connection between both, and Luke determines to get to know the beautiful woman with a determined and courageous streak. What he never expects is her crush to be Marianne Magruder, Clyde’s daughter, none the less. But when he learns of this, he is half besotted with her and her with him, so even against their decision to not let the friendship grow into something more, they find themselves seeking each other out. But Luke knows his passion to make vital reforms to the Congress may end in harming Marianne’s father career. Can he hurt the family of the woman he already loves even if it’s his worst enemy? Will he lose her heart as well? The plot was totally page turner, I had a hard time putting this book down. There are many twists and complications to the story, and the fact that most of it is based on true events made it all the more interesting, as was everything related with the Pure Food and Drug Act and the famous Poison Squad who volunteered to eat food altered with chemicals and preservatives to discover if they were healthy and in how much doses. So interesting! But the best were the characters: Luke completely melted my heart with his devotion and loyalty to Marianne during the whole story, in spite of everything. He truly had a heart of gold, and the way he loved his twin sister was inspiring too. Marianne also had a huge heart and the love of her family and loyalty to them was admirable too, even if she’ll have to make some difficult choices in order to do what is good above all. Family ties is a strong theme in this trilogy. Trusting God and true forgiveness is another message beautifully portrayed, and the fact that life is not perfect, people are not perfect, but flawed, and yet life can be beautiful if we embrace what God gives us with gratitude and love. The characters were so relatable because they were flawed, but willing to grow and change when enlightened by God’s wisdom. The romance between Luke and Marianne was so sweet and endearing too! And very Romeo and Julietish too! The historical part was so interesting, and so detailed and well researched, it really amazed me. I felt completely transported to the America’s Gilded Era! This is definitely a book I highly recommend! But I hope you won’t miss the previous two so you can have this amazing experience of the Delacroix family journey to love and redemption! A very inspiring message through it all! I received a complimentary copy of this book by the Publisher, but wasn’t required to post a positive review. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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