As soon as I saw the cover for the first book in Elizabeth Camden’s new series, I couldn’t wait to read it. A historical novel about spices, botany, and political intrigue, it mixes romance with with world of commercial food, business rivalry, and treason. Happily, The Spice King lived up to my hopeful expectations.

The Spice King, Gray Delacroix, is a wealthy recluse who refuses to let the government anywhere near his business. That includes sharing his plants with anyone from the Smithsonian, no matter how many times they ask. 20190918_093342.jpg

Annabelle Larkin is an intern at the Smithsonian. Fresh from her family’s Kansas farm, this job is a chance to financially save her family. That is, if she can make it a permanent position. In order to do that, she must get Gray Delacroix to give her access to his most prized possessions.

As with any good story, the Delacroix plants are only the beginning. Family, politics, and impossible demands send Gray and Annabelle on a journey laden with both love and pain. The question is how they’ll come out the other side.

I loved reading The Spice King. Elizabeth Camden has a masterful way of turning an ornery recluse into a man readers want to see succeed. He is one of the deepest characters I have met through the pages of a book. Annabelle was a perfect counterpoint with her sunny hopefulness.

Historical fiction is often not as quickly paced as a modern day romantic suspense novel, but don’t mistake a slower pace for not being a page turner. I struggled to put this book down because I was so invested in the characters. By the end, I couldn’t wait for book two, which doesn’t release until 2020.

The Spice King epitomizes what I love about historical fiction. If it’s a genre you love, definitely give this book a read. It was excellent.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in order to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”