Thursday, July 16, 2020

A Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden

A Gilded Lady

This is book two in the Hope of Glory series, following The Spice King.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the first lady of the United States. But beneath the faรงade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.

Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately suspicious of Caroline despite his overwhelming attraction to her quick wit and undeniable charm. Desperate to keep the president protected, Nathaniel must battle to keep his focus fully on his job as the threat to the president rises.

Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel will face adventure, danger, and heartbreak in a race against time that will span the continent and the depth of human emotion.

And now, my review:

I’ll begin with a list of what I enjoyed: cleverly written, well researched, fun, at times humorous, insightful, engaging plot throughout the novel. Loved the historic aspect. Original occupation for a heroine—the first lady’s secretary. Enjoyed the romance and the time setting—the Gilded Age.

The novel included a delightful, built-in conflict, pitting the hero and heroine against each other as they aimed for goals at cross purposes. We wonder if they'll be able to work together.

A favorite quote: “I read Ecclesiastes, it brought comfort. We can’t control the seasons in our lives, only how we respond to them. God planted eternity in our hearts, a longing to find meaning in the world.” (page 204). So true and relatable.

Loved how strong the heroine was and how she encouraged those around her. I agree with the novel’s summary: she has a dazzling personality, fitting of her designation as a gilded lady in the Gilded Age. At one point, she encouraged her boss, the first lady, with words readers could take to heart: “You are a woman of strength and valor, like Deborah from the Bible, defending her people. Today you will be just as strong…” (page 240)

Our heroine is pulled in several directions. She longs to help her brother Luke, but though she has influence with the president of the United States, she struggles to accomplish her goals. She came alive on the page—a very well-developed character. Her work was fascinating as she lived in the White House during McKinley’s presidency.

Our hero is stuffy and stuck, but he doesn’t see it. He hides behind his sober demeanor. He’ll need help overcoming his weaknesses and fears. He’s exceptionally competent in his work—a well-drawn character, right down to the details. He’s also a great judge of character, which was one of his best strengths. He’s loyal and fully commits to his work.

Their romance was enjoyable to witness. They made a great team professionally as well.

I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read Luke’s story in The Prince of Spies, due out in February of 2021. I highly recommend this series.

Suggestion: read the books in order. You won’t be too lost if you read them as stand-alones, but I suggest they be read in order.