A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden – Book Review, Preview

Posted February 22, 2019 by Phyllis Helton in Blog Tours, Book Reviews, Giveaways /

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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden – Book Review, Preview

A Desperate Hope

by Elizabeth Camden

Series: Empire State #3
Series Rating:
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date February 5, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: New York Progressive Era – US – 1890s – 1920s
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Pages: 354


Eloise Drake's prim demeanor hides the turbulent past she's finally put behind her--or so she thinks. A mathematical genius, she's now a successful accountant for the largest engineering project in 1908 New York. But to her dismay, her new position puts her back in the path of the man responsible for her deepest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town about to be wiped off the map. The state plans to flood the entire valley where his town sits in order to build a new reservoir, and Alex is stunned to discover the woman he once loved on the team charged with the demolition. With his world crumbling around him, Alex devises a risky plan to save his town--but he needs Eloise's help to succeed.

Alex is determined to win back the woman he thought he'd lost forever, but even their combined ingenuity may not be enough to overcome the odds against them before it's too late.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.

Also in this series: A Daring Venture

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Turning the tide of destruction on their town

Alex Duval is one of the most endearing and dynamic of heroes! Flawed, sure. No question about that. Yet his almost larger-than-life personality with his propensity to be dramatic, to dream big, to hope big, to love big, and to feel big touched my heart in a big way. He knew how to live life! He and his brother, Hercules, were both prone to weeping at touching moments due to their vast reservoir of emotions. His passion for his town and the people in it overflowed into everything he did.

Alex is the mayor who caused Nick so many problems in A Daring Venture as Nick tried to work with him to shut down the town to create a reservoir from the valley in which Duval Springs was nestled. Alex took exception to this and fought him tooth and nail to save the place that was so near and dear to his heart.

Eloise is quite interesting. She was also introduced in A Daring Venture. Her childhood story and feelings of not being valued touched my heart. Her love for rules and order arose from the events that drove both her and Alex from Duval Springs twelve years earlier. And her sense of adventure is now restricted to the calculating of figures in her head. She is strong, yet tender inside and a bit fearful of being outside of her element.

One of the things I particularly loved about Eloise was the way she hoped the best about her guardian. Despite the way he ignored her and the way the townspeople and those who worked for him viewed him, she was convinced he had something worthwhile deep within and was willing to stand up for him against the entire town.

This deeply emotional story tells of the desperate battle Alex wages to save his town. The risky plan he develops is rather amazing, even more so when you realize that it is based on actual historical events. Just don’t try to cheat and try to find what that plan was by looking up Duval Springs – the town doesn’t exist and never did so you’ll be wasting your time.

I fell in love with this town that was able to trace its history back to a visit by George Washington. (They even had a chair at the tavern reputed to have been used by him once.) And the tradition at the tavern for the young men heading off to war – wow!

As with the other books by this author, there is mystery and danger that kept my interest throughout. The deep love that Alex still had for Eloise after all these years despite what had happened to him was nothing short of spectacular, even if he did make some spectacularly stupid choices.

I highly recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction.

Other Books in the Empire State Series

My review for A Daring Venture

Tour Schedule


One Grand Prize winner will receive print copies of all three books in the Empire State series:

  • A Dangerous Legacy
  • A Daring Venture
  • A Desperate

Two additional winners will receive

  • a print copy of A Desperate Hope

US only

Ends March 1, 2019

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About Elizabeth Camden

I am fortunate to have two careers I deeply love. I am a college librarian by day, and write novels on the weekends.

I become a librarian because I can think of no other career in which you get such a wide exposure to all aspects of recorded knowledge. I have been an academic librarian for fifteen years, where on any given day I get to research the sonnets of Shakespeare, learn what makes pelican feathers pink, or compile demographic statistics for starting a new company.

How does one become a college librarian? In my case, I got an undergraduate degree in History from Trinity University in San Antonio, then went on to earn a master’s degree in History from the University of Virginia, and finally a Master’s in Library Science from Indiana University.

But fiction has always been a wonderful escape for me, and I’ve wanted to be a novelist since the third grade when I was devastated by the bittersweet ending of Charlotte’s Web. I remember vowing to re-write the book with a better ending someday. Although I failed to appreciate how copyright law would thwart my ambition to write better endings for other people’s books, perhaps my early experience with sad novels is why I became a romance novelist.

I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing fiction is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others. For those aspiring writers who are interested in my road to publication, you can find it here.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Then when I was in my mid-thirties and just a few weeks after buying my first house, I met the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. My years as a single woman taught me many things. I learned to be independent and resilient. I learned how to manage my investments, earn and save enough money to have investments, mow my own lawn, fix the rickety appliances in my sixty-year old house, and spend the holidays on my own when travel to family was not possible. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I really am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.

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