Cover Image: A Desperate Hope

A Desperate Hope

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Member Reviews

This book had solid characters, great mystery, and enough twists and turns to keep me engaged throughout the story. 

However, my main problem with this book was its treatment of sin. The main characters committed fornication when they were young, and as an adult, the heroine is ashamed that the whole town knows of their sin. However, the “hero” (as likable as he was) proceeds to justify their sin and treat it as trivial, becaus “no one is perfect” and they loved each other way back when. As a Christian, this simply feels like a slap in the face. Jesus came to save us from our sins. To lead us to repentance and change. But if we don’t acknowledge sin as sin and repent of it, we will never truly receive the gift of salvation He so freely offers.

The book as a whole was a fairly enjoyable read, but the whole book was soured for me by its out-of-hand dismissal of sin.

Note: I received a copy of this book for FREE, and a positive review was not required.
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2.5 stars, rounded up

By far the neatest part of this book was the story about the incredible effort to move an entire township uphill to get it above the waterline for the new dam. Every facet of this move caught my attention and enjoyment.

Biggest flaw: the unrealistic feature of having not one but two women in the story give their favors before marriage, plus another one be referred to as having a child outside wedlock. Not only did no one notice, but a woman who held a position of trust in the community was admittedly with a man at night and there was literally zero blowback and she didn’t lose that position. Totally unheard of for 1908 considering the position...and the circumstance of her suddenly desiring to have an affair with this guy was totally left field and didn’t move the story along at all.

It’s marketed as Christian fiction but there isn’t really any sort of faith, and the heroine even prays to Mary for help during a stressful situation.

Thanks to the publisher for a free reading copy. A favorable review was not required.
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I appreciate Elizabeth Camden's creativity. She is a talented writer, although this was not one of my favorites that she has written I enjoyed it. It was a bit difficult to understand the plot. I did like her development of characters. I will look for her next book in the series that included the Spice King and the Gilded Lady- those were both excellent.
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I love a lot of romance tropes and childhood friends to enemies to romantic interests checks a few of my happy boxes. Once again, Elizabeth Camden delivers in this fascinating historical fiction novel that invites the reader into learning more about the cities that had to be moved to provide water for New York City. I had no idea this happened and was delighted to learn about that piece of history alongside a fun romance.
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This is the third and final installment of Camden’s Empire State series. Let me first say this, even though it is sad to see this series end, I am glad it ended with such a great story. Camden’s writing style bring to life the settings, characters, and the plot. I have read many of Camden’s books and like that she always adds a bit of history in her stories.

The main characters, Alex and Eloise, are star-crossed lovers who dreams were both dashed by Eloise’s overbearing guardian. Determined to keep the two apart, Eloise is sent away by her guardian. Many years later, Eloise meets Alex again but their re-acquaintance does not go well since she is on a team sent to demolition the city he loves. Alex is surprised to see Eloise but this time she is not a naive girl but an independent woman wanting to leave her mark on the world.

To conclude this review, Elizabeth Camden created yet another beautiful piece of fiction. Fans of Camden’s book will not be disappointed in this one.
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Luminous and intelligent and featuring Camden's penchant for deep research and atypical heroines, A Desperate Hope is a worthy addition to her canon. 

While it can be read as a companion piece to A Daring Venture and A Dangerous Legacy ( you revisit the same world so  brilliantly explored in the first instalment of the Empire State series), the plot is standalone. And yet I would read all to get a sure sense of the characters and their crusade for a drinkable and clean water system.

Sometimes I just sit back and wonder how Camden does it so seamlessly well: how she weaves together two amazing humans destined to cross paths and yet flourishes and embroiders their world with just magnificent tenets of little known American history. Mostly, I am dazzled by how she validates intelligent women well beyond their time and how the heroes in her tales are equals and forced to step out of their comfort zones to admit that they have met their matches in a formidable woman! 

A pleasure to read. 

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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is the third An Empire State Novel.  It can be read as a standalone.  However, they are three delightful historical novels that tie together beautifully.  Elizabeth Camden provides an engaging story with developed characters and a multifaceted story.  Eloise is a mathematical genius who dresses in an understated manner to evoke a prim and proper appearance.  Eloise is prickly but who can blame her after what happened when she was caught with Alex Duval.  She likes to be needed and to help others.  Returning to Duval Springs is the last thing Eloise wishes to do, but that is where her boss is sending her.  Alex Duval fell in love with Eloise when she was a teen, but then her guardian yanked them apart.  He has not forgotten her, and Alex still loves her.  He has been fighting the state of New York to save the town.  Duval Spring resides in a valley that is perfect for the state’s new reservoir which will provide water to New York City.  Alex lost the lawsuit, but he is not done trying to find a way to save his town.  Alex is a strong character with a good heart.  You can tell how much he cares for the town and its residents.  There are other subplots going on in the story.  Elizabeth Camden beautifully weaves it all together into one compelling story.  I like that Nick and Rosalind from A Daring Venture appear in the story.  The point-of-view alternates between Alex and Eloise so we get to see both sides.  I like that because men and women see things in different ways.  I appreciated the epilogue that nicely wrapped up A Desperate Hope.  I liked the messages in the story especially that a child can grow up to be whatever they want.  Christian values are beautifully woven into the story.  I can tell that the author did her research.  There are discussion questions at the end which is helpful for book groups.  I enjoyed all three novels in An Empire State Novel series, and I look forward to reading Elizabeth Camden’s next book.  A Desperate Hope fascinating story that will hold your attention until you finish the very last word.
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Of the three books, I wasn't in love with this one. The first stole my heart, and the second was decent, but this third one just ... eh. Just eh. Not so much my thing. I don't think it was a bad book, exactly, but it took me forever to get through it - and I'm usually a pretty fast reader. (Occasionally I have a slumpy book, and this was one of them.)

Eloise just ... never kept my attention? I love her name, but she annoyed me a bit. Perhaps I just don't relate with being stuck in the past and actually being bugged by someone from the past since that's not a part of my life.
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I found A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden to be a great read.  The book flowed really well with great realistic character development.  The storytelling was not your typical one and I really liked her thinking outside the box.  There are hard jobs but someone has to do them.  There are hardened hearts in need of softening and forgiveness.  Relationships that were torn apart and the sweetness of being restored. There was facing the bullying head on.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

***Also posted on Amazon, CBD, B&N
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A Desperate Hope is an excellent historical romance, and the writer did her research well. Sometimes making the right decision is very hard. The inhabitants of the small valley town of Duvall Springs had a choice to make. This huge change can either embitter or make them stronger. Most of the residents chose the latter.  Eloise Drake and Alex Duvall, an old flame are brought together again by this difficult choice. Great story of overcoming insurmountable odds......I received a copy of A Desperate Hope by the publisher via NetGalley and I am pleased to leave a review.
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I really enjoyed the plot of A Desperate Hope. I love the way Ms. Camden creates strong women characters in careers that were unusual for their time period. Louise Drake is one of 6 female CPAs in New York. She epitomizes the tough, cold controlled female until her past and present collide. Alex Duvall a man from her past is now in her present and I love the way he still turns her head. A Desperate Hope is a wonderful story with many layers. I love the way Ms. Camden wove the character's faith into the story. So grab a thermos of coffee and settle in for a fantastic read!

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations. All thoughts are my own.
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fantastic book.  Review posted on Amazon months ago but didn't think to update Net Galley as I only use this specific log in for Camden books.  My normal login is vljones02
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Can their differences bring them back together...?

It's been awhile since I've read one of Elizabeth Camden's books. Too long, as A Desperate Hope is the third book in her Empire State series, which, is actually her first ever series. 

Maybe it was kind of dumb to start with the third book in a series but that's just how it turned out. Each book appears to be connected but can be read standalone.

While I found myself time and again annoyed by Alex, the hero, I did find myself genuinely liking the heroine, Eloise. The real draw for me was the storyline. I have personal connection as I, too, live near an area where several towns were inundated by water when the dam was built. And I even know people who lost land and homes when the decision was made to flood the landscape.

While probably not my favorite Elizabeth Camden novel I did find A Desperate Hope to be quite interesting. And the suspense angle was a good addition.

(I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
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Ah, this was a fun light read based loosely on a real historical happening. Alex is the mayor of the town being destroyed and Eloise was one of the people sent to help with the demolition. Everyone can see the ending now, right? But there's even more history here, involving a mean uncle/father and young teenage love, etc. 

What I liked about the book was the courage and resilience of the people from this small town that was being destroyed. It took a lot of guts to be willing to put what little payout they were getting for their homes into the hands of the mayor and trust him with his risky scheme. Now I don't want to say much more here because I don't want to give away any spoilers as to what that scheme was. 

Another thing I really liked was the cooperation these townspeople had.  They all worked together for the good of the whole. I can learn so much from that in being willing to help my neighbor out. 

And then there was a bit of mystery involved as well which was actually quite fascinating because you didn't really see it coming.

I received this book from Bethany House through NetGalley and was not required to write a positive review.
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Camden excels at taking little-known bits of history and bringing them vividly to life, particularly those actions that dramatically changed the lives of those immediately affected and the world as we know it. In her Empire State novels, she has done exactly this, and the third novel again keeps readers riveted, this time to the early stages of New York’s aqueducts - and the towns in its path. The people of Duval Springs tug at the heartstrings as they valiantly do whatever it takes to save their beloved community in the face of imminent domain. Alex and Eloise’s relationship - from childhood friendship to first romance to distant strangers - leaves readers with plenty of swoony moments as they slowly find a new footing, and the growth in each of their characters warms the heart. A dash of suspense adds a different kind of tension, rounding out the novel with something for everyone.
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If there  is one thing that I can say about Elizabeth Camden, and that is that she is a great writer. I have yet come upon a book that I didn't enjoy, and hope not to anytime soon.

This story had me feeling that I was in the middle of a Catherine Marshall book, Julie to be precise. It may be because of the story atmosphere and how the town works together to try and help their town to survive. That said, to be compared with the book Julie is good, it's one of my favorite books along with Christy.

The story is about a Eloise Drake who returns to her home town to work about making financial decisions on how much each house gets in return, for the state to be flooding their town. On the flip side, we have Alex Duvall who is equally determined to save his town. What no one knows, is the turbulent history between the two of them.

Again, a well written and read story about a town struggling to survive in the midst of the upcoming flooding of their valley. The atmosphere is dark and filled with survival, yet an excellent read. Just stick with it.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy.
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Elizabeth Camden is one of those authors that I always intend to read someday, but end up not reading, and then love when I finally read, and I finally got around to reading A Dangerous Hope!

Eloise and Alex have spent the last 12 years of their life apart, after falling in love when they were teenagers. When they were found out, they were separated, and now their paths have crossed again. Alex is the mayor of a small town, she is an accountant in New York City, and she's assigned to burn down his town. They still remember each other with fond memories, but are not sure if they can make their relationship work.

At the same time, the small town they need to get rid of needs saving, and Eloise and Alex work together to save it, and . . . Things Happen™. They have to work through a suspenseful situation and battle through lots of adversary to figure out what to do with the town, and with each other.

The best part about the Empire State series, in my opinion, was the strong STEM women that are smart and brilliant, but still are soft and sweet and AAAAA. Like A Dangerous Legacy (book 1 of the series), the romance was exactly light enough: it wasn't very lovey dovey, while still showing their chemistry. 

My Rating-

Things Liked-
    Eloise!!! she is a strong badass young woman who's smart, and works, and worked through her past!
    The suspense! I definitely was not expecting the suspense/mystery aspect of the historical book!
    I loveDD the chemistry between Eloise and Alex! They were so cute together

Things Disliked-
    There were . . . some mentions of what happened in the summers when Eloise and Alex were teenagers that . . . really didn't need mentioning? also there were just some sin that was just never addressed . . . ?? so ur
    also the book seemed so long omg it just went on and on??? it worked, and I enjoyed the book and it was still long?
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I did not get a chance to read it. I will be buying the book because I am sure it is amazing.  I have read many of her her books and I have always been thrilled with them.
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Where can I begin?

I loved this conclusion to this series, but I would say that they could be read as stand alone books. You understand some more of the main character’s story when you have read the previous two books, but you don’t have to have read them.

First of all, the history. She knocks it out of the park with the history of an event that we don’t know that much about. Water is the theme in all three books, and it continues here. The characters are flawed. In fact, there is not much to like about either of them in the beginning, but as you read, they grow on you.

Pain. Rejection. Love. Anger. Mystery. This book has all the elements intertwined and giving us a picture of what it would have been like for a woman in a position of power, but also for a man in power, but having to work with someone he cared for that no longer cares for him.

Romance? Yes, there is romance. But the focus of the book is the story with the romantic threads. I found that I wanted to follow the story, regardless of the romance.

I would recommend this series for older teens and adults that love unique historical books and want to have their fancy tickled to search for more details.

I obtained this book from the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own.
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I've been a fan of most of Ms Camden's previous books, however I couldn't get behind this one. I'll address my biggest huh??? right off the bat. I don't understand the flippant attitude shown towards sex outside of marriage in this christian fiction. Granted, it was only alluded to, and there's nothing steamy or titillating here at all. The instances are either in the past, or in one case and someone comes home when they've been out at night. Instead of realizing they need forgiveness and making things right with God and the other party, only Eloise seems to feel some shame and embarrassment. Odd on two counts: this is usually dealt with differently and not condoned in faith based fiction, and that second instance where everyone one knows the older, respected villager came home after an overnight with a man - that just wouldn't have happened!!

Beyond that, I didn't particularly like Eloise or Alex and they would not have been a good fit. Complete and opposing opposites like that are only good in fiction. I'm sorry to have such a downer review when I usually do enjoy her books, but oh man this one was off the rails. Stranger and stranger as it went.

This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
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