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A Desperate Hope

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There’s a bit about some dark mystery from the past that is carrying over to now and how Eloise’s father riles the town. Someone is out to sabotage the state’s plans but who can it be and is it related to the reservoir? Honestly most of that gets slapped on at the end. The meat and potatoes of the book is Eloise and Alex discovering how they fit together and how each inspires or grounds the other. I got slightly annoyed at Alex at one point when Eloise finally asks for help and he puts her off. Then he comes through when faced with the woman he now knows he loves potentially being courted by another. Yippee that Eloise is the one to save herself when called on.

Personally I found the details of how Alex and his fellow townspeople save their town fascinating. There’s a lot of engineering plus Eloise’s mad math skills at work to help finance things. But the town agonizing over their Tavern was enough to make my eyes glaze. That’s most of the “action” in the story until the very end. Once Eloise and Alex began to work together for a future, I think their HEA seemed believable – though I hope Eloise gets chances to keep doing her number magic and keeps Alex from wild flights of fancy in naming their children. B-
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Book three of the Empire State series is another compelling historical tale of a strong heroine in a non-traditional, for that era, profession.  It was wonderful to meet up with familiar characters, but the novel can enjoyably be read as a stand-alone.  Elizabeth Camden chose an interesting subject for this novel, as it is as relevant today as in the early 1900's. Municipalities, particularly in certain areas of the country, still have challenges providing a clean water supply for growing populations, and that sometimes leads down the same path of removing obstacles to build a reservoir.   Without going into tedious detail, the author outlines the main steps involved in such an undertaking, which was fascinating.  Eloise Drake, a CPA who was a former nearby resident, was tagged with helping the team assess valuations in order to facilitate clearing the town in preparation for the reservoir construction.   This brought her into conflict with the town mayor, Alex Duval, with whom she had a history dating back to their youth.  The writing was picturesque and the story well-paced as we experience the gamut of emotions - despair, compassion, loneliness, friendship, fear, and love.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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This goes in the Love It! category.
In 1896 it was decided that New York City needed a bigger water supply,  so a reservoir was planned. Where they put it displaced 7 towns. They had to move - their towns were destroyed, leveled, with either a buy-out or eminent domain. This us a fictional compilation of what one of those towns might have gone through. A very close-knit town, one where everybody knew everybody else's business. And they never forgot. But they took care of one another too.

Eloise is from a wealthy family whose home overlooks this small town. She is from a very dysfunctional family and longs for a normal life like those who live in town. She gets to know Alex, a little too well for her guardian, and because of this they're both forced to leave the area and each other. Alex comes back first and eventually becomes Mayor. He's a bit of a dreamer. Eloise becomes an Accountant/CPA for the State and has to be involved with the takeover of the town as the reservoir is being planned. She's even more straight laced than ever, so the attraction that is still there with Alex is contrasted with their different personalities and being on opposite sides where the reservoir is concerned. It's all pretty much a hot mess for all the people involved, but there are lessons of faith and of getting along throughout. You'll be fully drawn into the characters' hearts, minds and struggles. I loved this book and highly recommend it. It's a really deep story with interesting twists and turns, some you'd never begin to guess. Be prepared, especially towards the end, to not be able to put it down. Plan for the time!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher 

and Netgalley book review bloggers program. 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.”
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A Desperate Hope is the third in the Empire State series, written by Elizabeth Camden. Following the history of the need for water in New York City, many small towns in upper New York were flooded and made into a reservoir. This story centers around Eloise Drake, a brilliant accountant and Alex Duval, the mayor of the fictional town Duval Springs. 

After Duval Springs loses a long legal battle to save the town, Eloise is sent as part of the team that will oversee the demolition. Alex and Eloise have a history, which Eloise would rather forget. Yet when Eloise returns to Duval Springs, Alex only wants to reconnect with her to rekindle the love they once had for each other. And is bent on doing something to save his town.

As Elizabeth Camden is so excellent in her research, this story reflects many of the things that happened in the early part of the 1900's, when New York City was being developed. In the previous two novels, there was a great deal of historical foundation laid for the ability to bring water to the city. Ms Camden has a wonderful and clever way of weaving history into her novels. Yet this book is a stand alone story.

 I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are my honest opinion.
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I have the first two books of this series waiting on my TBR shelf because I purchased them but have not had the chance to work them into openings of my review calendar. However badly I want to read them, I must try to meet my commitments first. I was tickled to be given a spot on the influencer team for A Desperate Hope so I actually had to read it! Of course now I find myself wanting to drop everything and read the other two right now.

Eloise Drake and Alex Duval once had a strong connection until their relationship was discovered and the pair was separated and sent away. Years later they find themselves on opposite sides when Eloise is sent to Duval Springs to evaluate the value of the property that will be destroyed when the valley is flooded to build a reservoir to supply New York City with water. Despite the conflict in their jobs, Eloise and Alex find themselves working together to find a solution for the townspeople before it is too late. A risky scheme seems outrageous to many but Alex believes that crazy as it seems, it might just work. But winning Eloise’s love again might be nearly impossible.

I enjoyed A Desperate Hope very much, especially the history behind the story. Having actually had experience with eminent domain to a lesser degree, it was nevertheless easy to identify with the townspeople. When the state decides it wants your property, there is very little a citizen can do to stop them from taking it. The story itself was intriguing with secrets revealed and a bit of action and danger along the way. An excellent book that kept me involved until the very end, A Desperate Hope lived up to my expectations. I am looking forward to whatever Elizabeth Camden has in store for her readers next.
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What a great ending to a great series!  Elizabeth Camden always does such a wonderful job of crafting characters with complex personalities and great depth, and this novel is no exception.  I liked the interactions between Alex and Eloise and that their friendship and relationship was not entirely predictable.  It was fascinating to read about the building of a reservoir at the turn of the twentieth century and I felt myself drawn into the well-researched history and the emotions of the fictional characters.  The storyline flowed well and it was easy to enjoy this fabulous novel!  Although it is not necessary to read this series in order, it is fun to read about previous characters in this book.  I highly recommend this novel!

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers/Elizabeth Camden in exchange for an honest review.
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Elizabeth Camden has written a trilogy somewhat about eminent domain.  The State of New York Water Board has determined that a reservoir be built where the town of Duvall Springs stands.  The purpose of the reservoir is to provide water to the city of New York. The citizens in the town of Duvall Springs have exhausted every avenue to stop the building of the reservoir, and so Eloise Drake has been dispatched to Duvall Springs to assess what the state will pay for each building and land to compensate the owners for displacing them. 

Alex Duvall, the mayor of Duvall Springs, was once in love with Eloise and sees her coming as a way of reconnecting with her.  The only fly in the ointment is her guardian, Bruce Garrett, who once had him beat up for dallying with Eloise when they were in high school.

Alex's other passion is the citizens of his town and how to take care of them.  He comes on a rather dubious solution that will be chancy but if it works, will be genius.  He proposes to move the buildings of the town to a new location on a high point above the town.

Elizabeth writes great novels with characters of depth and complexity, but this time she missed the mark with one character, Alex.  He is shallow and somewhat two-dimensional.  Eloise has a bit more depth, but she too is rather flat in her portrayal.  While the book is still a great read, it is only a four-star book. I will say it's not often that one finds the male protagonist is a flibberty-gibbet, but Alex fits that bill entirely. 

I want to thank Bethany House for providing the galley I read through NetGalley.com.
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Accurate, detailed historical tales can be hard to come by which is why I treasure the work of Elizabeth Camden. Her newest novel, A Desperate Hope, is the third in her Empire State saga, a series that revolves around the history of clean water in New York. This story works fine as a stand-alone novel, although you get a much more thorough picture of the history if you read all the books.

The city of New York is growing and requires more clean drinking water. Various solutions have been looked at but the state determines that the best choice is to build a reservoir in the valley where the town of Duval Springs currently stands. The citizens of that community are deeply displeased with this decision but having exhausted all legal options they have no choice but to relocate. Alex Duval, their current mayor, is determined to do all he can to make the move as easy as possible for everyone.

Eloise Drake loves her job as an accountant for the New York State Water Board. She finds numbers soothing and delights in knowing that her abilities are contributing to the important work of providing clean water for America’s largest city. However, when her boss asks her to go to Duval Springs to calculate the value of the homes and businesses being demolished to make way for the reservoir, she is less than pleased. She grew up in the area and as a naïve teen had had a passionate affair with Alex. When her wealthy, powerful guardian learned of their liaison, he had Alex beaten and sent Eloise to a convent in Arizona. It was a harsh lesson and one she has never forgotten.  She is prim and proper now, as well as sedate, cautious and rule-abiding. She is reluctant to return to the scene of past sins – and possible current temptation – and goes only under duress.

While Eloise is aware that she will see Alex – since her project specifications include the fact that he is mayor – seeing her comes as a complete surprise to him. He had tried to contact her after her guardian’s thugs had essentially driven him out of town but had never been able to find out where she was. Their relationship had never been a fling to him and this reunion immediately stirs up all the old feelings. The fact that they are on opposite sides of the issue regarding the community’s destruction is not a deterrent to Alex. He’s a dreamer, a mover, shaker and risk taker who goes full steam ahead towards what he wants and only counts the cost later. Right now he wants Eloise back and he is determined to convince her that theirs is a love for the ages.

This difference in approach – Eloise’s cautious, planned and detailed method of living and Alex’s rambunctious grab life by the horns attitude – initially serves as a barrier between them. That doesn’t last long, though, since Alex’s enthusiasm and joie de vivre quickly have Eloise aiding him in his latest scheme to help the townspeople. But while Alex and Eloise are able to set the past behind them and embrace the vision of a better, brighter future, not everyone agrees. It isn’t long before they find themselves battling outside forces not just to save the place they love or their relationship,  but their very lives.

During the first half of the story, Ms Camden does a nice job of convincing the reader that these two disparate characters bring out the best in each other and belong together.  I was especially grateful that Alex and Eloise didn’t blame each other for their messy past. They each accepted that it took both of them to get into the trouble they found themselves in and forgave both themselves and each other for the mistakes made. But while their past relationship is well handled, the future of it felt less sure to me. Something happened during the resolution of the mystery portion of the book that caused me to wonder if things would really be better for them going forward. While Eloise has worked hard to help Alex salvage what he can of his community, when she asks him for help to prove someone close to her innocent, he rejects her.  Since this happens in the last quarter of the book, I can’t get into details over what occurred or how it’s resolved, but I will say that Alex’s behavior was unkind and petty. It tarnished the HEA, since Eloise had spent the whole book assisting him and he fails to do anything meaningful in return. He’s quick with empty romantic gestures – flowery speeches and declarations of undying love – but the equal measure of give and take I like in my love stories just wasn’t there. That didn’t ruin the book for me but it did take some of the shine off my overall enjoyment of it.

Fortunately, the overall appeal of the novel is helped by the amazing historicity, which is interesting, detailed and woven into the story in a skilled, engaging manner. I learned a lot about clean water and the difficult decisions faced by government officials and townspeople when one community must be asked to make sacrifices for the sake of another. Both sides of the issue are shown and we see that everyone has valid, reasonable points.

Ms. Camden typically sticks to light references of God and benign theology in her novels, and that happens here. Something slightly different from other novels of this genre is that the tone toward sin is far from the usual hard-line stance of Inspirationals, which insist on complete purity or a strong amount of shaming for those that don’t toe the line. In A Desperate Hope it is treated as a reality that humans are far from morally pure and the concept of repentance over repudiation is stressed.

A Desperate Hope is a nice reunion story with well-drawn protagonists. It’s also a great reminder that much of what we take for granted now – clean water, the right to hold a job of our choice – is due to the brave women who came before us and fought hard for those rights. I would recommend this tale to anyone who loves historicals that interweave their romances with real history.
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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden 5/5 ⭐️

Thank you to Bethany House for the free review copy. All opinions are my own.

I was so excited to get my hands on another book in this series by Elizabeth Camden. I loved the first two, so I couldn’t wait to see where she went with this one. I think this may be my favorite out of the three.

I really like how Camden wrote Eloise to be a character with a not so great past. I think that this made her relatable and likable. Even if the reader had not done the same thing as Eloise, it is easy to connect to the feelings of guilt of doing something that should not have been done. This also set up perfectly to highlight the love of Christ.

The setting of Duval Springs also drew me right into the book. I was so shocked by the plot. I did not know about this part of New York’s history, so I also found this setting and predicament to be quite interesting. I loved how Alex’s character was strong headed. He wanted to do what was right for his community. He had a fighting spirit, and I am glad that he never gave up, even if that meant he may fail. His character also showed what it was like to fully trust in God with the future.  I loved his passion.
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Very interesting plot and characters. I recommend this book for fans of clean, historical romances. It was a bit predictable and slow at times, but still an enjoyable experience
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A  Desperate Hope  is  an historical fiction book.  It is the   3rd book in the Empire State  series but  can be read as a stand alone book.  The  two  main characters  are Eloise and Alex Duvall..    They   grew up in   the  town of  Duvall Springs and were friends  but   were  separated at 16  by a parent.   At  that  age  they    liked each other.   Years later   Eloise is working   for a very large accounting firm  in New  York City.  She  is  very  successful.  She is  working on  the largest engineering project in 1908   in New York.  New York City needs an irrigation  system to help  provide clean water  and  Duvall  Springs   in the area  where the   irrigation system is planning.   Eloise is  given the job  to   access the  value of the homes and   get the demotion  done  of the  city.  She is working for the government to plan  the  project.  The town is  run by  Alex  Duvall  as the mayor.  She  has mixed emotions  about  dealing with   all of the facets of the  project.   She  remembers  the   past emotions with Alex  but must  get her business at hand done.   It is challenging to   deal with  determining the  values of the homes and  dealing with the residents who  will have to be moved to higher ground.   Alex  wants to  save his town and  also get Eloise  back for himself. He  has  been looking for Eloise for years. Her   Guardian Bruce  Garrett  does not like  Alex, Bruce  is  very   wealthy.    Alex lives in the town tavern with his   brother and his family.   Duvall Springs has a personal feeling  .The  people in the town know each other  well.    The  book  takes lots of  twists and turns and  leads the  reader to wonder what will happen next  with Eloise and Alex,  and  Duvall Springs.    Will  Eloise and Alex and   end up together.?    Will the  town be moved?   The  story  has good  historical back round and  also the romantic  twists.  The  cover is beautiful.  The  author  invited  me  to be part of  her  street team  which is supposed to prepare for the book launch  by reading and reviewing the book.  The book  was  given to me by  netgalley and  Bethany  House  graciously to read and   review. The  opinions of the book are   mine. Thank you so much   to  Bethany House  and Elizabeth Camden for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book. I   hope the book is  really successful and  I am  excited for the launch day today!
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There’s something to love about an opposites-attract story! Eloise and Alex are complete opposites, both in personality and where they stand in the demolition of the city of Duval Springs. This is a beautiful story about a couple that has a past, gets reunited as adults, and must work through seemingly insurmountable odds to get to when they want to be. The author created characters that are flawed but lovable and the setting is wonderful. Duval Springs is like a secondary character that you come to care about!

This is the third book in the series, but having read them all, I feel that it can be read as a stand-alone. I’ll warn you though, if this is your first Elizabeth Camden book, you’ll want to read them all when you finish.

* I received a copy of this book from the publisher, but this review is my own honest opinion.
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I found this book interesting in that it is filled with historical information, and is based on fact. The story line is good and it kept my attention, but my main problem is that there is a story line of sin, but not a true Christian read.
We have a strong woman here and her whole life she had a desire to be accepted, in her field as a CPA and by the man who fathered her.
Also offered is a man who has pulled himself up by becoming mayor of Devaul Springs, and now trying to fight the Government and save his town.
This is the third book in this series, and we are briefly reunited past characters, but this can be read alone.
This is a read that will keep you page turning and full of surprises right to the end.

I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.
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A Desperate Hope  sees Eloise Drake ( one of six female CPAs in New York State) reluctantly  sent back to her hometown, Duval Springs to demolish it to enable NEw York's Water board to build a reservoir  to provide NY with fresh water. Alex Duval, the mayor of Duval Springs has done everything in his power to prevent this imminent destruction but now he has to ensure the townspeople smooth transition. During this transition, Eloise and Alex path with collide and reopen old wounds as they seek to ensure that their positions armor compromised.

 
Despite being the third book in Empire State Series, A Desperate Hope can be read as a standalone. The romance is sweet and not cheesy.  I am always glad to learn about historical New York and how it came to be. Judging by Ms Camden's backlist, she seems to write about women who defied the societal norms and took up jobs that were not traditional meant for women. So, I would be eager to read more from her. 
This is my first Elizabeth Camden book and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her
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This is a well-researched and somewhat unusual Christian historical fiction novel.  What happens to a town when it’s slated to be flooded in order to provide a water supply for New York City?  Based on research done into the small towns that were taken over by the state of New York and flooded to build the Ashokkan Reservoir, the destruction of the fictional town of Duval Springs and its rebirth as the town of Highpoint,  was a compelling one that had me cheering for the town residents as they struggled to find a way to remain a virbrant community in a new location.  But this is also a story that has elements of mystery and suspense.  Someone is trying to stop the town’s move by acts of sabotage and no one has any idea as to why this is happening.  The tension increases as time is running out, and it may cost Alex both his town and the love of his life, Eloise.  Eloise seems the most unlikely person to find herself in danger:  A CPA who’s main interest is in numbers and organization.  There’s not only a last minute rush to preserve as much of the Duval Springs as they can, there’s also a race to save Eloise’s life.  

Alex and Eloise are great as the main characters in this book.  They had a failed teenaged romance and now find themselves reluctantly working together to preserve this community.  Eloise’s loyalties are divided, as she’s the one the state has sent to set the value of the properties that are condemned.  Eloise is a force to be reckoned with as she is determined to both do her job for the state, and to ignore her feelings for Alex.  All of these story elements come together to make an entertaining and intriguing book.  Although this book is part of a series, it was easy to read this one as a stand-alone story, too.  I’ve enjoyed this series as the author has given us three heroines in unusual roles for this time period.  

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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Finally! A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is the third book in the Empire State series. I have been waiting to read this book for some time because Eloise is such a mysterious character in the previous book and I am happy to hear her story.

Eloise is an incredibly intelligent young woman with a knack for numbers. She has a job as an accountant working for a company that will engineer the building of a massive reservoir. She is told to go down to the construction site and give estimates to the town there so they can move before the construction. Eloise is familiar with the town since she grew up nearby. Obviously, the town is not happy about having to relocate and don’t provide a warm welcome. The town’s mayor is Alex Duval, Eloise’s first love. They were separated as teens after their affair had been discovered. Now, they are on opposite sides. That isn’t all, there is sabotage lurking nearby making it difficult for both sides to proceed with plans. Eloise and Alex need to work together to find out who is behind the sabotage and make a plan that benefits the town and the state. However, their past feelings make that difficult.

One thing that I love about this series is that every main character is a woman, who is incredibly intelligent, who works twice as hard to be taken seriously in the world of men. The characters have amazing development but it is their courage to preserve that always adds such an amazing layer to the story. The men in the story were a little lackluster for me. I wasn’t a fan of either love interest.

Even though this book is Christian historical fiction, it is not preachy which I really appreciate. Her characters are real and make real decisions, which makes them so much more relatable. Another thing about this series, Camden always has incredible historical detail. Some may say it slows the pace down but I think it adds so much to the story.

Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars!

This book releases on February 5th!!!

Thank you NetGalley and Bethany House for a copy of the book!
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A Desperate Hope is the third installment from Elizabeth Camden’s Empire State series. I have read the other books in the series and this one is my favorite. It is set in 1908 New York with Eloise Drake trying to put the past behind her. She is an intelligent woman who works as an accountant for an engineering project. However, this project may put her into a situation she tries to stay away from. While, Alex Duval realizes the town he loves and is the mayor of is threatened to be destroyed. This leads him asking for help from someone from his past. Will these be able to get over the past and work as a team to do what is right?

I enjoyed Eloise and Alex’s story. They are two unlikely allies in the beginning and loved their determination and courage. It is a beautiful, well written and powerful historical that takes the reader back in time and teaches them the lesson of forgiveness and fight what is right. 

I am giving A Desperate Hope a well deserved five plus stars. I highly recommend it. It is definitely my favorite novel written by Elizabeth Camden.

I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
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This one is a real page turner so be sure to carve out some serious reading time before sitting down to start the book. I loved the first two books in the series so it was a safe assumption that I would love this one, too. I just didn't know how much I would love it! 

I love the story of Eloise Drake a successful accountant in New York and Alex Duval the mayor of Duval Springs, a town that is about to be obliterated.  He once loved her but when he discovers she is on the team charged with the demolition it's safe to say it's not the happiest of reunions.  Ms. Camden  brought the characters to life with her beautiful writing and vivid descriptions of the town , its residents and it's buildings.   I found myself truly caring about what would happen to the characters, their businesses and their homes.  Alex possessed an inner strength and the need to preserve what is near and dear to him and he is not letting anyone take anything from him that he cares about.  I admired his spirit and soon started to see the same spirit in Eloise.

Overall, A Desperate Hope is a fantastic story that flows at a perfect pace with memorable characters who are easy to love.  If you have read the first two books in the series you will recognize the names and their stories.  This could be read as a stand alone but I suggest you read the series in order because it's just that good.  I am sorry to see this series come to an end but I look forward to the authors future work.

I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley and was under no obligation to write  review.  All opinions are my own.
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Accurate, detailed historical tales can be hard to come by which is why I treasure the work of Elizabeth Camden. Her newest novel, A Desperate Hope, is the third in her Empire State saga, a series that revolves around the history of clean water in New York. This story works fine as a stand-alone novel, although you get a much more thorough picture of the history if you read all the books.

The city of New York is growing and requires more clean drinking water. Various solutions have been looked at but the state determines that the best choice is to build a reservoir in the valley where the town of Duval Springs currently stands. The citizens of that community are deeply displeased with this decision but having exhausted all legal options they have no choice but to relocate. Alex Duval, their current mayor, is determined to do all he can to make the move as easy as possible for everyone.

Eloise Drake loves her job as an accountant for the New York State Water Board. She finds numbers soothing and delights in knowing that her abilities are contributing to the important work of providing clean water for America’s largest city. However, when her boss asks her to go to Duval Springs to calculate the value of the homes and businesses being demolished to make way for the reservoir, she is less than pleased. She grew up in the area and as a naïve teen had had a passionate affair with Alex. When her wealthy, powerful guardian learned of their liaison, he had Alex beaten and sent Eloise to a convent in Arizona. It was a harsh lesson and one she has never forgotten.  She is prim and proper now, as well as sedate, cautious and rule-abiding. She is reluctant to return to the scene of past sins - and possible current temptation - and goes only under duress.

While Eloise is aware that she will see Alex - since her project specifications include the fact that he is mayor - seeing her comes as a complete surprise to him. He had tried to contact her after her guardian’s thugs had essentially driven him out of town but had never been able to find out where she was. Their relationship had never been a fling to him and this reunion immediately stirs up all the old feelings. The fact that they are on opposite sides of the issue regarding the community’s destruction is not a deterrent to Alex. He’s a dreamer, a mover, shaker and risk taker who goes full steam ahead towards what he wants and only counts the cost later. Right now he wants Eloise back and he is determined to convince her that theirs is a love for the ages.

This difference in approach - Eloise’s cautious, planned and detailed method of living and Alex’s rambunctious grab life by the horns attitude - initially serves as a barrier between them. That doesn’t last long, though, since Alex’s enthusiasm and joie de vivre quickly have Eloise aiding him in his latest scheme to help the townspeople. But while Alex and Eloise are able to set the past behind them and embrace the vision of a better, brighter future, not everyone agrees. It isn’t long before they find themselves battling outside forces not just to save the place they love or their relationship,  but their very lives.

During the first half of the story, Ms Camden does a nice job of convincing the reader that these two disparate characters bring out the best in each other and belong together.  I was especially grateful that Alex and Eloise didn’t blame each other for their messy past. They each accepted that it took both of them to get into the trouble they found themselves in and forgave both themselves and each other for the mistakes made. But while their past relationship is well handled, the future of it felt less sure to me. Something happened during the resolution of the mystery portion of the book that caused me to wonder if things would really be better for them going forward. While Eloise has worked hard to help Alex salvage what he can of his community, when she asks him for help to prove someone close to her innocent, he rejects her.  Since this happens in the last quarter of the book, I can’t get into details over what occurred or how it’s resolved, but I will say that Alex’s behavior was unkind and petty. It tarnished the HEA, since Eloise had spent the whole book assisting him and he fails to do anything meaningful in return. He’s quick with empty romantic gestures - flowery speeches and declarations of undying love - but the equal measure of give and take I like in my love stories just wasn’t there. That didn’t ruin the book for me but it did take some of the shine off my overall enjoyment of it.

Fortunately, the overall appeal of the novel is helped by the amazing historicity, which is interesting, detailed and woven into the story in a skilled, engaging manner. I learned a lot about clean water and the difficult decisions faced by government officials and townspeople when one community must be asked to make sacrifices for the sake of another. Both sides of the issue are shown and we see that everyone has valid, reasonable points.

Ms. Camden typically sticks to light references of God and benign theology in her novels, and that happens here. Something slightly different from other novels of this genre is that the tone toward sin is far from the usual hard-line stance of Inspirationals, which insist on complete purity or a strong amount of shaming for those that don’t toe the line. In A Desperate Hope it is treated as a reality that humans are far from morally pure and the concept of repentance over repudiation is stressed.

A Desperate Hope is a nice reunion story with well-drawn protagonists. It’s also a great reminder that much of what we take for granted now – clean water, the right to hold a job of our choice – is due to the brave women who came before us and fought hard for those rights. I would recommend this tale to anyone who loves historicals that interweave their romances with real history.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House, for the read of Elizabeth Camden’s, A Desperate Hope.

I am a great fan of Elizabeth Camden’s work, but new to this series. Having said that, I completely enjoying A Desperate Hope. 

It’s 1908 New York. Eloise, independent, strong, intelligent mathematician, takes on the project to figure out how to flood an area in order to build a reservoir for the growing city. What she didn’t count on was finding herself back on the path to the man who broke her young heart, Alex Duval.

Headstrong and persistent Alex, mayor of the town scheduled for demolition, is shocked when he learns that Eloise, his past love, is leading the project. Will Eloise’s involvement get in the way of his determination of saving the town?

Can Eloise and Alex work together to come to a mutual understanding to accomplish both purposes? And, will they be able to repair hurt feelings and broken hearts along the way?

Fabulous storyline. I really enjoyed how Elizabeth Camden beautifully set the pace to healing past hurts, and rekindling lost love, in a fictional, but very credible situation. I enjoyed learning the history about water supply and flooding towns, finding how both sides are affected: the lives of the people, and the need for development. 

A Desperate Hope is a wonderful story of keeping your faith strong, and pursuing your dreams through the hope that God gives you in your heart. 

I am grateful to have received a copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in my review are my very own.
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