Cover Image: A Desperate Hope

A Desperate Hope

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This was another wonderful Elizabeth Camden book! The characters felt very real, and I loved getting a look at an interesting time in American history. I also love the way she weaves mystery into her story, it kept me guessing and still surprised me in the end. The plot was very interesting and had me hooked early on. Which led to nights of staying up way to late to read just a "little more". I already can not wait for her next book to come out!
   I received this book free through NetGalley from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. The opinions are my own.
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I appreciate this well researched historical fiction set in 1908 New York.  Camden makes history come alive as she highlights the sacrifices made to build this huge reservoir in order to provide drinking water for New York City.  I was drawn in by this engrossing story and soon I found myself rooting for these characters.  I admire how they take risks and put their faith in each other.  At the same time, opposites attract in a rocky romance in which the foundation of the relationship is poured when appreciation and acceptance of differences is applied.  Camden skillfully balances a sense of adventure with some suspense and romance and that is exactly why I read her books. This is the third book in the Empire State Series, but it certainly can be enjoyed on its own.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher.  All opinions are my own.
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I love Elizabeth Camden's books and I think she's done an outstanding job with the Empire State trilogy.

I've been looking forward to Eloise's story since finishing A Daring Venture and even more intrigued since finding out Alex Duval would be the hero. There's been much hurt and trauma in Eloise`s life, how will a hot-headed but honorable mayor be able to show her what it means to truly be loved and respected? Especially when these two have a twelve-year-old story full of regrets.

Eloise's fiery red hair is probably the only thing that Alex can relate to the girl he once knew. As he sees the choices she makes that will only put a bigger chasm between them, can he convince Eloise it's never too late? Her dreams can be achieved to the full and achieved with him? 

Filled with danger and mystery, Camden once again pens a story as deep in history and passion as it is in character development. I'm very much looking forward to what she will bring next.
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What would life be like if the government decided our land was worth more to the general public than to the individual? (We actually saw this locally when many disgruntled people sold their homes cheaply to make room for a new highway to pass through.) In Elizabeth Camden’s novel, A Desperate Hope, a whole town is being dismantled so New York City can build a much-needed water reservoir. I had difficulty getting interested in these people’s lives at first until I could realize what was truly at stake for this community. 
Ah, a first love that simmers and never quite gets extinguished. Sounds great for Alex Duval, now mayor of Duval Springs, and Eloise Drake, an accountant and numbers whiz, except they are on opposing sides of the town demolition/reservoir issue. Polar business aims and clashing personalities don’t make for a good love match... or do they?  
This book has some real surprises and unlikely alliances that made it well worth the read. This is a novel that leaves me ruminating well after the fact, “could this be? Would this work out in real life?!” Discussion questions further stimulate this line of thought. 
Great quotes: 
“Your accounting ledgers don’t have a column for the size of a human heart.”- Alex 
” You can be brave and scared at the same time.”-Alex 
” We’ve got the most important element on our side. We’ve got hope, and hope can build bridges and tame storms and fuel our muscles until drag ourselves across the finish line. We aren’t quitters.” 
” We don't have scarlet letters in this town. We have imperfect people who sometimes make mistakes.” 
” It is in tackling the new and the scary that we become who we are meant to be.” (Enzo, Italian engineer) 
I gratefully received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and via NetGalley. No positive review was required, and all opinions are solely my responsibility.
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The storyline for this book was interesting, but it dragged for me. Also, I felt like it didn't have near the romance her books usually do.

I did enjoy reading about how NYC got their clean water supply started. I also love how her female characters always have interesting science and math jobs.

Overall this book was good, just not a new favorite.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This is my honest review.
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I was drawn to "A Desperate Hope" by Elizabeth Camden due to the beautiful cover art as well as the author. I have read all of Elizabeth Camden's books and I enjoy her style of writing.

The book, A Desperate Hope, starts out with a scene from the past. Alex Duval and Eloise Drake are young teenagers in love but Eloise Drakes father is a wealthy business man who is not afraid to use force to get what he wants. When he finds out that Eloise and Alex have been meeting in secret he sends his henchman to beat up young Alex and send him away from his daughter forever.

Present day,Eloise lives in New York City as an accountant for the state of New York. Despite her protest, she is sent to the town of Duval Springs with a team of engineers and assessors. The state plans to build a reservoir which will wipe the town of Duval Springs off the map. Alex Duval has returned to Duval Springs but not as the lovesick teenager he once was. He is now the town mayor and dedicated to doing everything in his power to save the small town that his ancestors build. They both encounter resistance as each one seeks to do their job. Eloise is a rule keeper and Alex a rule breaker. They have to learn to work together despite their past and their various goals.

But just when they have finally come to a compromise to save the town, someone is sabotaging their  attempts at every turn. Not only is Eloise's father under suspicion for the sabotage but also for murder. As Eloise seeks to prove her father innocent, Alex must overcome his past anger towards him in order to win back Eloise's love. 

This story was a nice mix of romance and mystery. I liked the first part of the book and how it included a scene from the past and how the characters had moved on since then. I was a bit disappointed as I found the story starting to get  boring at the halfway mark. It picked up a little when it came to the mysterious events that the town was experiencing but overall the last half of the book was a letdown. I also felt that the author could have included more information about Eloise. As a reader, I was unable to make that emotional connection that I like to feel with the characters in my books.  Even the ending was not that enjoyable. Overall, the book has great potential but this one was not up to par for the author's usual writing style.
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I loved this historical fiction romance.  It was great to see how Eloise and Alex both became better as adults.  They learned many things after they were pulled apart as teenagers.  I also loved the history that showed how a town can be bought out to build a reservoir to help many.  This book was hard to put down and I couldn’t wait to get to the end to see what happened.  I received a copy of this book from the author for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
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In this third installment of the Empire State Series, Eloise Drake is tasked with assigning worth to all of the buildings and properties in the town of Duval Springs.  The town that she used to watch from afar, from the home of her guardian; the town whose current mayor, Alex Duval, was the recipient of more than her heart when she was only 16.  Alex, as mayor and descendant of the town's founding family, is desperately trying to keep his town, his family, and his family's legacy from being wiped off the map to make room to provide water for the people of New York.  Can Eloise follow her mathematical brain and keep her heart out of this job? What choices does Alex have to help provide for those who depend on him and look to him for leadership?

I was excited to read this continuation of the series; I enjoyed the character of Rosalind Werner in A Daring Venture, and I felt myself grow angry on behalf of the town that was going to be wiped out for the needs of the big city.  The solution that the town came up with was creative and risky, and I loved watching the town and the state workers come together to put it in action.  Eloise's character held so much promise.  As one of only six female CPAs in the state of New  York, her drive and love of math and logic appealed to me, and I was interested to see how that played out when she came back into the life of her childhood love. However, I found her changes of heart to be fickle, as she was courting one man while intending to return to a life that didn't include him. While I can understand her being unsure of what she really wanted, versus what appeared best for her, it seemed out of character to be misleading someone who cared for her. 

I also struggled to fit the pieces of the saboteur mystery into the story; when the culprit was named and the reason discovered, I felt like I'd missed something along the way.  It left that plot line feeling disjointed, and was a strange way to wrap up a story that was compelling enough to stand on its own - that of the town coming together to find a way to hope in the face of impending disaster.

I give this book 3 stars; I love Elizabeth Camden's intelligent, ground-breaking, female characters, but I didn't enjoy that, in this case, Eloise's brain became a bit secondary to her love interests.  I was fascinated by the idea of the reservoir displacing a town, though, and I wish a bit more of the true story would have woven its way into the novel.

I received a digital copy of this book, via NetGalley, from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.
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I think I’ve read every book Elizabeth Camden has written, and I’m a bog fan! Have enjoyed this series, especially the first two books, but this third one left me feeling a bit let down. Had looked forward to it, and have the first two already in my church library, but I’m not sure I’ll purchase this third one.

The premise of the book, I.e.moving en entire village, uphill, in the year 1908, seemed a. bit far-fetched to me. And then the relationship between the two main characters was on-again, off-again, and didn’t really seem genuine, at least to me.  The ending, while solving some puzzles, also seemed a bit rushed.

I just felt this book wasn’t up to the high standards of this author’s work.
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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is the third book in her An Empire State series. Luckily it is a standalone book if you did not get to read the first two.

First, I loved the whole concept of moving a town. The author kept me intrigued and was very detailed oriented in that I could picture the work, mud and the effort the characters were giving in trying to save their town from the State of New York (who had plans to flood it). I was quite shocked that this was a real thing. I loved the ingenuity of the town and especially Alex (the Mayor) who was bound and determined to move his entire village, to higher ground, all while trying to win back prim and proper Eloise, whom he hadn't seen in years. Unfortunately, the fair Eloise is one of the people representing the State who intend to flood the town. 

There are many subplots in this book that are very interesting, and they will keep you reading, however, it is the lack of Christian content and opportunities for messages on repentance and redemption that bring my rating down. The issue of premarital sex was a shocker for me. Yes, in real life these things happen, so why can't they occur in a Christian book? Well, when they occur and the only remorse the characters show is that someone might find out (not how their relationship with God will be), it bothers me. Alex seemed to show no remorse for his actions, which seemed to turn Eloise into a prude. And later in the book when other characters engage in premarital sex without guilt, I was taken aback. It was almost as if this type of behaviour was condoned. So this bothered me a great deal.

While the book was clean in that nothing was scintillating or explicit, the author missed an opportunity for sharing a message of repentance and restoration with God. I expect these things in a Christian book; otherwise, why market it as such?

While the underlying mystery and move of the town were intriguing, I couldn't get into the romance of Alex and Eloise because of their past indiscretions and Alex's cavalier attitude. 

I received this book courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. and Baker Publishing.
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This is the third book in the Empire State Novel series.  The first book is called A Dangerous Legacy, and the second is A Daring Venture.

Eloise is headed back to Duval Springs, where she spent much of her childood, but it's the last place she wants to go.  Twelve years ago, she left because of her relationship with Alex Duval, and she hasn't looked back since.  She's made herself into a rule-abiding CPA and enjoys her structured life.

Alex is a dreamer, but he's never forgotten the spunky redhead who stole his heart.  He's been committed to saving the town, but he's lost.  Now, the town's scheduled to be destroyed to make way for a reservoir.  When Eloise shows up to help buy off the town's residents, Alex doesn't recognize the icy person in front of him.

These two are complete opposites, but they still have a spark.  Unfortunately for Alex, Eloise has no intentions of staying with Alex.  When they come up with a plan for the removal of the town, Eloise donates her time to the dream, but she still plans on returning to her structured life.  Unless Alex can convince her to trust him and be a bit daring.  There's also a snitch in town feeding information to the town's most hated man, and sabotage threatens Alex's plans.

I liked this book, and I liked the characters.  I like the way Alex's impulsiveness balanced out Eloise's straight-laced nature and vice versa.  I also appreciated the research the author did, because it shows.  Nick and Rosalind show up, but you don't have to be familiar with A Daring Venture to keep up with what's going on.

I'm glad that I stuck with this series, even though I wasn't a huge fan of the first book.  This book was entertaining, and I enjoyed reading it.

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Elizabeth Camden’s third book in the Empire State series is a great addition with witty dialogue, good characters and a story that will have readers racing to find out the ending.

Elizabeth is a whiz at historical fiction – her way of making historical happenings interesting helps her stand out from other authors. Her attention to detail and facts is wonderful and helps me keep everything straight. I love that she gives readers a chance to see how life might have been for people in the past, even if her excellent characters are fictional. This latest story takes on the plot of the upstate New York Ashokan reservoir and its impact on the community sitting right in the middle of its planned location. Eloise Drake is an accountant on the team of developers for the project and her job will be to determine the worth of the town’s properties. A numbers person by choice, Eloise hopes to make a quick entrance and exit that will not involve getting to know anyone she doesn’t have to. But her past in Duval Springs will come back to her with a vengeance when she has to meet with Mayor Alex Duval, her childhood sweetheart. Eloise was the ward of the richest man in the area, a man she later discovered is her father, who never claimed her publicly. She had spent a wonderful summer sneaking out to meet young Alex Duval, a kind and generous teen who taught her the wonder of books and young love. But when her guardian/father found out about their meetings, he sent men to beat Alex and warn him to stay away. Never able to understand why Alex didn’t come to meet her anymore, Eloise hid her wounded heart behind a wall of rules and regulations. Numbers became her passion and now give her the chance to have a coveted job at the New York Water Board as an accountant. Now if she can just do her job without interference so she can go home and get on with her life. But God has better plans for Eloise and bringing her to Duval Springs will give her the chance to fulfill her lifelong dreams. Alex Duval is the new mayor of Duval Springs and is hoping for a miracle for his condemned town. Given a few short months to salvage what they can from their homes and accept whatever settlement the state of New York offers, the people of Duval Springs are looking to him to make everything all right. With a risky idea in mind, Alex sets to work, praying it will work. But moving an entire town will take money and machinery they don’t have. As one thing after another comes up against the courageous homeowners, a fiercer determination wells inside them to accomplish their goal. Alex just needs to convince Eloise and the Water Board team to help them out with what they need. But he knows that with their history, he will have an uphill battle on his hands – in more ways than one. If he can only get Eloise to be on his side, she could help them solve so many problems. Both Eloise and Alex will have to make some big sacrifices and offer a good deal of forgiveness if they are to help the families and friends seeking to save their homes and their lives. And maybe, if they can forgive each other, they can find a way back to the love they have been seeking since childhood. I enjoyed all the history that was included in the book, weaving its way through the fictional drama that Ms. Camden created. The credence that this added was wonderful and helped me connect better with the story. I also loved all the characters that Ms. Camden introduced. While the main characters certainly had their moments to shine, the secondary characters were perfect foils for the main character’s actions and words. It was very much like being in Duval Springs and watching as everything unfolded. The tension that threaded through the story added a good deal of depth which helped keep the plot from being boring or dragging on too long. However, my reason for only four stars for this story was that I just didn’t care for Eloise. Not exactly sure why, but she just bugged me. I could see why she was the way she was but I kept hoping she would move on and accept the forgiveness/ kindness of everyone around her. While she did improve quite a bit before the end, I still felt like she was not given a good conclusion, or at least a good direction that she was headed in the future. I enjoyed reading everything else and loved how the story ended. I was so happy to see how everything worked out and everyone got what they deserved. I will be recommending this book to others as I thought it was a very good story as a whole. Perhaps my annoyance with Eloise will be limited to myself alone and others will like her better. Looking forward to Ms. Camden’s next works!

I received this E-book free of charge from Bethany House Publishers via NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation for this review and the opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.
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This is book three in the Empire State Series, however I do feel like it is a stand alone novel. 

Eloise Drake and Alex Duval have quite a history. When Eloise is sent back to the town she has always wanted to be a part of, she is not real sure what to expect. When her predictable safe life is turned upside down, will she embrace it or run from it. Alex is not expecting Eloise to walk back into his life, is she really here to destroy his town or will she help him?

I love the sparks between Eloise and Alex, both have much to learn.
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I think I say this for every Elizabeth Camden novel, but I love that her heroines have such unique, impressive jobs. And while they may suffer some sexism for being in positions that typically belong to men, the stories are never about that--they're about strong women making a difference (and that makes such a difference in my enjoyment as a reader, seeing them being their best and excelling at their jobs rather than constantly fighting against men). Eloise is no exception, being one of very few female CPAs in New York. While I have no great love for budgeting, I really connected with her practical outlook on life--her love of concrete plans, order, and security.

I also liked Alex and his wild dreams and grandiose ideas--he makes a great balance to Eloise's love of security and order. He's one of those men that is larger than life, and even though he has been beaten down again and again while trying to save his town, he jumps back up swinging. But frankly, there were times he could be an insensitive clod. When it comes to certain sins, men just aren't held to the same standards as women, and it's the women who are more likely to be hurt. I wish he would have been better about acknowledging that.

The history behind this story is also fascinating. Living in an place with a massive abundance of clean freshwater, I've never thought about reservoirs--why one would build them, what would happen to the land beneath them, what was there before the water. But to read about the towns that were moved or lost to build the reservoir to keep New York City in clean, healthy water, I can better appreciate my home!

Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for the complimentary e-book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.
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I have seen a lot of Elizabeth’s books floating around the bookish world, but I’ve never read any of them before. When this one came up, I jumped at the chance to read an early copy. I can see why people say so many good things about her books!I used to stay up late reading a lot when I was younger—sometimes until three or four in the morning. But it’s pretty rare that I do that now. (I choose to say it’s because I have kids, and not because I’m old.) But I couldn’t go to bed without finishing this one!Eloise Drake was only a young girl when she fell in love with Alex Duval. They met secretly until her guardian found out and sent her away.It’s been twelve years and now Eloise is back in Duval Springs where Alex is now the mayor. But it’s not the joyous reunion Alex might’ve hoped for. Eloise, now a CPA, is part of a team sent by the state of New York to dismantle the town of Duval Springs to make way for a new water system for New York City.When Alex comes up with a crazy plan to save his town, Eloise is his only hope. But with secrets and sabotage surrounding them, and the shame of the past haunting them, can their love withstand the tests ahead?.While this story is fiction, it is loosely based on some historical accounts. I had no idea that entire towns were destroyed to create a water system in New York, so I found this very fascinating.The story itself was a good one. However, I struggled to understand Eloise’s relationship with her guardian, and felt like that part of the story didn’t quite fit.This story was very well-told and unconventional. I always appreciate a story about a strong woman who isn’t afraid of hard work and doesn’t necessarily need a man to save her. (Although having a man is nice!)This book is third in a series, which I didn’t realize until well into it. I don’t think it’s necessary to read the others to enjoy this one.
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“I want to believe that dreams really can come true,” she said simply. “I would like to believe that hope and heart is all it takes to make anything happen, but it isn’t.” 
--Eloise Drake

Another captivating historical novel from Elizabeth Camden centers on the small town of Duval Springs, New York in the year 1896.  The tiny town took on the state of New York Water Board only to lose their battle against the coming of the Ashokan Reservoir. The battle becomes very personal for two people from opposing sides; Eloise Drake, the accountant for the Water Board assigned to assess the property values of the townspeople and Alex Duval, mayor of Duval Springs. 

Eloise Drake lives her life by her own personal three R’s: rules, regulations, and respectability. Being an accountant suits her perfectly. There are rules for everything and a precise order to the job. She tries hard to lead her life in the same staunch manner. Alex Duval is a dreamer who challenges the people of Duval Springs to the seemingly impossible task of moving the entire town. In spite of their differences, the two once shared a love of adventure novels, dreams, and each other. Can they put aside their differences and do the right thing for the people of Duval Springs? 

Read this engaging novel filled with vibrant characters that add depth and personality to the story along with an intriguing mystery that must be solved along the way. Rich in historical detail based on the actual Ashokan Reservoir, Camden weaves fact and fiction together to come up with another great read. I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical fiction and romance. 

This ARC copy was received from Bethany House Publishers and The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own. 
#NetGalley  #ADesperateHope  #BHPFiction
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She loves order and numbers. He’s all whimsy and adventure. Can the two of them set aside their differences for the sake of the town–and their hearts?

Like the other Camden novels I’ve read, A Desperate Heart offers a smart tale about an intelligent heroine and a passionate hero. Her writing is so smart, yet still approachable and filled with plenty of heart. And while I wouldn’t consider this novel a favorite, I did really like it and thought it was very well written. I think Eloise is among my favorite Camden heroines. She was smart yet flawed. On the outside she appeared very straight laced and by the book, but she had a wistful side that even she herself didn’t see at times. And I think Alex is probably my favorite Camden hero thus far because he was adventurous and believed whole-heartedly in his cause. He was also good for Eloise, as he stood up for her and made her come out of her shell.

Smart, beautifully written, and full of heart, A Desperate Hope is a novel that fans of inspirational or well written historical fiction in general will love.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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Sometimes starting a new book is like slipping into a warm bath. That was the case for me with this book. I easily fell into this story and Elizabeth’s writing style. I think I have only read one book by her and it was years ago and now I am wondering why.

Something about this book really grabbed me and I loved it. The struggle from the past but the hope that lay in the future for our characters.

Yes, this is a great read with broken characters that God can redeem and restore. I highly recommend this one.

Visit Elizabeth here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me through All opinions are my own.
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How would you move a city? I wouldn't even know where to begin. It seems like an impossible task. Yet, Elizabeth Camden tries to accomplish that impossible job in A Desperate Hope.  For that reason alone, I had to give this book five stars. It was fascinating reading about a town moving. There were moments when I found myself very stressed thinking about all the details involved and wondering if they would be able to succeed or not. Why else do I give this book five stars? Well, Eloise is an accountant, and I really admire accountants. Math is not easy or fun for me and so anyone who can spend their whole work day solving math problems has my admiration. Reading about a lady who was a CPA during a time when not many ladies were able to be CPAs made the story interesting. Also, this book if packed full of romance, adventure, and mystery, making it definitely worthy of five stars plus more! 
I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction, romance, and mystery. It is the third book in the Empire State Novel series but I think it could be read by itself. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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A Desperate Hope
by Elizabeth Camden

Bethany House

Bethany House Publishers


Pub Date 05 Feb 2019

I am reviewing a copy of A Desperate Hope through Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley:

Eloise Drake hides a turbulent past under a prim demeanor. She thinks she’s put her past behind her. Eloise is a mathematical genius who is working as an accountant for the Largest engineering project in 1908 New York. To her dismay, her newest position puts her back in the path of the man who was responsible for her greatest heartbreak.

Alex Duval is the mayor of a town that is about to be wiped off the map by this engineering project. The state of New York is planning on flooding the entire valley where the town sits on so they can build a reservoir, it stuns Alex to learn that Eloise, the women he once loved is on the team charged with the demolition of the town. As his world is on the verge of crumbling beneath him, Alex devices a risky plan to save his town- but he is going to need Eloise help to succeed.

Alex becomes determined to win back Eloise, the woman he thought he’d lost forever, but even with their combined ingenuity will they be able to overcome the obstacles before them, or will their loose it all?

I give A Desperate Hope five out of five stars!

Happy Reading!
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