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A Desperate Hope

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Eloise Drake is one of the few female CPAs in 1908. She's sought all her life to belong, and finally in the ordered world of numbers and figures she can earn her own rightful place. Unfortunately, her competence has landed her in the path of the one man who could undo everything - Alex Duval,  whom she loved wholeheartedly when they were teenagers.

Now mayor of Duval Springs, Alex has been fighting for his town's survival. New York City needs water, and the State Water Board has declared eminent domain on the entire valley, intending to remove all structures and build a reservoir to meet their needs. When the experts and accounts descend upon the town to begin evaluating property and distributing payouts, Alex is shocked to see Eloise again. He has never stopped caring for her, despite the way her guardian forced an end to their relationship.

Alex is determined to save Duval Springs despite whatever the state may say, and Eloise is the only one who can help him. For her part, she always loved his big dreams and risk-taking personality. But is his wild idea truly something that can be accomplished, or merely a desperate hope that will end with the disillusionment of the entire community? Is it foolish to work closely with the man who stirs up so many feelings from the past?

Determination, inspiration, and a large dash of intrigue lead the way in Elizabeth Camden's new release. I love how she found three truly fascinating water-related tales and wove them together in this Empire State series. I would recommend this story to all historical fiction fans! Click for my reviews of Book One and Book Two.

I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All thoughts in this review are my own.
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A Desperate Hope is the third book in The Empire State series written by award winning author Elizabeth Camden.  Each book in the series can be read as a stand alone.  I have read the first and third books in this series. In fact the second of this series is the only Elizabeth Camden book that I haven't read!  That being said, I didn't find this novel to be up to the usual standard of excellence that I have come to expect from Elizabeth Camden. The concept of moving an entire town from Point A to Point B was interesting, but the story lacked a bit of the intrigue, edge and excitement that I usually enjoy while reading Elizabeth Camden.  The on again/off again relationship between Alex and Eloise frustrated me and although I should have been rooting for them, I found myself wishing for a third man to enter the picture who was worthy of Eloise. Overall it was still a good story, although I can't see myself returning to this series over and over again.

A Desperate Hope is currently available for purchase from your local or online book retailer.

Thank you Bethany House and Net Galley for the free copy of A Desperate Hope. The opinions expressed here are my own.
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Elizabeth has done a fabulous job with this title!! 
I enjoyed learning a little history and I was truly amazed along the way in parts of this story. 
I definitely loved how Eloise learned to be herself. I hate how you think you have to be a certain around certain people and another way around others!!
I feel just like Eloise. If everyone could be themselves what a wonderful place this ok world would be!!! Just think!!!
Then there's fun loving Alex and his family. I loved ex from the start with wild and crazy dreams!! 
I love how if determined he cam make things happen and he's at his best!!
I love how Eloise puts certain people in their place and tells them how she really feels!! 
She tells them that people who have dreams and that there are things more important in life than timetables and thise things are called dreams!
Wild impossible dreams that are normally the fantasies of poets and playwrights but sometimes it's the normal people that seize upon them who join forces that makes it happen!
Wow!! If only right?
Everyone wants to be loved and wants someone to love.  
People are who makes a town and a town thrives on people working together to make thise things happen.
We also can't leave God out of it either. Prayer is powerful my friends even though sometimes they aren't answered in they way we think they should be.
Love is the 2nd most powerful force. I like how God worked this into factor for Alex and Eloise.
I wanted to make them wake up and realize this but then there wouldn't be a story now would there?
Elizabeth has a knack for weaving in some mystery there too. I love the guessing games. I won't tell you who done it because I want you to read the story too.
I can't wait for you to read this wonderful book by Elizabeth Camden. 
This is the 3rd book in this series. I suggest that you read the first 2. 
I received a copy if this book from the publisher and no compensations were received. All opinions are my own!!
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Wow!!! A 5 🌟 for the conclusion of this amazing trilogy by Elizabeth Camden!! In this historical Novel, Duval Springs fights to stay put and save their town. In an authentic manner that only Camden can fashion she adds a mystery, murder, a romance of two imperfect polar people who stand in opposite sides of this chaotic battle, and so many twists that I couldn’t put the book down! Brace yourself my friends for your heart will accelerate in this adventurous novel! At least mine did in some of the suspenseful moments and my nails are also shorter from biting into them 😉! At times I found myself cheering the town on and smiling at their indiscretions and at other moments I felt torn between the conflict. I had never felt so human as my heart soar in delight with this delicious gem that cozily wrapped up the series.

Although people from the second book appear, there are no spoiler alerts or confusions making it a great standalone.  In fact each historical novel in this trilogy has its own unique story that does not interfere with the other. 💕
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Elizabeth Camden takes an interesting slice of history and builds a colorful and compelling story around it. Set in New York in the early 1900s, A Desperate Hope is about a town’s spunk and ingenuity in solving a seemingly insurmountable problem, about dreaming big, and working hard to make those dreams come true. Camden’s cast of characters come alive on the page. Alex Duval is an optimistic, courageous, go-getter whose vision of a way to save his town is inspiring. The heroine, Eloise Drake, is also endearing and fascinating as she tries to find her place in the world. Together, they are a magnificent team that can accomplish amazing things. 

This riveting tale of courage, faith, optimism, and hope pulled me right in and kept me turning pages. With history, intrigue, suspense, inspiration, and more than a bit of romance thrown in, this story has something for everyone. I would recommend it to those who enjoy inspirational historical fiction.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher/NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Fighting to stem the tide of destruction on their town

My rating is 4.5 stars

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.
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CPA Eloise Drake likes her life to be orderly and stable, with straight columns that add up neatly into nice round figures, a stark contrast to her unconstant childhood, with unloving parents and fraught with conflict. When her newest assignment, assessing and valuing properties in preparation for the new reservoir, brings her face to face with her adolescent indiscretion, will she take a chance on love or stay with what is safe and predictable?

Alex Duvall never forgot the red-headed Eloise Drake from his childhood, and when she comes with the crew sent to blow up his town of Duvall Springs they find themselves at odds. Alex's enthusiasm for his town, and his charismatic, indefatigable spirit gives Duvall Springs hope in the face of a state takeover, and he finds an unlikely ally in a copper-headed friend from the past. Will Eloise and Alex be able to save the town of Duvall Springs, or will the conspiracies and sabotage dash all of their hopes?

Alex is a passionate dreamer, and born leader. As Mayor of Duvall Springs he takes personal responsibility for his citizen's well being and security. He is loyal and never gives up fighting for what he believes in, and is willing to try new things. I loved that he respects and admires Eloise and her brilliance with mathematics, he supports her, and encourages her to dream big too.

Eloise is cautious, and has had to walk on eggshells her whole life, she has learned to love safety and predictability. She is clever, organized, compassionate, and a people pleaser. I admired her determined spirit and all the hard work she put into attaining her certification and putting her past behind her.

While written as the third in a series, it works wonderfully as a stand alone read, though if you have read the previous two books in the series, Eloise's story will pack an even bigger punch. I will admit that I missed the legal tension that was a strong component of the prior books, but I did like how this book tied in, and that we got to see another side of the previous events.

 A story about love, hope, community, determination, and faith. There is intrigue, mystery and the stakes are high as the citizens of Duvall Springs risk it all to fight for their way of life. I love how Ms. Camden brings the excitement and industry of the early 1900's to life, with strong, independant, and intelligent heroines. A fast-paced read with winsome characters, highly enjoyable, I didn't want to put it down!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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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Her entire life, Eloise Drake has wanted to belong. Her parents never seemed to want her, and at the tender age of ten they’d dropped her off at a hillside mansion with her guardian. She spent hours watching the small town of Duval Springs do life in the valley below. The summer she turned fifteen, she finally mustered the courage to visit Duval Springs. And met Alex Duval.

They shared a glorious friendship and fell in love—only to have their castles in the air crash around them when Eloise’s guardian, ‘Bone-Crusher’ Bruce Garret discovered the extent of their relationship. 

Twelve years after that fateful discovery, Eloise has remade herself into a proper woman of great accomplishments. She is one of six certified public accountants in the state of New York, and has a respectable job with the New York State Water Board. When her supervisor sends her and three co-workers off to Duval Springs to assess the town for demolition, Eloise almost refuses. After all, Alex Duval acts as the town’s mayor. She has no desire to ever see him again. The past should remain in the past, and her future rests in the logical hands of her by-the-books supervisor.

For the past 12 years, Alex Duval has searched the world over looking for his first and only love, Eloise Drake. He’s served in the army in Cuba and learned valuable leadership skills. He’s written letters and put advertisements in newspapers, but he’s never heard of Eloise again. 

For five years he fought the state water board to save his town, and when Duval Springs loses its court case, he resigns himself to the inevitable. And then Eloise Drake shows up as part of the water board’s advance team. 

Can a CPA and a Dreamer Find Compatibility?

Once again, Camden weaves a historical tale replete with interesting details, quirky characters, suspense, adventure, and unusual love stories. Characters from other Camden novels make cameo appearances, but readers don’t have to read the series in order to fully enjoy the books. 

Readers will cheer Alex on as he tries to woo Eloise (and her guardian) into accepting his hand in marriage. Camden’s understanding of God’s love for his flawed people (and aren’t we all flawed?) shines through on each page, leaving the reader feeling not only satisfied, but redeemed.
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Loved this story of Eloise and revisiting others from this series.  Elizabeth Camden is an author that I have put on my list of authors to read because she can write a story and make you feel as you you are characters in her books. I'm sad that Emma's story is the last in this wonderful series but I know that whatever this extra-ordinary author writes next will be worth reading.
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I enjoyed this installment of the Empire State series. I wasn't sure how Eloise Drake would be portrayed after all that happened in book 2. Happy to say I enjoyed the book and the storyline. Not sure if this is the last book in the series but if it is I will be searching out other books by Elizabeth Camden.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of the Publisher and was under no obligation to post a favorable review.
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Wow!  I loved reading this book!  Taking place in upstate New York in 1908, it tells the story of a small town, desperately wanting to stay alive, but fighting a losing battle as it is scheduled to be destroyed with the construction of a reservoir to provide water for the city of New York.  So, the author has written that story, but also woven in it is the tale of two young lovers separated for years.  But this is not a bland romance as she has also brought in the intrigue of sabotage and murder and the reader is guessing who the villain is!  
I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this novel even as I read Eloise and Alex’s story.  And I loved the surprise appearance of the United States Military Academy at West Point!  What a wonderful story!  I highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House through NetGalley. I am freely writing a review - all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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It’s been a while since I read a Camden sort-of historical romance. I’ve also drifted away from inspirational romance, thanks to the end Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical line, where many a favourite author resided. With A Desperate Hope, Camden has moved away from the inspirational (which was fairly “light” to begin with) and towards “Americana” à la Deeanne Gist. (I loved Gist’s Tiffany Girl, but haven’t seen anything from her since. This makes me sad.) But Camden is a solid stand-in and I enjoyed the 1908 upper-state-NY-set historical fiction with a mild romance running through it. Unlike standard inspirational fare, the hero and heroine, while they’ve believers, also have a youthful affair, the heroine had lost her virginity to the hero, and there’s a fair amount of ale-drinking. Hurrah for Americana: this felt more believable than the inspirational romance’s leached ethos.

A Desperate Hope has an interesting historical setting, indeed it’s the “hero” of the novel, even more so than the protagonists. The teenage Alex Duval and Eloise Drake wooed when Eloise sneaked out of her father’s castle-in-the-air (her father’s actually a cement-factory owner) to meet Alex in the woods of the nearby town of Duval Springs. When her father caught wind of their affair, he had Alex beaten and exiled and Eloise sent to an Arizona convent. Another non-inspie point in Camden’s favour: as Eloise had a serene, enriching experience with the Catholic nuns. Twelve years later and the novel setting proper, Eloise is a successful accountant for the city of New York and is sent to Duval Springs as part of the team that will see the town’s demolition, making way for a major reservoir project. Alex, in the meanwhile, after years in the army, is Duval Springs’s mayor. He and his former love and her volatile father are reunited.

Camden’s novel hinges on Alex’s scheme to save his town. While Eloise and her team are here to see the town demolished, Alex plans to move it, house by house, school, tavern, hotel, and church to higher ground. His scheme is wildly improbable, daring, and costly. That’s where Eloise comes in. He needs her help to make the financial end come true. With this premise, Camden sets her hero and heroine initially working at cross purposes, as well as having different approaches to life. Alex never lost his wild imagination, adventurousness, and penchant for dreaming in Technicolor. Eloise, on the other hand, became ever more cautious, careful, and rational. Through their cooperation to save Duval Springs, Camden shows how two different people bring their strengths to working in tandem to save a town and way of life. In the same way, when Alex and Eloise win their HEA, they will bring this spirit to their marriage and family. The saving of the town is a gargantuan affair and proved, at least to this reader, to be more vital and interesting than the characters. I liked Alex and Eloise and their opposites-attract pairing well enough, but they lacked chemistry. When oxen pulling houses and railtracks laid to carry homes to higher ground prove more compelling than a romance novel’s romance, well, don’t read it for the romance.

Camden continues to be a lovely prose writer. She brings the history of what is in actuality the Ashokan Reservoir project to life: I found the whole effort, with its setbacks, fascinating. I can’t say the same for Alex and Eloise. They were more interesting as the dreamer and pragmatist and the strengths they bring to Duval Springs’s salvation than they were as lovers. For example, witness what Alex says to Eloise when he shares his dream with her:

“If a cause is worth having, I’ll fight for it and make it happen. I can motivate people and drag them across the finish line. Your accounting ledgers don’t have a column for the size of a human heart. That’s where I come in.”

In the end, Alex comes to admire and acknowledge Eloise’s ledgers, that the town couldn’t have been saved without her. Eloise comes to recognize that to live fully, you have to step off the ledge, take a risk, with your career and heart. Camden brings them, beautifully, to the conclusion that “They’d rolled up their sleeves to work in tandem on a daring, desperate quest, and there was no one he’d [Alex’d] rather have beside him.” In turn, Eloise “was coming to admire the risk-takers who were brave enough to reach for the stars.” Just wish there was more chemistry, some smooching, and stolen moments in the woods.

Ultimately, Camden’s greatest romance is what America is, as exemplified by her hero, heroine, and the many townspeople who populate her world: “When you get knocked down, you pick yourself up and move on. It’s the Amercian way. You don’t whine. You don’t quit. You pick up and begin again.” Like I said, Americana. With Miss Austen, Camden’s historical fiction is “almost pretty,” Northanger Abbey.

Elizabeth Camden’s A Desperate Hope is published by Bethany House. It was released on February 5th and may be found at your preferred vendor. I received an e-ARC from Bethany House, via Netgalley.
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In 1896, a young man named Alex was beaten up by a hired gang, warned to stay away from the rich girl he loved, and chased out of the town his family had founded. With nowhere else to go, he joined the military and learned a bit about life and leadership. By 1908, he was back in town and had garnered respect as the town’s mayor. But the hardest challenge he had to face was the probable loss of his community.

I have learned a lot about the past through historical fiction. I know that communities have been flooded to make way for reservoirs as I grew up near several in England, and there’s one near me that controversially displaced a Native American community. This work of fiction was inspired by the events surrounding the creation of Ashokan Reservoir in Ulster County, New York. While reading, I thought Alex’s plan to save his town was ingenious but not realistic. Afterward, I discovered that some towns did exactly what he proposed! Something new learned!

It only took me a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon to read A Desperate Hope. It was engrossing and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I’m not sure I was surprised by anything: this is a historical romance novel, and I worked out the villain of the piece before the conclusion. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it though. Actually, I’d have liked to read more about the people of Duval Springs.

A Desperate Hope is the third in the Empire State series about the Drake Family. It can be read by itself, but part of Eloise’s backstory is covered in the other two books and it probably is best to read those first. Also, the majority of the novel takes place between the main narrative and the epilogue of the middle book of the trilogy, A Daring Venture.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary electronic copy of A Desperate Hope.
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I love books that feature intelligent and capable women, and Eloise Drake is exactly that. A math genius who has worked hard to obtain her CPA certification, Eloise proves herself a force to reckoned with in a world dominated by men. But all work and no play defines Eloise’s life.

Returning to the town where she spent much of her youth as a representative of the state of New York puts Eloise back in the orbit of Alex Duvall. The boy she once knew and loved once upon a time is now mayor of Duvall Springs.

Alex and Eloise are opposites in many ways. She’s straight-laced and follows the rules while he is a dreamer and jumps into schemes both feet first without any plan whatsoever in place. She’s from a wealthy, but emotionally distant family while Alex comes from the working calls with strong family ties. Yet the two of them together can move mountains (or at least towns).

An enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining conclusion to the Empire State series, A Desperate Hope encourages us to dream big and reach for the seemingly impossible.

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is the third book in the Empire State series, but it can be read as a stand alone novel.  Accountant Eloise Drake is sent to the small town of Duval Springs to appraise the value of the citizens' property as the water board needs the land to build a reservoir to provide water for New York City.  Once she arrives, she discovers that the mayor of the town is Alex Duval, her childhood best friend, and their past brings with it a legacy of resentment and hurt.  When Alex proposes an impossible plan to move the entire town to the mountains, he needs Eloise's financial expertise to succeed.  Can they find a way to work together to save the town?  Will their love be rekindled?  Can you actually physically move an entire town?  Once again, Camden provides characters that you will root for and enjoy while learning a little history at the same time.
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A Desperate Hope is the third book in Elizabeth Camden's Empire State series. While one might not think that a series largely based on the water system of New York City would be of great interest to many, Camden certainly has made it so. Beginning with Lucy and Nick Drake's battle to win back a fortune that their family had been swindled of a long time ago, a battle involving an invention essential to successfully providing clean water to the homes in New York City, Camden's characters have tugged at her readers' heart strings. As the family's story continued there was intrigue, manipulation and subterfuge within the Drake's extended family, but deciding on which side of the family for which to root was never difficult; it was most certainly a tale of good vs evil. A Desperate Hope picks up with the story of Eloise Drake, Lucy and Nick's cousin who was nothing like her parents. Throughout her life, even as a child, Eloise had had to pick up, start over and create for herself an emotional safe space. She longed to be part of a loving family. This longing caused her to live vicariously through the lives of the villagers of Duval Springs, a small town that was now in danger of being destroyed in order to create a reservoir for the people of New York City which was one hundred miles away. Having been banished from her second childhood home, the one overlooking Duval Springs, Eloise was loathe to return to aid in its demise. 

     While A Desperate Hope is a clean read, some may question its classification as Christian Fiction. There are at least three relationships involving sex outside of marriage, one resulting in the birth of a child, but no explicit sexual material is included. While there are eventually overtures of making things right, there is no clear statement of confession and repentance. There is mention of one character coming to know God and maturing her faith after a prolonged stay at a convent in Arizona, She does pray out of desperation, and does question whether or not she could marry someone who does not share her faith. Overall, the story does not carry a strong Christian message. 

     I truly enjoyed this book, and indeed the whole series. I would recommend it as a clean read, and am grateful to have received a copy from Bethany House via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, and received no monetary compensation.
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I will admit that the little I saw of Eloise Drake in the second book in this series, did not make me want to read anymore about her. But. I really like Elizabeth Camden so I decided to give it a try. So glad I did! My thoughts:

What I liked

Eloise, ironically enough. While her past (in reference to the second book) is briefly mentioned, most of this book presents a different side to Eloise than I had seen before. As always, Camden has crafted a very smart and a very talented heroine. She definitely has her quirks, but every layer of her personality works. She could have been annoying, instead she comes off as completely relatable. I liked everything about her. And, she’s a perfect foil for Alex.

Alex. Oh, Alex. Kudos to Camden for always managing to craft unique heroes. Alex is flamboyant and charismatic, caring and yet sometimes selfish (more on that later). But the thing I loved about him the most was that he was transparent. Alex didn’t play games or have secrets. He’s very straightforward…which leads me to the romance.

Romance. I liked the romance here because a) the foundation was…interesting (I’m going to leave it at that) and b) neither character played games. They were very honest with each other. It made for a romance that worked and for one that had a solid foundation. It’s always a joy when a couple can work together instead of against each other.

The plot. There’s a pretty neat twist in there. The book went from being about one thing to being about another. Typically, I would find this frustrating, but the twist had a very nice setup that made it all work together in the end.

History. I have never thought about what it would take to move a town or why that would be a thing that would ever happen. I feel like I learned so much and more than that, found myself completely invested in these people and their problems.

Spiritually, the characters pray and often reference God.

What I didn’t like

Alex had his moments. Camden can write some heroes who drive you crazy…because they aren’t perfect and they’re not trying to be. They do not always apologize for their actions, per se (or in a way I would like). The heroine has to just kind of decide if she’s going to take the bad with the good…which I guess is completely realistic. So, take that with a grain of salt.

Romantic scale: 7.5

Overall, a lot better than I had anticipated. I just really enjoyed this book.

** I received a copy from BethanyHouse through Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**
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This story begins with a shocking secret about the otherwise "perfect" heroine who is sent on assignment back to the people of her past. Clean romance is a hallmark of Elizabeth Camden's novels, but her stories contain mystery and intrigue that always take me by surprise. I love/hate getting to the end to find out the historical basis for the plot. I love the quote from the 1985 speech by New York City Mayor Ed Koch about how the NY aqueduct system was built on the sacrifices of upstate citizens. Although I haven't read the second book in the series, I was encouraged to read this one out of order. I hope I didn't discover something that I didn't want to know yet (but I think I did).
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Elizabeth Camden writes books to get lost in—books that pull the reader into another time and place, set in unique locations with captivating, unexpected plots. This book is an incredible story with a slowly building mystery, lots of interesting history, and characters that belong together but are too stubborn and have too much against them for it to be possible. I could not put this amazing book down!

The historical detail in this book is incredible; I haven’t read anything like it before. The idea of entire towns being demolished to create a reservoir for another city was appalling, despite the discussion of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. I loved reading about it, about the emotions and challenges, and the impossible hope that springs to mind as a solution to their problems.

The characters are flawed and relatable; the main ones have a difficult history, and that adds some depth and tension to the plotline. Alex and Eloise are very different people with opposing ways to look at the world and that leads to conflict in some places, beauty in others when they help each other grow. The secondary characters are surprisingly nuanced and add to the overall novel in more ways than I might have otherwise expected. 

Holding it all together is prose that is a pleasure to read and a message that needs to be heard. I love how the theme of hope, even when repeated blows have come, is gently woven throughout the narrative. It comes from different characters and in different forms, but the hope is always there, even when things look darkest. 

While technically part of a series, I was able to read it as a standalone novel with no problem. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for older teens and up. The characters, plot, and setting combine for a fantastic novel that is sure to be enjoyed by fans of historical fiction. Camden has cemented her place as one of my favorite authors, and this book will be joining her others on my keeper shelf!

I received a review copy of this book from the author and publisher but was under no obligation to post a positive review. The opinions expressed are both honest and my own.
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A Desperate Hope is a historical fiction romance novel by author Elizabeth Camden. I read the ARC ebook of this novel. The print novel was published on February 5, 2019. The setting was Duval Springs, early 1900’s.

The employees of the New York city water board want to obliterate the town of Duval Springs which would mean tearing down buildings and displacing thousands of people. Eloise Drake was not happy about this and none of the employees wanted to live in the town of Duval Springs for four months without decent plumbing and electricity.

This is a dual story between the proposed demolition of Duval Springs and a romance story of Eloise Drake and Alex Duval. My favorite character was Alex Duval who was a great leader, charming, and compassionate.

The story ends up being a gripping, mysterious tale, keeping me up past my bedtime to finish reading it. It kept me guessing and I didn’t figure out who the guilty party was until the story told me. I fell in love with the characters and they even seemed real at times.

I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction who like a little mystery.

Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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