A Desperate Hope

A Desperate Hope

by Elizabeth Camden

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780764232107
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/05/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 150,750
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Camden is the author of twelve historical novels and two historical novellas and has been honored with both the RITA Award and the Christy Award. With a master's in history and a master's in library science, she is a research librarian by day and scribbles away on her next novel by night. She lives with her husband in Florida. Learn more at www.elizabethcamden.com.

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A Desperate Hope 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
Virginiaw 8 days ago
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.
J_Augustine 11 days ago
Can their differences bring them back together...? It's been awhile since I've read one of Elizabeth Camden's books. Too long, as A Desperate Hope is the third book in her Empire State series, which, is actually her first ever series. Maybe it was kind of dumb to start with the third book in a series but that's just how it turned out. Each book appears to be connected but can be read standalone. While I found myself time and again annoyed by Alex, the hero, I did find myself genuinely liking the heroine, Eloise. The real draw for me was the storyline. I have personal connection as I, too, live near an area where several towns were inundated by water when the dam was built. And I even know people who lost land and homes when the decision was made to flood the landscape. While probably not my favorite Elizabeth Camden novel I did find A Desperate Hope to be quite interesting. And the suspense angle was a good addition. (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)
lsnlj 17 days ago
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.
vics49548 20 days ago
Let’s cut to the chase, I loved this book. Author Elizabeth Camden always does a great job with her historical facts and I found this one so interesting. No spoilers here, but the “risky plan” was pretty incredible. This is book three in a trilogy. It’s not necessary to read the other two as this one stands alone just fine but I encourage you to read them. They’re really good! Camden’s characters are well developed and very likeable. They have flaws and suffer hardships just as we do. With a great plot twist through which we see perseverance and care for each other, and a romance that didn’t start out good at all, faith is a common thread throughout. Because this is Christian fiction I would have liked to see some repentance in a couple of high level characters, but life isn’t always that neatly wrapped up, is it? In all, this is a great story about overcoming insurmountable odds. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
MJK108 22 days ago
“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 Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.
AtyomenkoReader 22 days ago
Where can I begin?  I loved this conclusion to this series, but I would say that they could be read as stand alone books. You understand some more of the main character's story when you have read the previous two books, but you don't have to have read them.  First of all, the history. She knocks it out of the park with the history of an event that we don't know that much about. Water is the theme in all three books, and it continues here. The characters are flawed. In fact, there is not much to like about either of them in the beginning, but as you read, they grow on you.  Pain. Rejection. Love. Anger. Mystery. This book has all the elements intertwined and giving us a picture of what it would have been like for a woman in a position of power, but also for a man in power, but having to work with someone he cared for that no longer cares for him.  Romance? Yes, there is romance. But the focus of the book is the story with the romantic threads. I found that I wanted to follow the story, regardless of the romance.  I would recommend this series for older teens and adults that love unique historical books and want to have their fancy tickled to search for more details.  I obtained this book from the publisher. The opinions contained herein are my own. 
MelissaF 25 days ago
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. A copy of this book was given to me through Netgalley.com. All opinions are my own.
EElizabeth 26 days ago
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.
Anonymous 26 days ago
Paula Shreckhise’s review: A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden is book set in 1806 Upstate, New York. The New York City Water Board is clearing the town of Duval Springs in order to build a reservoir. Lots of interesting facts are woven into this story about the logistics and emotional upheaval of those involved, from the residents to the engineers. A seemingly impossible task is at hand. Can Eloise Drake and Alex Duval stop clashing enough to get the job done? Eloise, an accountant with the Water Board and Alex, the mayor of the town being displaced, have a less than pleasant history. Can they overcome their past in order to make the future brighter for the inhabitants of a small town displaced by big government? As an accountant, Eloise has ahead for numbers and relishes an ordered life. When circumstances throw her world off kilter, can she learn to adapt or use her strict expectations as an excuse to continue on her lonely path. Alex has a heart for his town and tries to help the people adapt to their fate. Ms Camden gets to the heart if the issues, showing the attitudes and emotions of people in upheaval. I had heard about towns being flooded for dams and reservoirs but this puts a personal slant on exactly what such a project would entail. Such interesting detail shows the author did rigorous research. The story did not just recount the logistical issues but brought some intriguing relationship dynamics and a mystery to be solved. I recommend this to readers who like the unusual in their historical Christian fiction. I loved learning from an excellent storyteller. *I recieved this complimentary book from the publisher on behalf of the author. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own. * Paula Shreckhise
Anonymous 26 days ago
Elizabeth Camden delivers again! In the final installment of the Empire State trilogy we are taken once again to Duval Springs in upstate New York. But this time the town is slated to be destroyed. Per usual, Camden's characters are rich and funny. Thanks to her thorough research I learned about the history of an area I didn't know about. A Desperate Hope had twists that I didn't see coming, and I'm hard to surprise! Elizabeth Camden never disappoints!
LoraineN 27 days ago
This was a compelling story of love and the industrious nature of humanity. I was drawn into the history of a dying small town standing in the way of progress. Eloise and Alex are on opposite ends of the personality spectrum. She is a planner and he is a risk taker. Together they balanced each other but until they began to work together, those opposing personalities were like watching magnets being pushed together at the same poles. 4 1/2 Stars - Full review is at my website. I received this book complimentary as a participant of the Prism Book Tour. I was not required to give a positive review. All of the opinions I have expressed here are my own.
WishEnd 28 days ago
A DESPERATE HOPE is a story of loss, desperation, love and what it means to be family. Readers won't be able to resist falling in love with this small town with all its quirks and charm. The people who live, fight, and love there make it the wonderful place it is and surround these two main characters as they try to navigate being on opposite sides of each other and then work to save this town. There are plenty of twists, a little danger, and a delightful romance to keep things interesting. If you're an historical romance, sweet romance, or inspirational romance fan, this story is highly recommended! From the first page I knew I was going to easily get into this story and that it was going to be good. It did not disappoint. I adored these characters, this town, and the struggle to save what they had. The story of a town being wiped away for a reservoir was quite intriguing, as were the other parts of this story that involved sabotage and danger as well as a light inspirational element. But, the part of the story that captured me the most were these characters. I loved the townspeople with all their individual personalities and how they interacted with each other. Even more, I loved Alex and Eloise who are both so different, but so perfect for each other. The romance was sweet, fun, with fabulous banter and chemistry. There were so many lines that I loved—little nuggets of wisdom that resonated with me or made me smile. Here is one that I especially adored because it really puts things into perspective and felt just right for this story where a detour of water was created in place of a town: "The detour that had been thrown into their lives ended up guiding him and Eloise exactly where they were meant to be." I did have one misgiving with the story. It was how easily Alex dismisses Eloise and what she desperately needs at one point, even being unwilling to help her in any way. I could see things from Alex's perspective, but it was fairly unforgivable and yet Eloise forgives him easily. I felt like that could have been worked through a little more, maybe Alex addressing that better. Although, I loved this story regardless. In the end, was it what I wished for? I loved this story! If you enjoy small-town charm, a slue of unforgettable characters, a desperate fight for survival, some suspense, and an exciting romance, then definitely pick this up! You will love every minute. Content: Some innuendo and references to love scenes as well as some violence, but no descriptive details. Clean. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Prism Book Tours, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
Librarycataloger 28 days ago
As I read A Desperate Hope I was struck by the fact that in 1908 a young woman in New York City was enjoying a successful career as a CPA and auditor for the state of New York. Eloise Drake was also living a straight-laced life in an effort to atone for a mistake that she made as a teenager. What she doesn't count on is being sent to Duval Springs to help in the project that will eventually demolish that town so that a huge reservoir can be built to furnish water for New York City. Eloise once lived near Duval Springs and it was there, as a teenager, that she experienced her first love affair. Now, her first love is the mayor of Duval Springs and he is determined to protect the town that he loves. Eloise's mathemetical genius knows that this project is feasible but her heart allows her to understand why the people of Duval Springs want to save their town. There are so many facets to this story. Young love, the embarassment and shame of being judged, the loss of innocence. There is also murder, mystery and the question of parentage but what I loved most is the presence of hope. Alex Duval was hopeful that Eloise would join his fight to save Duval Springs and Eloise hoped that her efforts would help because she realized that he and the citizens deserved to keep their homes. As they began to work together Eloise began to understand that God had made her a planner and Alex a dreamer. Loving each other again might not be possible but this was okay because "It was simply the way God had made them, and the world needed both sorts to succeed". I truly enjoyed reading this book and the fact that it is actually based on true events made it even better. There truly were several small towns in New York that were forced to either dissolve or to relocate so that The Ashokan Reservoir could be built. As I read the town people's determined efforts I thought how I would feel knowing that the small rural town that I grew up in might soon be displaced and I could imagine their desperation. A Desperate Hope is wonderful historical fiction filled with hope and faith. Author Elizabeth Camden reminds us that no one is beyond redemption and that forgiveness is possible for everyone. She shows Eloise and Alex's growth from their past hurts and she allows other characters to change also. The way that she chooses to end A Desperate Hope is a wonderful testament to the power of love, both human and divine! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House and was not required to write a positive review.
BethErin 29 days ago
This story will resonate with those of us who call big-hearted small towns “home” as well as anyone who loves to cheer for the underdog. Camden skillfully crafts complex characters into a rich story of history, romance, mystery, and suspense. Eloise has a painful backstory which enables her to achieve professional success yet leaves her feeling insecure and unmoored. Alex is a former soldier turned small-town mayor. He’s the equivalent of the captain of a sinking ship. The fictional town of Duval Springs may very well be my favorite character in this story and I have no doubt that its dedicated citizens would wholeheartedly agree. A Desperate Hope is an engaging and entertaining story and I’ll definitely be hunting down the other books in the series! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and was under no obligation to post a review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Sprinkle23 29 days ago
A Desperate Hope is the third installment in Elizabeth Camden's Empire State series, but can be read as a stand-alone story. I savored this well-written novel and its combination of romance, adventure, enterprise, and mystery. Of all the novel's good qualities, I think I enjoyed the characters the most. Eloise and Alex were so different. Their personalities juxtaposed each other, yet they balanced and complemented each other without one being inferior to the other. Their snappy conversation and delightful flirtation both amused me and deepened my interest in the novel. As the story progressed, the characters developed as their weak areas grew stronger. Likewise, the relationship between Alex and Eloise deepened past flirtation to mature into a true partnership of mind and heart. The story's secondary characters were also well-crafted. I especially liked the author's treatment of Bruce Garrett and the fact that I didn't know the mysterious culprit until the big reveal near the end. For me, the characters, their development, and the conflicted relationships shined brightest in this novel. I recommend A Desperate Hope by Elizabeth Camden to readers looking for an engaging historical fiction story of faith, relationships, and community. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. 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."
swissgranny 3 months ago
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.
Phyllis_H 3 months ago
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. Read with a Preview at AmongTheReads.net I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.
bmrawlins 3 months ago
Another great read from Elizabeth Camden. Eloise and Alex are real, relatable characters. I love that their story is not all cherries and roses. They’ve made some poor decisions in life and find the grace and strength to overcome and not be defined by their choices. I do love the story of redemption and second chances. The nod to previous characters is always a delight, but not necessary to read and enjoy this book.
Lattebooks 3 months ago
Wow, what a deeply layered and entertaining story! So much goes on with secrets, mystery and heart tugging sorrow. Very well written with engaging secondary characters who make up town and friends. I loved the story line of Eloise and that she was a math geek during a time when women weren’t welcomed in those areas. Alex loved her for who she was and they both had to deal with a past that intruded on life. Small town life at its best in this story! This author did it so well that you feel a part of this town and the trouble they are going through. Beautiful love story and not your everyday romance! I got the book from the publisher and was not required to leave a review.
JeanneAC 3 months ago
I have followed this series from the beginning, and loved it! Yet each book can be read as a stand- alone book as well. I love historical fiction, and this book captures the era of building a reservoir in upstate New York, which consequently meant having to dismantle several towns in its path. How this changed people’s lives so completely is hard to fathom. They had to move not only away from their homes, but their communities as well. In real life, some of the smaller towns were able to relocate to higher ground, but many could not. In A Desperate Hope, the fictional town of Duval Springs brings to life this particular time period. Elizabeth Camden paints of vivid picture of an idyllic small town losing its battle against the state and progress, and how they cope with the fact that their way of life will exist no more. The author also adds strong female characters, good guys, villains, mystery, past mistakes, family dynamics, and romance along the way. You don't want to miss the conclusion to Elizabeth Camden's Empire State series!
Faye_reviews 3 months ago
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."
K Goshorn 3 months ago
What a fantastic introduction to new-to-me author, Elizabeth Camden. Camden’s voice is lovely. She paints scenes beautifully for the reader and her prose flow effortlessly through the novel carrying the reader on a delightful journey back in time. Camden’s heroine, Eloise Drake, is smart, efficient and logical. Unfortunately for Eloise, the man who makes her heart pound, Alex Duval, is a romantic dreamer with a larger-than-life vision to save his beloved town of Duval Springs before its flooded to make a reservoir to provide water to New York City. Everything in Eloise’s play-it-safe, number crunching, CPA mind knows it’s an impossible task, but she longs to live an adventure like the ones she’s spent her whole life reading about. Of course this is exactly the kind of opposites-attract-chemistry that will leave the reader with great angst wondering when these two will finally mange to get together. As a helpless romantic, I was drawn to Alex immediately. I loved his “nothing will keep me down” attitude. I thought Eloise was the perfect balance for Alex, providing just enough sense and responsibility to keep Alex on track to achieve his dream of saving the town—his perfect “ballast.” Just like any good couple, Alex’s risk-taking nature helped draw Eloise out of her protective shell and encouraged her to not only take a chance on his crazy scheme to relocate Duval Springs, but to risk her heart on Alex himself one more time. I was mesmerized by the historical facts and technical details that Camden wove into the story. Everything from accounting details like evaluating the value of condemned properties and project costs to the mechanics of raising a building from its foundation. While Duval Springs is a fictional town, Camden was inspired by true life events that occurred in upstate New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Instead of allowing their towns to be flooded, residents painstakingly relocated their towns board by board, building by building to higher ground. The author also wove many suspenseful elements into the story. I do not want to give any spoilers here but I must say that I was surprised as to the motives of those involved in sabotaging the town’s relocation efforts. Once the guilty culprits came to light, I realized the author had skillfully laid the trail of tiny bread crumbs leading me right where she wanted to me go, clues I hadn’t put together. I was delighted to not have figured out “the who and why” ahead of the story. As for the setting, Duval Springs is the type of quintessential fictional town you’d like to be real. Like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove or Jan Karon’s Mitford, Duval Springs leaps to life filled with secondary characters that become your friends and have you routing for them to overcome every obstacle that this seemingly impossible task presents. Of Duval Springs Camden writes, “…get to church on Sunday morning to thank God for the blessing of being born in a place like Duval Springs, where we laugh, work, and cry together.” When I signed up to read A Desperate Hope as part of its tour with Prism Book Tours, I didn’t know it was third book in the Empire State series. In fact, I had read more than a hundred pages before I saw the advertisements in the back of the novel for the previous two books. The story flowed that well that I can highly recommend it as a stand alone. I was received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous 3 months ago
What a fantastic introduction to new-to-me author, Elizabeth Camden. Camden’s voice is lovely. She paints scenes beautifully for the reader and her prose flow effortlessly through the novel carrying the reader on a delightful journey back in time. Camden’s heroine, Eloise Drake, is smart, efficient and logical. Unfortunately for Eloise, the man who makes her heart pound, Alex Duval, is a romantic dreamer with a larger-than-life vision to save his beloved town of Duval Springs before its flooded to make a reservoir to provide water to New York City. Everything in Eloise’s play-it-safe, number crunching, CPA mind knows it’s an impossible task, but she longs to live an adventure like the ones she’s spent her whole life reading about. Of course this is exactly the kind of opposites-attract-chemistry that will leave the reader with great angst wondering when these two will finally mange to get together. As a helpless romantic, I was drawn to Alex immediately. I loved his “nothing will keep me down” attitude. I thought Eloise was the perfect balance for Alex, providing just enough sense and responsibility to keep Alex on track to achieve his dream of saving the town—his perfect “ballast.” Just like any good couple, Alex’s risk-taking nature helped draw Eloise out of her protective shell and encouraged her to not only take a chance on his crazy scheme to relocate Duval Springs, but to risk her heart on Alex himself one more time. I was mesmerized by the historical facts and technical details that Camden wove into the story. Everything from accounting details like evaluating the value of condemned properties and project costs to the mechanics of raising a building from its foundation. While Duval Springs is a fictional town, Camden was inspired by true life events that occurred in upstate New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Instead of allowing their towns to be flooded, residents painstakingly relocated their towns board by board, building by building to higher ground. The author also wove many suspenseful elements into the story. I do not want to give any spoilers here but I must say that I was surprised as to the motives of those involved in sabotaging the town’s relocation efforts. Once the guilty culprits came to light, I realized the author had skillfully laid the trail of tiny bread crumbs leading me right where she wanted to me go, clues I hadn’t put together. I was delighted to not have figured out “the who and why” ahead of the story. As for the setting, Duval Springs is the type of quintessential fictional town you’d like to be real. Like Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Walnut Grove or Jan Karon’s Mitford, Duval Springs leaps to life filled with secondary characters that become your friends and have you routing for them to overcome every obstacle that this seemingly impossible task presents. Of Duval Springs Camden writes, “…get to church on Sunday morning to thank God for the blessing of being born in a place like Duval Springs, where we laugh, work, and cry together.” When I signed up to read A Desperate Hope as part of its tour with Prism Book Tours, I didn’t know it was third book in the Empire State series. In fact, I had read more than a hundred pages before I saw the advertisements in the back of the novel for the previous two books. The story flowed that well that I can highly recommend it as a stand alone. I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own thoughts.
KMarkovich 3 months ago
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.
amybooksy 3 months ago
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.