Series: Hope and Glory #2
Published by Bethany House on June 2, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Historical, Romance
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Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the First Lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she's hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.
Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president's Secret Service team. He is immediately attracted to Caroline's quick wit and undeniable charm, but his job leaves no room for distractions. Anarchist plots have led to mounting threats against the president, forcing him to put duty before his growing love for Caroline.
Amid the glamorous pageantry of Guilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel face danger and heartbreak that shakes them to their core and tests all they know about love and sacrifice.
Elizabeth Camden’s A Gilded Lady is the continuing saga of the Delacroix siblings. This second book in the Hope and Glory series focuses on the beautiful Caroline. In the first book, The Spice King, you briefly meet her, but barely get to know her. I really wasn’t sure what I thought of her. (Well, really, I didn’t like her–In the first book, she’s portrayed as nothing but a spoiled rich society girl.)
To be completely honest, I didn’t really like her in the beginning of this book, either. (She does however grow on you…) Caroline is quite a character. Strong willed, beautiful, dazzling, and definitely used to getting her own way. In a strange twist of fate, she of course meets her complete opposite in Nathaniel Trask. He is a delightfully mysterious hero of this story. Trask is very much straight-laced and by the book. In spite of the immediate attraction between these two, there is also so much conflict, because of their very different personalities.
Elizabeth Camden does have a way with words. In this book, she very nicely accomplishes the task of making a seemingly unlikeable heroine into a treasured, if somewhat favored, character. Somehow, Caroline managed to work her way into my good graces, and I found myself sad when I reached the end of this story.
Caroline has the unique position of being a personal assistant/secretary to First Lady Ida McKinley. This President’s wife is portrayed in what I am guessing a very true-to-life manner, and shown for the rather difficult person she must have been. (This book left me wondering what amazing real person actually did hold the position given to Ms. Delacroix) Caroline knows just how to handle her, and is one of the few people Mrs. McKinley actually trusts.
I loved all the little historical tidbits woven into this story, and feel like I learned quite a lot about McKinley’s time as President. Then there’s also the mystery found in this book, about Caroline’s brother Luke, who sits, rotting away in a Cuban prison. Caroline is determined to rescue him, but for some reason, Luke is equally determined to declare his guilt.
Mystery and intrigue, danger, history, and romance are all intertwined and create an absolutely lovely story.