I’m always drawn in by a stunning cover – this one has just that! The Spice King involves a man who spends his time building a global spice empire and a junior botanist at the Smithsonian who happens to be female, that alone makes for a unique storyline. Set in 1901, this historical fiction read is full of information that you can tell the author did her research on. That made up for the slow progression in the first half of the book. The characters are well described and diverse in their backgrounds and upbringing. The interactions between Gray and Annabelle were always intriguing and kept you wondering how it was going to develop. While Annabelle’s character was charming, intelligent and strong, Gray’s character was a bit bland in my opinion. The romance fell a little flat and could have been deeper. The idea of devotion to country versus following your heart and those we love was very well written. The conflict is deep and complex both within the characters themselves and decisions they must make. Overall, the story was a bit slow going for me, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. I simply had to make more time and quiet space to read it. For those who like historical time period books, the historical information alone surrounding the agriculture and politics make this a fabulous read.