Staff Picks: "Prince Albert" & "The Spice King"

Shepherd Park (Juanita E. Thornton) Library

Staff Picks: "Prince Albert" & "The Spice King"

A German prince who influenced his adopted nation. A junior botanist is asked to spy. Here are two well-written titles, non-fiction and fiction, I enjoyed reading this month. Copies of the books are available to check out from the library system.

Prince Albert: the Man Who Saved the Monarchy by A.N. Wilson
In this new biography, the author details the life of Prince Albert, husband and consort of Queen Victoria. Growing up in a small German duchy, young Albert received a fine education, attended a university and toured the European continent. In February 1840, Albert married his cousin Queen Victoria of Great Britain. The match had been planned for some years by their families. Over the next two decades, Albert tirelessly worked on behalf of his adopted nation. He was also a major influence in foreign diplomacy and world affairs. Albert's death in 1861 devastated Victoria but his accomplishments would continue throughout Great Britain and beyond. I learned a lot about Albert reading this book! Plates of archival photos and full color images accompany the text. This book is the companion to the author's Victoria: A Life published in 2014.

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden
In 1900 Washington, D.C., Annabelle Larkin, a junior botanist at the Smithsonian Institution, had been trying unsuccessfully to get a sample of vanilla orchid. Gray Delacroix, owner of a successful spice business, owns the vanilla orchid but refuses to let anyone have it. He does allow Annabelle to visit his greenhouses in Alexandria, VA and becomes attracted to her. When Annabelle is asked to spy on Gray because of his political views, her work sets off a chain of events with implications at home and aboard. A well-written and researched read. It was interesting to read about the District at the beginning of the 20th century. A historical note follows the text.