Book Review

ARC Book Review: Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Arlem Hawks
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

1792, France

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.

A bourgeoise and royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought.

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.

Thank you to the publisher for an ARC.

A GREAT READ.

That’s how I feel I can best bottle this one up. It was highly enjoyable and I found myself very much invested by the end hoping for a positive outcome.

I thought this romance was SO DANG SWEET. The way it started out had me laughing and I loved the progression. It’s slow, it’s full of feeling and you can feel Gilles and Marie-Caroline’s connection across the pages. I adored the tender things Gilles did for Marie-Caroline, how Caroline teased Gilles and the way they both protected and pushed each other outside of their confined boxes.

The setting was unique for me in regards to historical fiction and I love a good switch-up! I got to see a bit about the French revolution. I wish there was a bit more of that dynamic on a larger scale, but this small scale version in the seaside town did the trick. I also really liked a lot of the side characters. There’s a few you love to hate, but also people like Gilles father had me absolutely gleeful when they played a bigger role. There were many well thought out and well placed characters.

It’s a slower read, and one I didn’t mind had that facet. The writing is gorgeous and moves the plot along well. I love that this was from the hero’s point of view (with some small pieces from the heroine). Many things made this book unique and I highly recommend for historical fiction fans!

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: war themes, physical altercations
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion/use of guillotine, loss of a sibling, mob attacks

About the Author:

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications, with an emphasis in print journalism, and she lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

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