Beyond the Lavender Fields – Review

by Arlem Hawks

Publisher : Shadow Mountain (February 1, 2022)
Language : English
Hardcover : 384 pages
ISBN-10 : 1629729353
ISBN-13 : 978-1629729350

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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 in a world that forces people to choose sides. 


bookcover

I love Arlem Hawks’ writing. Her book last year, Georgana’s Secret, was one of my favorite books of the entire year.

I just didn’t feel as drawn in to Beyond the Lavender Fields. Maybe because of everything the world is going through right now, but this book just wasn’t my favorite. I love the historical fiction aspects of what I read, but this had a touch too much of the political plotline. It seemed much more focused on the politics and less on the characters and other themes.

There were some really excellent messages in the book. It is not just about what we are fighting for, but how we are fighting for it.

This is still an extremely well written book about the French Revolution, but it just wasn’t for me.

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