Beyond The Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks _ Book Review

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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.

[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

Beyond the Lavender Fields 
is a historical romance set during the French Revolution by author Arlem Hawks.

“I do not wish to kiss you.”

Gilles Etienne and Marie-Caroline Daubin are two on different sides of the French Revolution, but the more encounters these two “enemies” have, a friendship begins to form. A friendship that slowly grows to mean more. Gilles is torn between his expectations as a Jacobin revolutionist and his moral feelings towards the political uproar around him. His love for Caroline has turned him into a better man, and he would risk everything to keep her safe, even if it means separating them from one another.

“For a moment , he could almost pretend he wasn’t a Jacobin and she a royalist. Tonight, he was just admiring the woman he’d given his heart to.”

I was fully invested in Gilles and Caroline’s story from the first moment they meet.
Their story is engaging with the perfect combination of risk and danger for the characters, emotion and sweet, flirty scenes. I loved that we were given both of their POVs and in a unique way. Gilles is told from the 3rd person POV but Caroline’s emotion and thoughts are in the form of the letters that she writes to her cousin and eventually to Gilles himself.

“I think I would rather have loved you and felt the magic of your love than to never have felt its fire.”

It’s not often that I knowingly reach for clean romance, but Arlem Hawks writing is wonderful and her characters charming. While this is a clean romance, it did not lack in love, passion, yearning and conflict over the feelings that these two characters had for each other. They go from tolerating one other to friends to hoping for a future where they could possibly be together. All their encounters and every almost kiss makes their final happily ever after moment satisfying.

In the end , Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks was a stunning historical romance that brought me through a range of emotions and left me with my heart full. I would add this book to my bookshelf in a heartbeat and can’t wait for future books by the author.

—Written by Amanda—

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