Along a Breton Shore

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Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 20 Jun 2023

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A soldier must choose between his heart’s desire or his duty to country in this gripping novel of friendship and survival.

Maxence Étienne believes fiercely in the Revolution and longs for his name to be listed among the heroes bringing liberty to France. It’s been almost two years of non-stop war, but the monarchy has fallen, and he’s beginning to see the changes so many of his countrymen have fought for. With war still raging, Maxence is transferred from Paris to the port city of Nantes, a hotbed of counterrevolutionaries, to help stamp out rebellion against the new republic.

Maxence is called upon to settle a disturbance between a priest and a young counterrevolutionary woman—Armelle Bernard. The argument with the priest escalates, ending in an order for Armelle’s immediate execution.

Maxence has seen his share of violence and bloodshed, but he can’t kill a woman whose only crime is taunting a clergyman. While helping her escape, he is forced to kill a fellow soldier and ends up imprisoned by the same revolutionaries he had sworn his allegiance to. When Armelle risks her life to free him, the two become fugitives. Now they must find a way to rise above their prejudices and learn to trust each other as they struggle to find a path to peace, and to freedom.
A soldier must choose between his heart’s desire or his duty to country in this gripping novel of friendship and survival.

Maxence Étienne believes fiercely in the Revolution and longs for his name to...

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Featured Reviews

While the love story was sweet and had a good slow burn buildup, I felt the surrounding story fell flat. I craved more action, more history, and more passion!

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Set during the French Revolution, is the contrast of a soldier set to defend the new republic with gusto and a young hopeful woman trying to survive amidst the oppression. When his orders are to dispose of her, he can't do it and must face the consequences.

He's been hardened by war and doesn't remember the last time he was shown compassion. She can't figure out why he'd save her, so she decides to rescue him. They go on the run together, opposites as hot and cold, but in getting to know each other their fondness grows. Decisions about their future will depend on reconciling hurts from the past, if they can face them.

So much suspense in this well crafted story. It's my second by the author and I'll easily pick up another by her.

* A big thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.

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I started reading "Along a Breton Shore" not knowing it was a kind of sequel to "Beyond the Lavender Fields", but I fell in love with this second book as quickly as the first! (It can also be read as a stand-alone.)

In 1794 France, Maxence Étienne, a revolutionary from Marseille and the brother of Gilles from "Beyond the Lavender Fields", is sent to Nantes with the army to stop the rebellion against the new republic. A loyal soldier, he would do anything for the new republic... except kill an innocent young woman, even though she may be a counterrevolutionary. When he helps Armelle Bernard escape, he is immediately imprisoned. Armelle risks her life to help him escape, and they both have to flee Nantes. Along the Breton shores, avoiding both soldiers and counterrevolutionaries, these two young people that have so little in common might find in the other the person they cannot live without.

I absolutely loved this book. The two main characters are rich, detailed, strong, complex and credible. Their evolution, especially that of Maxence, are realistic and interesting. I was a little scared of the number of protagonists listed at the beginning of the book, but it's very easy to keep track of who is who. The secondary characters are interesting but mostly stay in the background.

The decor is not as "visually" rich and vivid as the previous book, but it does provide us with a lot of context about the revolution and counterrevolution. The plot was good, although the first/second part (in Nantes and on the road) could have been a little shorter and the third part (in St Malo) could have been a little longer. I also regretted that some parts were not too credible (the escape from the prison, all the things that happen on the road in quick succession, the disguise with the dress...) but the delightful dialogues more than made up for it. The chemistry between the two characters was excellent, one of the best romances I have read (it made me spill a little tear!).

The use of French words and phrases is nearly perfect (and I say this as a native French speaker), although I once again got a bit scared when I saw the list of all the French and Breton words at the beginning! (I'm pretty sure most of them are understandable with the context though). And as a native speaker, I found their English pronunciation pretty hilarious—but also such a good idea to include it in the book, and to use French names, surnames, etc. rather than names that could do in both languages.

It was also great to include a final history section that provides a bit more context about the revolution in France and Brittany/Bretagne, and explains where creative licence was taken. A small map of Bretagne would have been welcome too.

Lastly, the book cover and title are great, and I appreciate the subtle similarities with the first book. I can only hope that Arlem Hawks will soon write another book in this series—or just any other book, as at that point, I would read anything from her!

Finally, the one thing I cannot easy forgive is the disappearance of you-know-who-if-you've-read-the-two-books. And honestly, the one thing I disliked most about this book is that I couldn't put it down and read it until early in the morning! And now, I have a book hungover.

*I received an e-ARC and this is my honest opinion*

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Another great historical novel from Arlem Hawks, I had enjoyed the previous book Beyond the Lavendar Fields. This book had what I enjoyed from the previous book and I think it was a stronger plot. I really enjyoed getting to know the characters and their world. I was invested in what was going on and enjoyed getting to know Maxence Étienne. I'm excited to see where Arlem Hawks goes next.

"Étienne extracted himself from the four-year-old, the ghost of a grin on his lips, which he quickly banished when he caught Armelle watching. They bid farewell to the little family and set off down the road. To avoid potential meetings with the soldiers housed in town, they skirted around it before meeting the north road. Somehow it felt so natural, walking side by side. Like they’d returned to their normal routine, even though they had spent more days recovering at the Colberts’ than they had walking to Savenay."

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I really enjoyed this one. It was a great follow-up to Beyond the Lavender Fields! The romance was good, and I learned more about the later parts of the French Revolution. I didn’t give it full stars because the plot got a little slow, and there was some unnecessary drama caused by characters making dumb decisions BUT I loved that each character felt real and had their own strengths/weaknesses. I’d read this one again in the future!

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A good and entertaining read but I felt the romance took over the historical side of the storyline. Some parts felt a bit repetitive, and the end was for me too rushed as though the author wanted to quickly finish the novel. I found his afterword very interesting though, as much then was explained about the historical background.
I received a complimentary ARC of this novel from NetGalley and I am leaving voluntarily an honest review.

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4.5 stars

I totally fell in love with this clean historical romance!

Armelle (aside from having a pretty name) is a strong willed character who lets her passions/emotions drive her, even though they often get her into trouble. She wants to keep her family safe, even if that means becoming separated from them.

Maxence wants to make a difference in the world (and be recognized for it). Still, he has a moral compass and refuses to kill Armelle when ordered to do so. Maxence is so sweet and charming!!!

I loved the backdrop of the French Revolution as it added an extra layer of ... romance to the story. I LOVE stories about the French revolution, especially when they show love interests with differing beliefs on the revolution!

I appreciated that the book had a pronunciation guide; I needed it. I would've loved it if it included a map (even though some of the cities were fictional), though.

My main complaint is that the story got a bit slow in the middle. Even though they were on the run, it never felt like they were too close to getting caught.

I would highly recommend this sweet, historical, clean romance!!!

I received an ARC copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I made the mistake of requesting this book without having read Arlem’s previous book. While I did start this, I didn’t want to finish it because it would’ve given away things from Beyond the Lavender Fields.
What I did read I loved so much. Arlem has such a way of making history come alive and putting you right in the middle of everything. I love her characters and the plot lines she comes up with. I cannot wait to finish this!

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This is my favorite Arlem Hawks book yet! War is raging in France. Armelle is caught in a disturbance and Maxence allows her to flee rather than follow orders to end her life. Another soldier is accidentally killed in the process, and Maxence is jailed. Armelle, feeling an obligation to save her unexpected helper, hatches a daring plan to free him. Now they must help each other find safety.

I wasn’t a fan of Maxence from the previous book, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy his story. It was good to hear his point of view and see his growth throughout the book. And Armelle was spirited and independent and a lovely thorn in Maxence’s side. Ha!

Not gonna lie, the pronunciation/terms guides at the beginning are a little intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. This is a great love story, but it isn’t without tragedy, so be prepared.

Thank you, Netgalley for the arc in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was stunning! The plot was well-paced and captivating from start to finish. The characters were well-developed; complex, and intriguing. I highly recommend this beautiful telling of the power of love. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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I love this author and I loved this book. AH writes heartfelt stories with endearing romance and always an adventure. I liked the h and H so much. Armelle was everything I like to see in a female character and I loved her personality. Max was the handsome, broody character that you can’t help but notice. I smiled a lot and really liked the dude characters.
This novel told a lot about our human nature and how we reconcile are beliefs and freedoms. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
Shadow Mountain via NetGalley.

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This was a perfect blend of historical fiction and romance. I don’t know much about this period in history so I was worried I would get lost when politics came up, but the author managed it very well-I didn’t feel lost or confused, but I also didn’t feel like I was getting a history lesson.
The MCs were so likable. Max! I loved the way they meet-that meeting seems to kind of define what kind of person he is, even if he forgets occasionally. So so good!

The epilogue wrapped everything in a nice neat bow. But…. I want to hear more about You Know Who from the previous book-I really hope that story is continued. (Vague to avoid spoilers, if ya know ya know 😉)

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I just— wow!!! Wow! Friends. I don’t have the words to describe the beauty of this book. I’m going on 4 hours of sleep right now because I stayed up and binged the rest of the book (I was at 50% last night) and I know on this little sleep I can’t give my review of this book justice, so I’ll pause for the moment. But! I’m on a major reading high and had to tell everyone that I’m saying this book will be my top favorite this year. It’s the middle of January and I’m calling it now. It’s definitely in my top 2 books of all time (#1 historical) and I’m looking forward to reading this story.
It made me laugh, it gave me allll the butterflies, I giggled at the flirting (yep. I went there) and I most definitely cried my eyes out.
LOVE this book. Absolutely loved it.
Pick it up now. (Although I truly believe you will love it 100000x more if you read the first book, Beyond the Lavender fields first)

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I just completed the book Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks, and this is the first book I’ve read by this author. The story follows Maxence Etienne and Armelle Bernard. Maxence Étienne believes fiercely in the Revolution and longs for his name to be listed among the heroes bringing liberty to France.
Maxence impresses upon me as someone who wants to belong. He never felt that he belongs anywhere. Not in his family, where his mother dotes on his younger brother, not with his father as a mariner, and through the pages of this book, not as a soldier. When Maxence is called upon to settle a disturbance between a priest and a young counterrevolutionary woman—Armelle Bernard, the argument with the priest escalates, ending in an order for Armelle’s immediate execution. Maxence has demons and refuses to murder her. From this pivotal decision, we follow Maxence and Armelle as they try to escape the city and meet family somewhere else.
Armelle is so likable, congenial, and fearless, and that’s easy to see why these characters bump heads and often disagree on the fundamentals of humanity. But then, as the story unfolds, it becomes a love story, and you get to watch these two people from different walks of life find balance.

I appreciated the historical aspects of this book as well. I never knew much about the French Revolution and wasn’t aware that there were different factions in the country that all had opinions on moving the country forward with no monarchy.

I would highly recommend this book and look for more books by this author.

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Arlem Hawks does it again! I fell in love with the first book and this one was no different. We have a beautiful view into history and the injustices the people faced but also get to see the beauty in the story at the same time. Plus I love a good romance!

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Quick Summary of Rating:
This book is a solid 4.5. 5 stars for the great story and characters and their development, but -.5 for the not always clear historical/situational descriptions.

Always so fun and refreshing to read a historical fiction book that is about a moment and place in history that I have some, but not extensive familiarity. The romance was wonderful. No insta-love harps and cupids immediately happening here. I loved how the characters were so human, almost to such a truly unlikeable level that is not too often found in this genres. Yet, you see the slow bit steady growth in character that it makes them both likable and relatable. My favorite stories include character growth. I feel this adds a real depth and reality to a story, as well as makes it more thought provoking and introspective for the reader.

Only negative is that sometimes the historical/situational descriptions weren’t always written in a way that were easy to follow. I had to do a lot of rereading of some of those parts, and some I still never fully understood or just kept reading if I was tired of rereading sections trying to understand each detail that wasn’t making sense to me. I have to acknowledge the difficulty of the task for an author to weave in the historical information in a way that isn’t dry and stuff or “telling” the audience so it doesn’t come off like there’s a narrator voice in the story. But, I have read many historical books where a smoothness has been achieved. In wish I could give more constructive feedback on what specifically those authors did, but because it was so seamless I didn’t even notice.

This is the third book of Arlem Hawks’ that I’ve read. I’ve given all of them 4 stars thus far. Excited to keep reading anything she has and will pen. I received an ARC copy of this book for an honest review.

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This book is simply amazing! It is so well-crafted, from the vivid characters to the authentic history setting. I always love reading anything from Arlem Hawks, and this book delivers on every level. I loved the connections to previous books (even if my heart broke a little). One of my favorite things is how skillfully written the main characters are - they don’t agree on most things, and fall on opposing sides of the political discussion of their time. However, when they each argue their case, the reader can feel their conviction and see both sides of the debate. I highly recommend for readers of historical fiction!

I received a copy from the publisher through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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Well, this made me so happy I read historical romance because it gave everything I love about it and in wonderful proportion: firmly focused on the couple’s romantic journey but very much intertwined with historic events, culture and language. I love a simple Regency ballroom story, but when a historical romance has an extensive glossary and has me constantly googling different sides of history and places I don’t know that much about, I just get particularly nerdcited. My first read from this author, the writing is very seamlessly transporting, and I enjoyed it inmmensely.

The trope/characterization combo was everything: mutual rescuing, perilous forced roadtrip with a philosophically at odds grumpy/sunshine dynamic, a good portion of fake marriage (oh my word, that first “ ma femme” *swoon*), one barn floor and one bed (all very awkwardly innocent), plus he falls first. Max is pretty woe-is-me for most of it, and Armelle has her impetuous TSTL moments, but the way our formerly rakish, formerly ideallistic, now jaded and insecure revolutionary soldier goes from guilt-ridden and stoic to learning to accept help and open up thanks to the unrelenting, aggravating chipping away by this teasingly combative and compassionate carpenter’s daughter was so fun and lovely to see.

The absorbing main story and its resolution, with its arc of our hero reconciling his past and his sense of value, opening his eyes to kindness beyond differences and forgiveness for himself and others, plus our heroine’s maturing and own realizations, was five star the whole way for me. However, no spoilers, but I can’t not mention that there was a pretty big damper on that third act for me. If I had read Beyond the Lavender Fields before this (this book takes place after and is the story of that hero’s older brother) I would’ve been very crushed at revealed continuing events for that couple. I tried to separate that from how this story ends so satisfyingly, but alas, dashed hopes that a different choice had been made to bring about the same softening of hearts just brought down my HEA fulfillment for everyone involved.

All in all, I’m so glad I read this, and if you love a generous dose of history with your tropey adventure romance, you won’t want to miss this epic journey…along a Breton shore (Had to).

Very grateful to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to read this as an ARC.

Content: Great tension, kissing only. Constant peril and some not very graphic acts of war violence.

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Arlem always writes such fun historically rich books. I’m always happy when I’ve read an enjoyable book and come away with new knowledge of a certain time period. The romance was also well done and not over the top. It is a good balance that keeps you intrigued and not skipping over boring historical passages or romance drama. I would highly recommend to historical fiction readers.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain and NetGalley for a ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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ALONG A BRETON SHORE follows on after Beyond the Lavender Hills by ARLEM HAWKS, and it is an equally beautiful novel which takes place in France in 1792 during the French Revolution, with the Jacobins, Chouans and Sans-Culottes, all against the counter-revolutionaries, but also fighting one another. The author portrays the horror and confusion of the time, with no one more confused than Maxence Etienne, who feels unloved by his family, let down by his brother Gilles, and guilty for the death of his best friend Emile Daubin.. A member of the barbourous Federes, he is determined to make his mark in the new French Republic. When he is called upon to shoot the beautiful Armelle Bernard for her altercation with an ungodly Catholic priest, who was the cause of her father’s imprisonment, he refuses and is himself imprisoned in the dreaded Coffee Warehouse Jail.
Armelle, who is counter revolutionary, although not a fan of the Royalistes, is as talkative and funny as Maxence is depressed and morose……
There is such a lot more to this story, in which the author has caught the essence of France and the French in this terrible time of history, but I am not goingnto tell you any more for fear of spoiling things for you.
This is an exciting book, based on solid historical facts, with a beautiful romance and unforgettable characters, and I found it inspirational. I highly recommend Along a Breton Shore to anyone who enjoys a good historical romance.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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So so so so good!!!
If you loved Beyond the Lavender Fields you’re going to love this one!

This author has such a way of wedding history and romance and it’s beautiful!!

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Armelle and Etienne find themselves on opposite sides politically, but also indebted to each other for their very lives. This is the story of how their differences begin to fall away as they get to know each other and rely on each other. We have a little enemies to lovers meets grumpy/sunshine story within the context of the French Revolution!

I LOVED this book! Arlen Hawks did an amazing job of showing that we all have light and darkness inside of us, that the answers to the problems of humanity are rarely simple with clear answers, and that love can live even among those who disagree. So many beautiful messages for our time wound up in this wonderful story!

I received an ARC from #netgalley , all enthusiastic opinions are entirely my own!

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Arlem Hawks is a good storyteller. I've read all her books to date and have enjoyed all of them. War stories aren't usually my thing because I like to read light and fluffy for the most part but I'll read Ms. Hawks.
This historical fiction was dramatic. It is a love story, definitely opposites attract, but the setting of the French Revolution gives it a darker feel. War is like that.
Maxence is not a very likeable character in the beginning but even so we see his humanity right off so the readers knows he can be redeemed. I loved watching his growth through the book. Armelle is likeable but she learns along the way as well. These two manage to save each other multiple times over the course of the book, both physically and emotionally.
I liked that the author showed us both sides of the war. We saw that both sides had valid reasons for their beliefs. I found myself wondering which side I would have been on.
I also found myself wondering how these two could ever have a happily ever after. Would this be a historical fiction story where one or both dies or would they walk away because their lives are just too different? Would I be able to bear it if it that happened? I don't like sad endings. There was only way way to find out and that was to keep reading.
Enjoyable read.

Sex: some innuendo
Language: no
Violence: yes

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4.5 ⭐️

This book seriously surprised me! First, because from the title, I immediately thought of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia… not France. Oops. Once that was quickly cleared up, everything was peachy! Second, I’m not a huge French Revolution fan, but I actually really enjoyed this book!

Armelle & Max caught my heart. They’re an amazing couple and balance each other out so well. I’m not usually a redeemed playboy fan, but combined with the tortured hero, it worked well here. Armelle is witty, spunky, and full of sunshine, while Max is grumpy, protective, and struggles with loneliness & guilt in his past. It has an enemies-to-lovers feel with a dash of the fake relationship to it (Armelle & Max are on the run & pretend to be married, nothing untoward happens). I loved them. And Quéré the priest was a favourite—such a sweet and kind fatherly figure!

The plot is intense with plenty of high stakes, and left me feeling so glad I didn’t live in this era, haha.

All in all, it gave me a new appreciation for the era! And apparently Max’s brother Gilles has a book, too, so I’m definitely going to read that!!

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

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It was a treat to revisit the Etienne family with this follow up to Beyond the Lavender Fields!

Clean historical romance is always a win for me and this one did not disappoint.

Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this one early!

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Arlem Hawks transports the reader to the perilous time of the French Revolution with "Along a Breton Shore", its action taking place after her previous novel "Beyond the Lavender Fields". Filled with danger and intrigue, this novel features Maxence Étienne, dedicated revolutionary and brother to Gilles, the hero from the first book. Abdicating his orders to kill Armelle Bernard, Max is imprisoned. After a daring and clever jailbreak, they go on the run, pursued by revolutionaries.

Hawks paints a vivid picture of revolutionary France. While Armelle is a lighthearted soul from the beginning, Maxence is gruff and not very likable at first. His character growth is impressive, which is all the more apparent if, like me, one has read "Beyond the Lavender Fields". Secondary characters are interesting and keep the plot moving forward. Rabid revolutionary Martel from the first book makes an appearance.

The author's historical research is evident here. Learning more about a particular time period is always a positive for me. "Constitutional priest" and "Chouan" are terms that have increased my understanding of this violent time.

Arlem Hawks's prose is lovely and flows well. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. However, there is an absolutely unwelcome and sad development for an important character (neither protagonist). Hopefully another installment will address this. Plus, Henri Bernard deserves a story.

Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this compelling work.

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I enjoyed this book a lot. It had loads of insurmountable odds, crazy dangerous settings, and all the romance for page turning anticipation to keep me wanting more. I've always really liked this author--boy, does she do her homework. Great writing plus a stickler for accurate history. With all of this said, I still gave it 4 stars, not 5. And here's why--when you're writing about a time in history that the reader isn't likely super familiar with, too many historical details can get lost on your reader. When. you're writing with A LOT of foreign language thrown in, with so many groups of government, monarchy, churches, military, and radical social justice, getting lost and distracted happens EASILY. I kept reading, but many times I almost stopped. I had to skip and skim to stay focused and interested. Maybe others can keep up easier than me (I do have a senior brain), so I still recommend it.

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This is rare, but I loved this book more than the first! I love the historical context. The French Revolution was such a fascinating but heartbreaking time. The brutality was shocking. I loved that the main characters have different opinions, but realize that neither is completely correct.

The slow burn romance was delightful, with forced proximity and adventure at every turn! The only thing I had hoped for was more of a tie-in with the first book and some of those familiar characters!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction.

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing, NetGalley, and Arlem Hawks for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions.

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What a beautiful story. Not only with the depth of the characters but how well Arlem Hawks builds the true humanity of their souls. They do what they should even if it goes way against everything they’ve been taught. Highly recommend!!!

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Good story, good romance, good bits of history. Thank you to the publisher for my review copy. All opinions are my own.

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I really enjoyed the story, the redemption arc of Maxence and the love story, not to mention them being on the run together (so romantic!) they had great chemistry and wonderful moments together. The historical aspect is so well done and researched, and I learned a lot about that time period and the people in Brittany.


Then a reveal came to light that involved characters from the first book in this series and I was devastated. It pulled me out of this book entirely and made me feel blindsided. Unfortunately it kind of made the rest of the book hard to finish and enjoy.

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Set in the midst of the French Revolution, it's hard to know where loyalties lie. Maxence believes in the future of the Republique and in joining the army, hopes to prove himself not only as a competent soldier but also to his family. However, his loyalty abruptly dissolves when he's ordered to execute Breton native, Armelle. As fugitives, their fates become entwined, and they need to rely on each other in order to make it to safety.

I had mixed feelings about this story. I felt Arlem Hawks did a great amount of research on the French revolution and the difficulty in uniting a Republique after ousting the monarchy. It provided an interesting and unique backdrop. I also enjoyed the characters of Armelle and Maxence and their budding romance. However, I really missed some more background and character development on Armelle and Maxence individually. Aspects of their history were alluded to but never fully resolved in my opinion. Overall, this was an ok read for me.

Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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In her latest book, Arlem Hawks brings the reader to Brittany, a region in northwest France, during the radical phase of the French Revolution (the Reign of Terror). The reader follows the story of Maxence, a soldier in the national guard, and Armelle, a young Breton woman set to be executed. Instead, the two embark on an intense journey to Saint-Malo, where they hope to escape the soldiers (who want Maxence dead) and reunite with family members. Along the way, their relationship changes from survivors forced together by circumstance to begrudging allies. Hawks’s clear familiarity with revolutionary-era Brittany, the French Revolution, and the French language adds a level of authenticity and information to an enjoyable historical fiction novel. Hawks’s detailed notes at the end of the book highlight her reliance on and implementation of historical documents, setting her book apart. The characters are incredibly alive, and Hawks brings every character and location to life throughout Along a Breton Shore. Her masterful writing style and clever character and world development enhance the experience of this book and its ability to immerse the reader in revolutionary-era Brittany. Along a Breton Shore is a compelling work of historical fiction full of moving characters, vivid locations, and high stakes.

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So apparently this is a sequel, and I had no idea? It can be read as a standalone, so don't worry if you haven't read "Beyond the Lavender Fields."

I really enjoyed the character dynamics and the historical details. I especially loved how the author included a final history section to elaborate on these aspects of the novel. Hawks clearly put a lot of time and research into crafting this story. However, the plot began to drag after the first third. Unfortunately, the second act couldn't live up to the beginning and end. I couldn't get as invested in the characters and romance as I would have liked.

I received this free eARC from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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**Review will be published on my sites and socials June 1st, 2023**


There is something incredibly soothing about Arlem Hawks writing style. It is slow paced in all the best ways. I kept continually wanting to pick this up to know what happens next + taking my time with it to savor all of the goodness.

I adored this grumpy x sunshine duo of Maxence and Armelle. I can’t even begin to pick a favorite moment because I feel attached to them all. From the disasterous meeting to being chased by soldiers and learning new things about each other (and themselves), it’s all there. All of the beautiful character growth and hard things that make this book sing.

The setting is unique. Being apart of the French Revolution I learned a lot!! Especially with the notes at the end to further explain details and facts from this time period.

Alongside the main characters (and it’s dual POV y’all!!) the side characters were great too. I loved the roles the others played and was very anxious to get to the happy ending. Another fantastic historical romance read by an auto-read author.

Overall audience notes:

Historical Romance
Language: none
Romance: kisses
Violence: high
Trigger/Content Warnings: battle themes, near executions (and mentions of executions), near death experiences, gun violence, surgery, loss of loved ones, imprisonment

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I can’t get enough of this series! It’s absolutely gorgeous and this book fits perfectly. Maxence wasn’t a character I liked before, but he is revealed to have depth to him that I hadn’t seen before. Beautifully done!

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This is the story of Maxence Ètienne, the brother of Gilles from the book “Beyond the Lavender Fields.” I liked BtLF a lot, but I loved this one even more. I recommend reading BtLF before reading this one because it gives you a good background and more insight into the Ètienne family. Also, there is a revelation later in this book that I don’t think will mean as much to you if you haven’t read the previous book.

The Max we met in the last book was a zealous Jacobite who left home to fight against the aristocracy at the beginning of the French Revolution. He was a conceited young man and a shameless flirt with women. This book begins a year after Max left and he is a very different man than he used to be. His best friend Emile died in battle and Max is struggling with grief over his death.

Armelle Bernard is a young woman whose father was executed for hiding counterrevolutionaries. She loves her family, but she despises the Jacobins for killing her father and oppressing her people. She meets Max after a silly act of rebellion. As a result Max is ordered by his superior officer to “dispose of” Armelle, but he can’t bring himself to do it. They both end up on the run from from his fellow Jacobins.

They are two very different people with different views of the revolution. They butt heads quite a bit along their journey, but very soon Max falls for Armelle. She is the sunshine to his grumpy, but she doesn’t realize the depth of her feelings for him until it seems too late for them to be together. This book drew me in more than the last one did. It was definitely more emotional for me and the angst between the two MCs was well done. As much as I disliked the Max of the first book, I loved him in this one.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but one minor character’s misfortune broke my heart and had me crying. I was hoping that they would have their own HEA, but it didn’t work out that way. Being a beloved character, I was surprised that it happened, but I guess it is more realistic that way.

This is my honest opinion based on the complimentary review copy sent by Netgalley and the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review.

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Read it for the:
-French Revolution era
-Grump/Sunshine dynamic
-He falls first
-On the run plotline
-Redemption and forgiveness themes

Romance/Steam: Sweet, Kissing only
Content Warning: mild violence, death
Final Rating: 5 / 5

Arlem Hawks delivers a tale of redemption, romance, and acceptance in the incredibly written, Along a Breton Shore. Where do I being with this review, other than to urge you to read this book?

First, I would say this is a historical fiction novel, with romance at its heart. And while the historical notes are fascinating, the characters, plot, and yes, love story were at the front.

One of the things I appreciate the most about Hawks’ writing style is her talent for building up a plot while keeping the reader fully immersed in the story. From the first chapter, I was invested in Max’s intense character and his passion for contributing to freedom in a rapidly shifting country. I loved the emotional turmoil he experienced as the war progressed, and felt he was lost. His intensity is present throughout the story - and it was refreshing to see a true grumpy main character. Armelle was his opposite. She was determined, but warm and overall optimistic character. During an uncertain time, Armelle was able to keep her good-humored nature and was dedicated to piecing back together her family. She challenged Max and was unfazed in situations where she had to be brave. I enjoyed her character! Their romance was a slow burn, building up from enemies to (reluctant) friends, to more-and their journey together was everything.

In addition to the romance and plot building, there is a theme of redemption and forgiveness. Max did not leave his family on good terms in the previous book and it was emotional to see the relationship between him and his younger brother Gilles break and mend. Needless to say, seeing characters from the first book was an unexpected treat, bittersweet as it may have been at times.

I highly recommend reading the Beyond the lavender fields first as this book contains spoilers. I believe the reading experience will be better as you can grasp Max’s character development, and live the love story between Gilles and Caroline.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

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This was an amazing book. The author has done some incredible research on the history of that time period. I loved the perspective from both sides from the main characters. There were heavy themes. But I think they are very important to be addressed. Like how much freedom is important but when it comes to forcing others to have it then is it really freedom? I really liked how the resolution was focused on fighting and defending those people you love. Neither of the main characters had to let go of their passions and beliefs but they all came into resolution that you can live those beliefs with those you love. I also loved how the author showed miscommunications. Hurt people hurt people. Meaning miscommunications cause hurt and that hurt causes more hurt. Until there is an entire cycle of hurt. There was a satisfying reconciliation at the end with second and third chances.

The only part I struggled with is that there was a sad resolution from the previous book in this series

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Thank you @shadowmountainpub for the arc of Along a Breton Shore!

Here’s what I loved about this book:
• the history was amazing
• reluctant allies
• forced proximity
• the loveliest romance
• emotional

This book hit me in the feels in the most uncool way and made me feel all the things! It was a masterfully written historical romance that swept me away and I was addicted to the story.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★/5
Steam: kisses

Out June 6
TW: war times, death

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I’m not joking when I say I couldn’t put this down. It pulled me in so fast and kept my attention until late at night. I loved how it was a slow burn, and enemies to lovers! My favorite trope!! The way the characters learned to care for each other put put the others needs above their own was beautiful to watch. I definitely recommend this to anyone who likes books set during/around the French Revolution.

I received a complementary copy from netgalley, all opinions are my own.

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Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks

Another fantastic book by Arlem Hawks. If you want to make sure to feel ALL the feels, read Beyond the Lavender Fields first. Though, this works great as a stand alone as well.

First let’s talk about the tropes because this book has them all: one bed, fake marriage, forced proximity, enemies to friends to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, he falls first. Do I even need to go on? No? Good. But I’m going to anyway.

Max may come off as an unredeemable grump at the beginning but you quickly come to realize that he has been through some stuff. What he really needs is to know his worth and that love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

Armelle is a happy go-lucky, go-getter. She has a tendency to act first and think later and wears her heart on her sleeve. She believes in the power of family and protecting those you love.

Due to some truly terrible circumstances, these two end up on a perilous journey across Brittney during the height of the French Revolution.

I love how they are thrown together and come to learn to understand one another. Watching their relationship blossom is oh so sweet. They both help each other to grow and the character arcs are next level.

Yes, I do love this book. Can you tell?

Content: guns, violence, kisses, death

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