Along a Breton Shore
by Arlem Hawks
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 20 Jun 2023
Shadow Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain
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.
“Hawks continues to brilliantly mine the political turmoil in France during its bloody revolutionary years. When soldier Maxence Étienne refuses to shoot Armelle Bernard for throwing a bucket at a comrade, Armelle decides it is only fair that she, in turn, try to save Maxence’s life. With some help from her family and friends, Armelle organizes Maxence’s escape from prison, where he has been flung for refusing to follow orders. However, Armelle has another reason for helping break Maxence out of jail; she's hoping that he can provide her with information that could be the key Armelle needs to locate her fugitive father. Hawks creates compelling story lines that not only vividly bring this dramatic era to life but also allow readers to experience it intimately through individual characters and their search for love, happiness, and security amidst radical political change.”
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 147 members
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!
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.
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*
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."
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 😉)
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)
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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.
Sex: some innuendo
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
Good story, good romance, good bits of history. Thank you to the publisher for my review copy. All opinions are my own.
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.
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.
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.
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.
**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:
Trigger/Content Warnings: battle themes, near executions (and mentions of executions), near death experiences, gun violence, surgery, loss of loved ones, imprisonment
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!
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.
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
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
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
Out June 6
TW: war times, death
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.
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
I loved this book! I enjoyed Beyond the Lavendar Fields and was expecting to feel similarly about this one, but I must say it exceeded my expectations. I found it very hard to put down, so I recommend, if at all possible, clear your schedule before starting this!
In BTLF, Max was not a very sympathetic character, so I wondered how he would come off here. If I had any doubts, the author immediately dispelled them. First was the prologue. It was a scene from the previous book, but this time it was shown through Max's eyes. I was surprised by how much the shift in focus changed the way I felt about that scene. Next, the book moves ahead to a year and a half later. By this point, experiences have changed Max so that he is no longer the same person as in the previous book. Still, he continues to grow throughout this story, and I loved that.
Armelle was so extremely naive but in the sweetest way. She sought and expected the best in others, and she was so hopeful and optimistic about the future. The horrors around her hadn't spoiled her. I loved seeing these two together.
Before reading this book, I knew nothing about the Chouans. Actually, I was unfamiliar with any of the history of Brittany during the French Revolution. It was very interesting reading about it here, and it sparked my interest to learn more. I also appreciated the author's notes at the end.
While this book could technically be read and understood on its own, I highly recommend reading Beyond the Lavendar Fields first. It will make this one even more satisfying if you can see Max's whole transformation and when you see other characters you've met before too.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction or historical romance. Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for the early read.
This is the second book in a series, and while it can stand alone it is better to read the books in order. This is Maxence" story. Having seen and been through the hardships of war he is pretty bitter. He believes his family has abandoned him and so hasn't written them in a long while. He left with bitter words spoken to his brother. He watched his best friend die during a battle. He feels he is facing everything alone. Then he is ordered to kill a girl from the village because she was scrubbing the floor of the church to harass the priest. He chooses not to follow orders and lets the girl live but that decision leads to his enprisonment and possible death. The girl he chose to save however is built of gumption and daring and she decides to rescue him with the help of her friend.
They go on the run and the following story is mesmerizing. This is a story of survival, redemption, forgiveness and love. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves history and the before mentioned themes.
Oh my goodness, this book was just so good. But I have to warn you that it is a little sad. Along a Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks is set in the same world as Beyond Lavender Fields. This was a stunning book!
Boy were these characters complicated. Maxence Étienne definitely deserved his own book and it was interesting to get to know him. He was bitter and hardened by the revolution and yet he never lost his humanity. He valued others and beneath his grumpiness, he was kind. It was fun to read about Maxence falling for Armelle and reconsidering life. She had a way of shaking things up. Maxence had to figure out if the revolution was worth all of the sacrifices and pain that it had caused him and others.
Amrelle Bernand was a spitfire and I loved her. She was honestly a bit of trouble at the beginning, but I loved her kind heart. She was impulsive but she was just trying her best to do what was right in a hard time. I loved getting to know her better and reading about her interacting with Maxence. Amrelle had to learn to fight for what she wanted and what it meant to care for Maxence.
The storyline and the characters drew me in from the beginning. These characters felt real and I was connected to them as I read their story. I was on the edge of my seat while reading this book, I did not know how it was going to end. I just have to say that I loved it! It was the perfect blend of serious, exciting, romantic, and adventure.
Along a Breton Shore is a must read! You don’t have to read Beyond Lavender Fields first but it does add to the story. I would definitely recommend this book if you like historical romances.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.
Maxence Etienne is soldier for the Republique and he believes strongly in the changes that are bringing liberty to France, but despite that he is still lost and looking for a place to belong.
He meets a young woman from Breton who has decided to confront the priest who betrayed her father, and she herself is ordered to be executed, an order to be carried out by Maxence.
This was definitely the opposites attract, but in the end, they were better together than apart. I didn’t really like Maxence’s character in Beyond the Lavender Field but by reading Along a Breton Shore, it was decidedly changed for the better! Armelle was so spirited, strong, and beautiful in spirit and I loved she didn’t let Maxence get away with anything! I really enjoyed reading this! It was nice to see the other character from the first book.
A word of caution while this can definitely be read as a stand-alone, I recommend reading Caroline’s and Gilles's story first, and then you’ll get a much more balanced story from Beyond the Lavender Field, and just segway into Along a Breton Shore, and I promise you you’ll feel a part of the family, I know I did!
My gratitude to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain. All opinions expressed are mine and honest.
This book set in the French revolution is a sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields but can also be read as a stand-alone.
Armelle Benard lives in Breton she is feisty and filled with ready comebacks. I loved her strength and determination to find solutions.
Maxence Etienne is a soldier in the French Repulique who is in turmoil and determined to hide it. When he is told to get rid of a young woman he finds that he can't follow through. He finds himself in combat with a fellow soldier.
Maxence and Armelle find themselves fleeing from their pursuers and making their way across France. I loved the interaction between these two. What a great sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields.
I typically am hit or miss when it comes to historical romances. Either it is love or hate there typically isn't an in between and Along a Breton Shore is definitely Love. It was a little intimidating at first just looking through all the glossary for the French and Breton words that would be helpful to know but Arlem did such an amazing job of giving the readers enough information that they didn't need to go back and forth from the glossary to know what was going on during the novel.
Armelle and Max were such great characters and really well written. They balanced each other well and were very believable in their journey together. I loved that it was as slow burn and that they really did have to work together to not only survive but grow together as a couple.
The setting of the French Revolution was perfection and added to the suspense and thrill of the romance. I have loved all of Arlem's novels thus far and will continue to read hers from now on.
Thank you to Netgalley, Shadow Mountain Publishing and of course Arlem Hawks for my eARC copy.
A tale based in choosing what is right regardless
This book is set during the French Revolution and so does have some violent scenes but there is enough humor and lightness to keep it from becoming too dark. In fact, it is a very compelling story that I had trouble putting down. Armelle and Maxence flee a death sentence of the revolutionary army during the French Revolutionary war. He, because of the accidental death of another soldier, that he is accused of murdering. She, because she harassed a priest and threw a bucket that hits one of the army’s officers. The story begins there, first with Maxence rescuing her from an execution and then Armelle rescuing with him from a prison cell. As the book progresses, they save each other in many ways, while they journey together to escape and find safety. Can they make it all the way to where her brother can help and protect her, and to his uncle that can do the same for him. A very compelling read that will keep you engaged. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.
I found Along a Breton Shore to be a great read and highly recommend it. I am giving it five plus stars.
Thank you to Arlem Hawks, Shadow Mountain Publishing , and NetGalley for the eARC of Along a Breton Shore!
Oh, man, I loved this book. Although the writing is a little slower paced than what I am used to, it is such a delight to savor each little bit. I didn’t realize that it would build off of the story in Beyond the Lavender Fields (which I also adored) and seeing how Giles and Maxence both moved forward (😭😭🥰🥰) was better than I could have imagined. I LOVED Armelle and I loved the new insights from the details of the history of this time frame that I had NO CLUE about beforehand. I loved this one even more than book 1, which I also gave 5 stars to. I loved that there was growth in the characters. I loved the grumpy/sunshine trope. I loved the down-to-earch feel of both Armelle and Maxence. I loved the priest 😭😭🥰🥰. I loved seeing the love conquering all and familial forgiveness. Just so good. Everyone please read.
Instagram post on @laurensturningpages will go up on May 30, 2023
I'm pretty sure I like this book more than it's predecessor. I enjoyed that one very much. This book continues the events of Beyond the Lavender Fields. The French revolution has left a void in the government. Different factions are trying to take control and bring France out of the chaos. I don't usually get so involved as emotion, other than laughing at funny parts. This story was so well done, I actually shed more than one tear at sad parts. One in particular. I was upset with Arlem for writing that part of the story. But I can see why she did.
This book was excellently researched. Arlem does a fantastic job weaving an interesting story inspired by factual circumstances. I was invested in the main characters and intrigued by the circumstances they found themselves in. A wonderful follow up to Beyond Lavender Fields, this is an excellent story for anyone interested in learning more about history while losing themselves in a beautiful love story.
This was a beautiful read set in the French Revolution . All the characters in the book believe in their country and all have a different view of how they should support their country .
Within this tug of beliefs comes Armelle & Max . I love the beginning of the story when Max gives up something in order to protect Armelle who he doesn’t even know . He shows that’s no matter what side of the battle you are on ethics and integrity still matter .
Armelle is a heroine with strong beliefs and belief in protecting her family about everything . Both Max and Armelle change in the book from people who do everything for what they believe in to believing that maybe their beliefs weren’t 100% accurate . I love their love story and the gradual realization that life is not anything without the one you love . I really enjoyed this story I have to say that at times it was a bit slow but it quickly picked up again on the journey of Max and Armelle . It was a wonderful clean romance !
I’d like to thank Shadow Mountain publishing and Netgalley for providing me a copy in return for an unbiased review.
Such a good sequel. I think you could read this as a stand alone. Though I think it's best enjoyed in order because of a few spoilers. I thought this was so thoughtfully written with the varying persepctives of the people and their whys. This story held my attention. It was great fiction with well researched historical fact woven in and shown thorugh the people and scenes. Nothing was ever just told. Readers were shown and I felt I could feel alongside the characters very much so. I loved the back in forth of Max and Armella with their banter and serious discussions. I think the pace and manner for the couple in coming together was perfect with their personalities and who Max was in the previous story and she with her background. I loved the priest the two met on their trek. There was tragedy for some characters and that was hard because it was so easy to come to care. There was also hope and closure. The ending was beautiful.
*thank you to netgalley and the publisher for this ARC. Opinions are 100% my own
Arlem Hawks did an amazing job on this story! The historical details were rich and interesting, and the love story was beautiful. A good love story makes or breaks a book for me, and this was exactly what I was looking for in a romance. Some may feel that the plot was a little slow at times, but I love a good slow-burn and slower-paced story as I read to unwind at the end of a long day. I'd recommend this book to anyone looking for a lovely historical romance or a relaxing night-time read. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
Such fabulous chemistry between Armelle and Maxence! Maxence is brooding and grumpy while Armelle is spontaneous and positive. After meeting in a most unconventional way, their travels lead to hours upon hours together. Armelle presses and presses to get to know her traveling companion better. Maxence is relucant to share about anything that isn't surface.
Maxence's passion is the cause he is fighting for. Armelle cares little for politics and just wants her family to be together again.
The backdrop of the French Revolution was an integral part of their tale. The cover is lovely.
If this is too long and you're not going to read it in its entirety, please note that this is an ALL OF THE STARS kind of book!
'Nicole had told her her plan was idiocy. Oncle Yanick had told her. Heavens, she'd told herself. Someday she would listen to reason.'
I love a headstrong female protagonist who tends to jump in head first without looking. Armelle is just this kind of character and I knew right from the first few chapters she was going to bring a lot of fun energy to this book!
I loved the grumpy/sunshine, opposites attract trope with our two main characters.
Having met Maxence in Beyond the Lavender Fields I was excited to get his story and see where he would end up. This book has major redemption vibes!! I also loved that this picked up where it left off in a major scene from book 1 and allowed the reader to jump right back in to a war torn France and all the suspense and worry that came along with it.
This book was historically rich, which was an added bonus to the reader. I felt completely immersed into the setting and time period. I loved that this book was a journey both physically for our main characters as well as emotionally. I loved the forced proximity. I loved the push and pull tension in the romance and I loved the added suspense.
'With the world as it was, would they ever be rid of it, this feeling of always being just one step ahead of their demise?'
This book brought with it all of the feels in true Arlem Hawks fashion. I love that moment when I close the cover and immediately want to do better and be better. Another huge success from this author and one more reason why she will always be an auto-buy author for me!
Thanks to the author and publisher for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.
Another great romance set in the midst of the French Revolution. It’s the perfect enemies to lovers, grumpy/sunshine, and forced proximity. Armelle is a little rebellious and Maxence is meant to execute her. When he refuses and a fellow soldier is accidentally killed instead they have to flee. I love the journey that they go on and learn more about the other. Their character arcs are great and I loved watching Maxence grow and learn forgiveness. Their romance was beautiful along with the setting and the whole story.
Absolutely beautiful, brilliant, stunning!
Loved every moment, all the hearts and stars from me!!
I stayed up till 2AM to finish this one because I couldn't put it down and I needed to know how things ended!!
This is definitely my new favorite from Hawkes!
•both lead characters
•the grumpy-sunshine trope
•the forced proximity!!!!
•danger and peril and adventure!
•the French history!
•the slow-burn romance was 👌👌👌 so well done!
•the redemption arc
•Maxence and Armelle's chemistry and emotional connection was everything!
I tabbed so many moments in this book, ITS JUST SO AMAZING.
I'm not eloquent okay? Haha, I don't know how to even describe how amazing this historical, romantic, journey was, but it really, really was! It checked all the boxes for me!
NOTE - this could be read as a stand-alone HOWEVER, I would HIGHLY SUGGEST that you read Beyond the Lavender Fields FIRST!!!
There will be HUGE, MAJOR, HEARTBREAKING spoilers if you read this book first! So there's your warning!!
Along a Breton Shore is as good as the first book in this series! Maxence Etienne is dedicated to the army, but when he's ordered to end the short life of a pretty Breton girl, his conscience cannot agree to it. Saving her instead, he dooms himself to a life on the run from the cause he so greatly supported. Armelle is feisty, strong-willed, and yet sweet all at once. She has seen the pain the "cause for liberty" has cost herself and her family, and her opinion of that cause is not nearly as staunch as Maxence's convictions. Can they have a meeting of the minds?
I very much enjoyed seeing Maxence's character fully fleshed out in this story, since he and Gilles' relationship was strained in the first book. Armelle's sweet and sassy nature is a perfect foil for Maxence's grumpiness--and can I just say that I love grumpy/sunshine couples! As always, there is great dialogue, a realistic view of yet another side of the French Revolution, and a happily ever after. I will say that there is one part of this story that breaks my heart, but I can't give it away here!
Rated PG for violence
--some violence, mild gore
--little to no language
--clean romance without explicit sexual content
--little to no torture
I received this ebook free from NetGalley. My opinions are my own and voluntarily given.
If you enjoy historical fiction with elements of romance and intrigue, Along a Breton Shore definitely needs to be added to your TBR. I have always been intrigued by the French Revolution and although I have studied it, I learned a LOT from this book. It’s definitely a heavy read, but I honestly couldn’t put it down. I have included some other thoughts below, but beware of spoilers! 4/5 stars
I almost wish I hadn’t read Beyond the Lavender Fields (Gilles’ book) before Along a Breton Shore. The female MC of BTLF, Caroline, is revealed to have passed away between the events of the two books, which was really shocking to me. It’s not something I expect in historical romance novels, although Arlem Hawks did tell readers that these books are more in the histfic genre. If I had read Along a Breton Shore first, I would have viewed BTLF as more of a prequel and been prepared for the loss of a main character, which isn’t something I anticipated in Hawks’ books. Caroline’s death was also revealed too close to the end of AABS in my opinion; I was too preoccupied with that revelation to remain as invested in the climax of Maxence and Armelle’s story. On another note, I think the situation with Armelle’s dad and brother was built up a lot and then just kind of crested, which could have been intentional but it made the ending fall a little flat for me.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This is a clean, historical romance with some heavier themes. Since it is set during the French Revolution, there is obviously war in the background. There is also other violence and death. None is descriptive but it isn't your happy-go-lucky romance. There is witty banter and humor though. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
The beginning of this book has pages of names and terms to help the reader. That was a little intimidating to me. I thought I was going to be so lost if I didn't know all of them but I felt like I'd be back in French class. To be honest, I skipped that part and did just fine.
I was a little nervous about this one and kept putting off reading it. Now I'm upset with myself for doing that! I wish I had read it closer to having read Beyond the Lavender Fields. That is the first book in this series, and while not absolutely necessary, I think it is good to read them in order. Many of the events that Maxence deals with throughout this story happened in Beyond the Lavender Fields.
Thank you to Shadow Moutain Publishing and Netgalley for the digital advanced copy. I am happy to leave my honest review.
I lost sleep to read this book. I couldn't help it. Arlem Hawks knows how to suck a reader in.
The French Revolution is a time I have little knowledge of. Nepolean, I know a fairly good amount of, but the actual events of the revolution are not as well known to me. It has been fun to find myself wanting to go and look up the history that is talked about.
I enjoyed the theme of finding ones self in Maxence and seeing Armelle so confident. Watching them go from enemies to friends and then fall in love was a soft transition. Readers can appreciate the hard conversations they have. This isn't a romanticized relationship. It has truth to a real relationship. Arguments are real and you don't always see eye to eye. But respect and care can always bring these two characters together.
Arlem Hawks is going to make readers fall in love with these characters and their lives. We already love them and I can't wait to see more from her. Especially if that is Lina's story. 😉
Arlem Hawks' "Along a Breton Shore" is a captivating historical romance set during the French Revolution. The novel masterfully combines elements of adventure, romance, and suspense, transporting readers to a tumultuous time in history. The story revolves around Maxence Étienne, a soldier torn between his loyalty to his country and his desire for love and freedom. When he saves Armelle Bernard from execution, their lives become intertwined as they navigate the treacherous landscape of a war-torn nation. Their journey is not only a fight for survival but also an exploration of love, forgiveness, and personal convictions. The book's engaging writing style, attention to historical detail, and compelling character development make it a truly immersive and unforgettable read.
"Along a Breton Shore" skillfully continues the story from the previous book while also standing strongly on its own. The protagonist, Maxence, undergoes a remarkable transformation as he questions his own beliefs and fights for his redemption. Armelle, the spirited and strong-willed young woman he saves, brings a delightful energy to the narrative and their gradual emotional connection adds depth and complexity to their relationship. The author's vivid descriptions and meticulous attention to historical detail bring the French Revolution to life, allowing readers to fully immerse themselves in the setting and time period. The novel strikes a perfect balance between romance, adventure, and suspense, keeping readers captivated until the very end. With its compelling characters, rich historical backdrop, and poignant love story, "Along a Breton Shore" is a must-read for anyone seeking an enchanting historical romance experience.
(Make sure you read Beyond the Lavender Fields before jumping into this one. It’s a must IMO!)
Now to gush about this story…
I adored it! I couldn’t put it down!
Grumpy / sunshine… slow burn… enemies to friends to lovers… fake relationship… forced proximity (to the max)… adventure and danger… witty banter… character growth & redemption… amazing historical setting…
The chemistry between Maxence & Armelle jumped off the page for me. I was rooting for them immediately.
I felt all the things… I laughed, I cried, I swooned, I was on the edge of my seat. But at the same time, it was such a well paced book, that it was a relaxing read, (if that makes any sense). There’s so much rich history and action, but reads like a warm hug. I’m noticing that each time I read one of Arlem’s books. She’s a magician 🤣🙌
Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for the chance to read an advance copy.
I had the incredible honor of being part of @arlemhawks cover reveal last fall with Hannah @the.book.maiden! And now I finally get to talk about this book!
This story follows Maxence Etienne, the brother of Gilles from the first book Beyond the Lavender fields. We get to see Maxence's journey in the republique in War-torn France during the French Revolution. An unfortunate encounter with a young woman from Breton disrupts his entire world as they both escape captivity.
This book writes as histfic but has a romance sub plot with all the forced proximity and grumpy/sunshine vibes we know and love. Armelle's bubbly sweet demeanor was delightful to read and I enjoyed the banter between Maxence. He definitely gets annoyed often😂
Arlem's book really shines with her history and makes me feel like I'm walking on French soil, seeing the characters first hand. I'm always captured by her facts and knowledge!
I felt the middle parts of this book were quite slow. I could have used a more romance build or tension. I know it's not a romance but I think the forced proximity threw me off. Like this feels like a romance but it's not. That being said I would have loved it more with more romance but that's how I always feel😂
The ending was a shock to the emotions though I knew it was coming. I felt it pulled me from Maxence and Armelle's story a bit too much.
Let me know what you think! I would love to discuss!
This book releases June 6th! Highly recommend reading Beyond the Lavender fields first.
Histfic lovers this book is for you!
Thank you to @shadowmountainpub and the author for my #gifted copy.
*TW- kidnapping, trauma, death of loved ones
I was super sad about what happened at the end. I think a lot of readers are very upset by Marie's death but it was expected. We knew it was coming. Death in childbirth was also very common. People died of all sorts of things back then. At least in this way I'm hopeful Gilles will get a second chance at love.
#historicalfiction #grumpysunshine #arlemhawks #junerelease #arcreads #arccopy #beyondthelavenderfields #alongabretonshore #shadowmountain #pubday
Set in the French Revolution era, this story takes us in an adventure where the main characters face a difficult situation, torn between what honor and loyalty is and how you can choose to do the right thing.
The story is so trepidant and the tension is really good. The characters are great and are very well written.
The premise caught my attention from the moment I read it and I have enjoyed the story a lot.
As always Arlem has made a great work in the historical research and catching the attention of the reader page by page.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing.
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance, Proper Romance, French Revolution
Spice Level: Sweet (slow burn with kissing)
Tropes: Grumpy/Sunshine, Opposites attract
ALONG A BRETON SHORE features the Breton coast which I knew nothing about. I loved the work put into this novel to show the differences of opinions during the French Revolution. Sure, I knew some nobles escaped to England, but I didn't know how ordinary people living outside of Paris felt about the reforms thrust upon them.
Armelle is loyal to family and desperately wants to see her father return. She's spunky, loves to laugh and tease, and gets into trouble very, very easily.
Maxence has abandoned his family when they didn't want him and put his heart and soul into the new republic, to better everyone's lives.
The unseen layers of both Armelle and Maxence are brought to light on their escape. I was caught from the beginning to the end. (As a confession, I wished the ending was about 5 pages longer with more declarations of love and kissing, etc.)
I adored how they had to overcome misperceptions and rubbed each other the wrong way. This is not a book of miscommunication as it is of deeply not understanding one another, lying to oneself, and finding yourself before being able to love others.
The historic setting is wonderful! I love the author notes in the back, separated according to chapters so it would be easy to go back and see what happened and where the discrepancies were intentionally made. The amount of research used in this historical romance is amazing!
Are you going to love it?
YES! It's got all the elements you need to sit down and read this in a day. Seriously, that's what I did.
Arlem Hawkes is an author I will never say no to reading. I really enjoyed this story. The setting was suspenseful and exciting. The characters were relatable and perfectly imperfect.
I loved the way Armelle was so impetuous and fearless in her actions. Maxence was such an interesting character. He’s all confidence and bravado on the outside but hurting and lonely on the inside. They both went through a lot of growth and change as they developed a relationship together. Each helping the other to become better.
He Falks First.
There was a lot of historical detail which was very enlightening to me. I enjoyed learning a little more about France and its history. This was a great read that I would highly recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own .
Arlem Hawks is an auto-read author for me! I love how much research and detail she includes in her stories and I was so excited that she wrote a sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields
Max is instructed by a superior officer to kill Armelle, a girl who was disrespectful to a local priest, but he can't bring himself to pull the trigger. Soon Max and Armelle are on the run together and find that even though they are on opposing sides, they must learn to work together. As their feelings for each other grow, they also have to decide who to trust - and what they really want - if they have any hope of surviving or of a future together.
What to expect:
Reluctant allies on opposing sides
Historical "roadtrip" romance
He falls first
Only one bed
Suspense and adventure
Lots of historical details
I loved the sweet buildup of romance between Max and Armelle. The pacing felt very natural and I loved every interaction!
Major Spoilers ahead:
I will confess that the plot twist toward the end left me reeling. Ultimately the main characters did get their HEA but the twist involving Caroline's death overshadowed the main storyline for me and even after processing it for a few weeks, I still can't get over it. I am so confused why the author killed off a main character from the first story. I was devastated and honestly don't know if I can ever read Beyond the Lavender Fields again knowing that Caroline and Gilles have such a short HEA. We already knew from Georgana's Secret that he would be widowed at some point, but the fact that she dies within just a few years of marriage was a complete shock.
If you love historical romance that makes history come alive with vivid characters and a compelling plot, then this is definitely a book for you!
I received a complimentary copy but a positive review was not required.
She has done it again! Arlem Hawks has written a truly magnificent tale of adventure, romance, and growth.
If you’re a fan of historical romance, anything to do with France, and slow burn, this will be for you. Maxence’s story broke my heart, even if his circumstance was from his own doing. The ending made the book and I loved it!!
It felt like every chapter was chock full of something that kept you engrossed throughout the whole book.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
This book broke me, but in the best way possible. Both the immersion in history and the romance were beyond incredible.
I read "Beyond the Lavender Fields" by Arlem Hawkes in anticipation of this book being released. Based off that book, I was curious what kind of main character Maxence would be. I wasn't skeptical per se, but I was intrigued and curious.
Any previous trepidation wasn't a problem though. Despite his history, I loved Maxence and his relationship with Armelle. The characters go through a lot during the book, and their relationship really added a level of hope to the story despite the danger, cruelty, and uncertainty they faced.
"Along a Breton Shore" is the story of Maxence and Armelle's fates suddenly becoming intertwined in the space of a single day. Despite being on opposing sides of the French Revolution, they suddenly find themselves fugitives together. Traveling through war-torn France, the likelihood of them finding a haven from the violence and danger seems as unlikely as them finding an accord despite their differing opinions. But then again, unlikely doesn't mean impossible...
Overall, I couldn't say more good things about this book. Arlem Hawkes nails the historical accuracy. I learned so much about the French Revolution and felt completely immersed in the history while reading. The romance was also spot on and really lent an air of hope to the story, despite the historical setting being rather grim at times.
It was one of the best books I've read all year, and very worth every minute spent reading it.
The French Revolution (1794) is such a compelling time to set a story. It is hard to cheer for the idealistic revolutionaries as they are becoming as repressive as the previous leaders. Maxence Etienne wants to be a hero and change the world. He is also a loyal soldier. Armelle is strong willed trying to survive and keep her family safe. When she is caught and Max is ordered to kill her he allows her to get away. She later rescues him which puts them on the run together.
Max and Armelle have differing views but need to trust each other to survive. I like that the author includes a list of characters and the pronunciation for their names. She does the same from French and Breton terms (although many should be familiar). And I like the Historical notes at the end also saying where she drew information from or things she changed to fit the story. I read this easily as a stand alone and have not read Max’s brothers story in Beyond the Lavender Fields (Feb 2022).
This is clean historical romantic fiction with some kissing and war time violence. Overall the story is compelling and the characters are easy to keep straight although there are many. I will look forward to what Arlem writes next. Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for the ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Not gonna lie, I did not like Maxence in "Beyond the Lavender Fields." He did not come across as a good person at all. This story showed me that there is usually more to a person than what they show on the outside.
Aside from the confusing French names, words, and phrases (I am thankful for the pronunciation guide at the beginning, but the words still don't flow from my brain), this was a very captivating story. After finishing the first book in this series, I did a little bit of research into the French Revolution. While reading this book, I was very tempted to do more research. I know that a historical novel is well-written when I want to keep pausing my reading to look up information about what is happening in the book.
This definitely isn't a "love at first sight" kind of story. It takes quite a while to get there, in fact, which is great for me. I tend to love the getting there part more than the actual romance part.
This is a very well-written story, and I highly recommend it.
I wasn't sure about this one, since I didn't love Maxence in Beyond the Lavender Fields, but I ended up loving the book! I thought it was a beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness. I loved Armelle as well! She was such an endearing character. The plot was interesting and the characters were engaging and kept me reading until the end!
I am struggling to put into words how this book made me feel. I rate books on the ✨️vibes✨️ and I got so many vibes at once that my brain may have broken down temporarily.
Let's start with the romance. Maxence and Armelle are essentially enemies. Armelle's beliefs are a death sentence under the new regime, so when Maxence is ordered to kill her and cannot complete his task, they are both forced to go on the run. So within an intense and bloody setting, we have a super sweet and trope-y romance that I adored.
Then there was a portion of the story that, without giving anything away, wrecked me. As in, I was sobbing and inwardly cursing Arlem for doing this to us. But in a country torn apart by revolution, happily ever afters don't always follow a straight line.
I was at peace in the end, so I think Arlem did a fantastic job at portraying the risks of love, and how the joy of love is worth the heartbreak it can cause.
I do recommend reading Beyond the Lavender Fields prior to reading this book because the characters overlap. And once you read that book, please please pick up Along a Breton Shore because the beauty of these characters is unparalleled 💕
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 (4.5)
Steam Level: 🔥 (kissing only)
Trigger Warning: death of a loved one recounted, brief mentions of PTSD and drowning
Maxence Etienne is a soldier of the Republique at the height of the French Revolution. But he's plagued by the memory of losing his best friend in battle. When he's tasked with executing Armelle Bernard for harassing a priest and attacking an officer, he finds himself unable to kill someone who seems so innocent. Soon Maxence and Armelle find themselves on the run from the very officers he served with in an attempt to avoid paying for their crimes. As they make their way to safety they will face danger around every corner and will be forced to trust each other despite their differences. Can these two find safety and and love at the end of their journey?
After finishing Beyond the Lavender Fields, I immediately jumped right into this one. Yes, you could read this as a standalone, but I highly recommend reading the previous book to get a better understanding of Maxence's backstory. Trust me, it's worth it! This book doesn't waste any time and jumps right into the moment when Maxence and Armelle meet and become fugitives. Just as in the first book, I loved how the main characters have different viewpoints on the revolution and challenge each other along the way. Armelle is full of life and hope, while Maxence has past regrets and trauma that make him believe he's not worthy of being helped or loved by others. I enjoyed seeing Armelle show him small acts of kindness, and he in turn opened up to her about his life. Seeing them fall for each other was so sweet, especially when he took care of and protected her. And the end of this story was much more emotional than I expected, especially having read the first book! Definitely have some tissues ready. I'm looking forward to whatever is coming next from Arlem Hawks!
Thank you Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Along A Brenton Shore is a wonderful historical fiction by Arlem Hawks. Set in 1794 during the French revolution, a soldier spares the life of a woman on the opposite side of the fight. His actions lead to his own imprisonment and she returns the favor by breaking him out. The two are on the run, both trying to reach family that will keep them safe. Along the way, a friendship grows, and they form a connection neither of them planned on.
Arlem Hawks fully submerses you in French landscape hurting from war and trying to survive. Your heart goes out to the people who just want peace in a war that seems never ending. I quickly became attached to both of our leading characters. Maxence, whose slightly grumpy and very headstrong in his loyalty to the Republique who goes through a so much character growth as he opens his eyes to the outcome of the war he's fought so hard for. He's also grieving the loss of his close friend and the divide that has grown between him and his family. Then we have the sunshine to Max's grumpy, Armelle ,who makes an art out of talking, looks for the positive in any situation, and never loses hope. The two of them go from companions to friends to more the more they endure together.
I don't typically pick up historical fiction that contains a zero steam romance, but there's something that I absolutely love about Arlem Hawks writing that makes me forget that our main characters haven't even kissed lol An unexpected snow storm, fake identities, nursing the other back to health, hurt/comfort, a fake marriage, and a satisfying ending make this an entertaining read from beginning to end.
P.S. Gilles and Caroline from the author's previous book, Beyond the Lavender Fields, are in this and let's just say keep tissues nearby.
REVIEW OF Along a Breton Shore by Arlen Hawks
4.5 stars (rounded up)
READ IT FOR
-The tropes (grumpy/sunshine, clean only one bed/room, he falls first, enemies to love...)
-Maxence's story (we met him briefly in Beyond the Lavender Fields)
-The French Revolution
-And more (please, read on)
I don't think I even read the official synopsis until literally just now 😂 Shows you how much convincing I needed to request this book on NetGalley! Whether I didn't read the synopsis or just forgot, I am glad I went into this mostly blind.
For some reason, it took me a little while to get into this one, but I stayed up late last night to finish it and don't regret it, so that should tell you something 🤷🏼♀️
I actually really liked the grumpy/sunshine trope, which isn't usually my favorite. Maxence had a sufficiently complex background to make the "grump" part work for me, and Armelle was a ray of sunshine that I couldn't help but love. And the author didn't shy away from giving our characters true hardship.
I loved that Ms. Hawks drew from real events and people in history to develop the story and also wove in French terms. (Don't miss the French Terms section at the front and the Historical Notes section at the back!)
Further, all sides of the revolution were represented, and all were acknowledged as having their own virtues and vices. It reminded me a bit of American politics today
BRIEF CONTENT GUIDE
I'd recommend reading Beyond the Lavender Fields before this one; if you liked that one, you'll probably enjoy this one, too.
FULL REVIEW AND CONTENT GUIDE available on blog betterbookbureau.weebly.com
Running for the lives, Maxence and Armelle begin on the opposite sides of the conflict of the French Revolution, but circumstances have thrown them together so they must depend upon each other if they are going to live. I typically do not read war stories, but Ms. Hawks writes such compelling tales that I read everything she writes. The historical research that was done for this book made it come alive and like you are actually a part of the story.
Things I loved about the book:
spunky, fearless heroine
Armelle’s love of her family
dangerous men and nail biting scenes
reconciliation and forgiveness
You will want to read this book if you like historical romances with danger and action. I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review.
As usual, Arlem Hawks gives us an extraordinary story! Armelle is saved from death by Max, the soldier ordered to kill her. She helps him break out of prison before he is put to death, and they go on a journey to save themselves from being captured again. They become friends and learn to trust each other. They could be falling in love, but will their opposing views of the war keep them apart?
This novel is well researched with amazing details. It is a beautiful historic romance that makes history come alive in a time of great conflict in France. This is my new favorite from Arlem Hawks!
Arlem Hawks is a talented writer and I've greatly enjoyed the other books I've read by her, so I opted to read this one even though the French Revolution is definitely not one of my favorite time periods to read about. I liked the contrasts between Armelle and Maxence, both in regards to their personalities and their beliefs. So many of their interactions made me laugh, even in the midst of such a dark setting. The book was a bit slow at times, but overall, this was a highly enjoyable book.
I read an ARC provided by the author. All opinions are my own. .
While I am French, I always struggle with stories set during the WWII and the French Revolution.
As while it put under light many great people, it was also very dark times showing the worst of humankind as pettiness, greed, envy and denunciation were the daily bread of the “laws forces”.
These peculiar periods are well known as times when people turned against their own for having different beliefs, opinions or simply upbringing, it was not for nothing this era has been called The Terror. As if the beginning of the Revolution was for freedom, equality and fraternity , it soon turned like many if not most of those insurrections, it moved quickly into a game of power, covetousness and scores settlings.
As this book is my first read by the author, I have no background from previous story to understand the dynamic of certain relationships.
Still Maxence is a young man dissatisfied by the way his life is going, he feels no kinship for his family’s business and his attempt at finding his own path not fulfilling, so much he believes himself an outsider among his family.
So he sees in the change of his time as the means to find what he is seeking but is able to reach.
Armelle tries badly at staying out of trouble but her feisty persona always take the better of herself and more oft than less leads her to trouble.
Like she did not think of the consequences of her doings, she acted and is now paying the price of her impulsivity, but not solely she.
From their encounter, their path is laden with threats and danger. As they embark in a wild journey like a road movie as they travel on the roads of Brittany, meeting a variety of people set on helping them or instead in seeing them fall, they get to discover who is this soldier who could not execute her and who is this Miss who can’t a stranger pay the price of her mistakes.
They will open their heart to one another, confront their different opinions and acknowledge that nothing is all black and white despite de gloom of the era. As their trip leads them on the path of more peril, they will face the reality of their choices and actions and will have to reflect on what they really want.
The author delivers an emotional and loving adventure, as our heroes while risking their life must mature and alter their beliefs for the good of the other.
𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 kisses
I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.
A beautiful story of sacrifice, choices, war, family, and love. The story takes place during the French revolution. Maxence has joined the revolution with a chip on his shoulder. His brother was suppose to go with him but, in his mind, cowardly backs out. After years of fighting and watching his best friend die, Max isn’t sure we’re his loyalties lie anymore. When ordered to execute a young women for a minor offense, He couldn’t do it. Which took them both on the run. Armelle realizes her stunt, to avenge her father’s punishment, was not one of her wisest decisions. Now she is running for her life with a strange soldier.
This is a very intriguing, suspenseful, and heartfelt journey. Two people not really trusting each other but have no one else to turn to. Each one playing the part of hero or victim. The story moves at a pretty good pace and held my attention. Many twists and turns during their short time together. I admire Arlem Hawks for her endless research and talent to write such wonderful stories. There are obviously war tragedies and descriptions, all written with great care and decorum. It is a sweet romance with some Christian elements. I appreciate when an author leaves historical notes that tie into the fictional story. I also appreciate the characters, places, French terms, and Breton terms that were given at the beginning of the book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Move over, Gilles! A different Etienne brother has stolen my heart with his grumpy demeanor and hard won smiles. And honestly I didn’t think that was possible. I loved Gilles so much in BTLF and while he is still a favorite, Maxence is magnifique!
When Armelle tempts fate, she finds herself the object of a Republique officer’s contempt and condemned to death. Maxence is tasked with disposing of her. But after Émile’s death, Maxence can no longer stomach the harsh punishments being meted out by the army. While he refuses to execute Armelle, someone does die. Max is charged with the murder, but not before she escapes.
Armelle can’t fathom why Max would go against orders and place himself in such a dire situation. So she hatches a plan to return the favor and rescue him before he meets an untimely end.
And that begins the harrowing and arduous journey of Maxence and Armelle. What a beautiful, scary time of self discovery and maturity. They learn to listen, learn, lean on one another and love. It is delicate, tender, revealing. But be prepared to have to heart ripped out. Not everyone gets a happy ending.
Thank you to NetGalley fort advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
#arlemhawks #alongabretonshore #netgalley #historicalromance.
“Along a Breton Shore” is the sequel to “Beyond the Lavender Fields” in @arlemhawks’ beautiful historical romances set in 1790s Revolutionary France.
Hawks is masterful at creating entire worlds – you fall in love with the beauty of the scenery (so richly painted), the vivid and varied characters, and the stories themselves of these individuals finding love in such a turbulent time.
Here, you’ll find Armelle, a jubilant and headstrong woman, and Maxence, a rather grumpy gentleman who end up on the run together. He refuses to execute her and she rescues him from prison before they make their way further north along the Breton shore. During their month-long journey, they face illness, injury, warring factions, thieves, all in an effort to just live safely and hopefully reunite with their families.
“Along a Breton Shore” broke me. A lot. While it’s beautiful and Maxence and Armelle get their HEA, I cried for other reasons.
SPOILERS: If you’ve read BtLF and love Gilles Étienne as much as I do… I’m really, really heartbroken for him. I know Hawks is committed to portraying the realities of life back then - war, death, disease. But did she have to have Marie-Caroline die in childbirth? Why couldn’t Gilles have his HEA for longer? Or why did she have to die in childbirth? Since Gilles is a skilled doctor and surgeon, it hurts that’s how she died rather than some disease that just couldn’t be helped - like TB or something. Gilles has been one of my all-time favorite literary characters and I’m broken he did not get a HEA or like even a decade or two of it. Gilles and Marie-Caroline (and little Lina) deserve all the happiness and I’m still crying.
Back to NO spoilers: I love anything and everything Hawks has written. Each of her books has a very special place in my heart. And “Along a Breton Shore” is no different. I implore you to pick up her books, they’re enchanting. It’s obvious in every piece she crafts how much research, love, and dedication goes into them – they’re precious treasures, each one of them.
“"You will find it hard to believe that I do not go around sampling the sweets before deciding which to buy."”
Arlem Hawks has done it again! Along a Breton Shore is a must read this year! If you have been dying to find out what happened to Gilles’s older brother Maxence then run and get your copy of this book. You will not move disappointed.
Maxence Étienne is loyal soldier for the République. He has lost his best friend and family. He is doing his best to find his place in the world. I loved reading about Maxence’s journey of finding where he belongs and someone he belongs to. He was so grumpy, I was instantly in love with him. Armelle might be an annoying to him at the beginning to him at the beginning of the story. But she is definitely someone he needs in his life!
Armelle Bernard meets Maxence after he is ordered to execute her for causing some problems. She doesn’t let this stop her from saving them both from the soldiers. She is the exact oppose of Maxence and I enjoyed that! It made for some good banter between the two of them. I loved reading Armelle’s journey of trying to find a way her family to be together again. It was also fun to watch her and Maxence fall in love.
This book isn’t necessarily a sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields, but you do get to find out what happens to Gilles and Marie in this book. So I’d encourage you to read that book before you read this one.
If you are looking for a grumpy x sunshine book then you’re gonna definitely what to read this one! You’ll be on a rollercoaster of a ride with this book. It’s a quick read and was well researched.
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. These thoughts and opinions are my own.
"The young woman backed away from the officer, eyes round and face pale.
‘Étienne, take her away. Dispose of her.’ Voulland’s greying brows sat low.
She dashed for the crowd, but Maxence caught her around the waist, his arms working mechanically.
‘Dispose of her?’ His body had acted, but his mind scrambled to catch up.
‘River. Musket. Bayonet. However you wish.’
Dispose of her. Like dumping refuse in the river. The memory of the last time he’d aimed a gun pressed against his consciousness. The slip. The missed shot….
If he didn’t do this, he’d fail as a guardsman. Just as he’d failed at everything else. Maxence tied her hands above her head to the branch of the nearest scraggly, empty tree. His limbs shook as much as hers did."
How’s that for a riveting ‘meet-cute’?
Maxence, though outwardly cocky and self-assured, struggles with a deep sense of his own failure and expects any meaningful relationships to end in rejection. As a result, he has thrown himself fully into his duties as a soldier for the République, even at the cost of his relationship with his family.
For Armelle, political loyalties are secondary to the love she has for her family, and her desire to see them reunited. Still, her family is actively fighting against the République and Armelle is not one to cheer from the sidelines; she must be part of the action.
However, when Maxence refuses to carry out his orders to shoot the young woman, Armelle helps him escape from prison hours before his execution. Now, the unlikely pair, is forced to depend on each other, as they escape over the bleak countryside of war-torn France.
My propensity to develop exceedingly high expectations for the books I’m most looking forward to has more often than not, led to my own disappointment. Somehow, Arlem Hawks refuses to disappoint. Once again, she has created a poetic and emotionally charged story that is grounded in the political turmoil of its historical context, revealing the complexity of “alliances” that ripple waves of distrust through every relationship, tearing apart families and binding together strangers.
“Along a Breton Shore” is a companion novel to “Beyond the Lavender Field,” and although I highly recommend you pick that one up as well, (if only because that’s where Maxence younger brother Gilles gets his spotlight,) I think you could get away without having read it, and still find yourself full invested in this new story that Hawks has developed.
When I started reading this I did not realize it was a sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields. You don't necessarily need to read it beforehand to enjoy and follow this story, but I would suggest it. It's really good. It was good to get to know Maxence. I could see potential in him from the beginning and enjoyed watching him change. Armelle was such a fun character. I loved her banter and wit. This was such a hard time for all of France. So much confusion and injustice. It can be hard to read and study. I feel the author handled this dark time really well. I loved the romance in this story, but also enjoyed the real and hard moments too.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and this is my honest review.
4 1/2 stars!
Have the Kleenex handy! In her second book about the French Revolution, Arlem Hawks brilliantly weaves a thought provoking story exploring family relationships, idealism, war, love, and loss that’ll pull on your heartstrings. Her books have a way of making history come alive and feel like you’re right there in the middle of it and Along a Breton Shore is no different.
Maxence Etienne is searching for his place in this world. He feels abandoned by his family especially after his brother refuses to fight alongside him for the revolution he wholeheartedly believes in. As a soldier for the Republique, his idealism starts to wane after the death of his friend, and when asked to shoot an innocent young woman. Deciding to let her go free, he soon finds himself imprisoned after struggling with a fellow soldier whom he accidentally kills.
Armelle Bernard is from Breton and on opposite sides of the revolution. When her father is sentenced to death for hiding counterrevolutionaries, she confronts the priest who turned him in. When soldiers become involved, she’s sentenced to immediate execution. But, the soldier tasked with executing her ends up sparing her life and she in turn must save his. As the two flee, hoping to escape to Saint-Malo, their animosity turns to an unlikely friendship to love as they’re confronted with dangerous situations and forced proximity along their journey. But, when they reach Saint-Malo, will they go their separate ways or explore the feelings brewing between them?
This story was so hard to put down! Along with the sweeping historical aspects, I enjoyed the romance between Max and Armelle. It has so many of my favorite tropes like grumpy/sunshine, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, and a fake marriage! Armelle is all about family and consumed with reuniting with her brother and father. She’s strong, passionate, and a force to be reconned with. She’s also kind and thoughtful.
Maxence is the brooding hero suffering from his past and perceived abandonment. His relationship with his family is complicated. His holding on to his idealistic view of the revolution often puts him at odds with Armelle. But, Armelle has a way of getting under his skin and helps him open up and see his past in a new light. I loved how she uses dice to ask questions.
If you’ve read Georgana’s secret and Lavender Fields, you may have an inkling about what happens when they meet up with Gilles in Saint-Malo. This part broke my heart. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but it’s so sad to those of us familiar with these stories. After thinking about it for awhile, I’ve decided it’s the perfect way to illustrate the times they were living in and bridge a heartfelt, human connection to the past. It could be a little jarring for those not familiar with Gilles’ story and seem to take over the story for a bit.
If you haven’t read these books, don’t worry because this book could be read as a standalone, but it’s more meaningful if you’ve read the previous books. Highly recommend to historical fiction and romance fans! I received an advanced complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are completely my own and voluntarily given.
Set in the era of the French Revolution we come upon two interesting protagonists, Armelle and Mexence. He believes in the future of the Republique and is in the army, while she has disdain for all that is happening in France. In an incident he finds himself in a rather difficult situation as he is ordered to shoot her for some trivial incident. Refusing to do so, he is challenged by another soldier who he unfortunately kills. Helping him to escape prison, Armelle and Maxence go on a journey to escape being captured. Their journey is give and take and one that sets them at odds. The backdrop of the French Revolution made this book an interesting novel. While I have never read anything written by Ms. Hawks, I will definitely look for more of her books. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I found this book to be very interesting, even though I thought the male main character was more than a little whiny and self-pitying. I've never known much about the French Revolution, and this book, along with Beyond the Lavender Fields, has taught me quite a bit. In fact, I plan on using both of these books in our homeschooling.
While I didn't have a big emotional connection to the characters here, I did like them. I found Armelle to be a fun and lively companion, and she was a great balance to Maxence. I also liked seeing where the war had brought the other characters from Beyond the Lavender Fields. It was good to catch up with them. And France. ~happy sigh~ Even in war, the language is beautiful, and I loved reading the French words and phrases.
This is a beautifully written book, and I will have the hard copy on my shelf.
Arlem Hawks continues her intriguing French Revolution saga with this adventurous tale. I was immediately transported to France in the late 1700s and came to adore these plucky characters.
Armelle is spunky and had me laughing at her antics...until I feared for her life. Maxence is the Republique soldier ordered to execute her, but fails to do so. In a romantic adventure full of passion and danger, this couple makes their way across France in search of freedom. Maxence is a brooding fellow and I loved uncovering his reasons throughout the story.
It's very apparent that Hawks does her research because the reader is completely swept away in a vivid tale. While full of the effects of war, I loved all the tropes that presented themselves: enemies to more, a fake relationship/marriage, forced proximity, grumpy/sunshine, and more.
Although I sometimes weighed myself down with trying to pronounce the names, places, and words correctly, I couldn't get enough of the courage, heart and soul, connection, and longing for more.
Content: mild+ war violence/death/descriptions; mild romance; mild moments of danger/peril
You’ll be glad you read this book! This is not one of those books you get to the end of and wish you hadn’t wasted time on. I wasn’t sure what I would think about it before I started reading because I don’t usually enjoy war books and this is set during the French Revolution, but it isn’t heavy, depressing, or violent. In fact, talkative Armelle often surprises me and makes me laugh. The revolution plays a big role in the book, but thankfully the violence is mostly in the background or happens off page. This is mainly the story of two very different people falling in love while relying on each other to survive.
Armelle Bernard’s family has been torn apart by the French Revolution and she is desperately trying to reunite them but ends up facing execution due to her impulsive actions. Maxence is a very troubled soldier who is estranged from his family but has a good heart. He doesn’t carry out the execution order and ends up injured and on the run with Armelle. I loved watching their relationship develop while they are forced to travel together for over a month in this clean romance.
I especially appreciated the list of French and Breton terms at the beginning and referred to it many times. Some of the characters are introduced in Beyond the Lavender Fields and references are made to things that happen in that book, but this can be read alone. It captured and kept my attention throughout. Some parts are predictable but there are a lot of surprises. This is a ro