Cover Image: Beyond the Lavender Fields

Beyond the Lavender Fields

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Member Reviews

I don’t think I can truly explain how well written this story is. Arlem did a fabulous job engrossing us in the story of Gilles and Caroline’s relationship along with the French Revolution. I was invested from the beginning and couldn’t stop until they got that HEA. Plus, there was so much angst waiting to see whether the other Jacobins would discover their relationship and turn to violence. 

I think one of my favorite characters was Pere (his dad). I wish I could have more of him and his perspective. 

I feel so much smarter after reading this novel since this is the most history I’ve learned all year. Truly, it was fabulous!
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Set in France in 1792 during the French Revolution, this story paints a vivid picture of the turmoil and the division between the two sides involved. It was interesting and thought-provoking to learn more about this slice of history. With obvious careful research and rich historical detail, the story unfolds to show that things are sometimes not just black and white. 
“Doing what is right is more important than who is right, I think.”
“If the upholders of liberty only protect liberty for those who think as they do, can they really call themselves champions of freedom?”

Arlem Hawks is a master at creating colorful, realistic, and emotionally-layered characters. Gilles and Marie-Caroline shine as the courageous main characters, while a stellar cast of supporting characters add great depth and dimension. I enjoyed seeing the relationships change and grow throughout the tale.

“Life throws us more things we don’t choose than things we do.”

While this book started out a little slow for me, mostly due to the preponderance of names and words in French which I’m not fluent in, once I got into it my interest was piqued and I greatly enjoyed it. I appreciated the glossaries of French names and words in the back of the book. They really helped with pronunciation and understanding. I did find myself flipping back to the glossaries often, which took me out of the story a bit.

This story is a perfect blend of a riveting plot, compelling characters, and a swoony romance, and is sure to please those who enjoy historical romantic fiction. I’m looking forward to more books from this author.  4.5 stars

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing. All opinions are my own.
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This book takes place in France in the late 1700's during the French revolution. It was interesting from a historical aspect to learn more about the French revolution and the parties involved. I also loved how Gilles and Caroline are first brought together in the book and how that continues to be remembered through the book. At times it was a little slow but overall a great read 
#BeyondtheLavenderFields #NetGalley
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**Review will be published January 18th, 2022 on my blog/Instagram**

A GREAT READ.

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

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

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

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

Overall audience notes:
- Historical fiction romance
- Language: none
- Romance: kisses
- Violence: war themes, physical altercations
- Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion/use of guillotine, loss of a sibling, mob attacks
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Marie-Caroline and Gilles find themselves on opposite sides of the French Revolution yet both of their core beliefs align more than they know. In amongst the uprisings, overturned loyalties and damage to the country’s monarchy, these two people remain unsure of their feelings and freedom to love each other. Their hopes for a future seem impossible in light of their present circumstances.

Hawks tells this story well. Giving her characters spunk and courage along a backdrop of secrecy and treason, family loyalties and loss. The story slightly lulls in the middle but the story picks up again to push the reader to the end. The outcome, something different than what was planned, leaving the reader with a satisfying conclusion. 

This book is appropriate for teens and older. There are no overly descriptive intimate scenes and no bad language.

I received this book from the author/publisher free of charge with no expectation of a positive review.
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Beyond the Lavender Fields takes place during the French Revolution and I don’t think I have ever read a novel situated in this time period.

Marie-Caroline Daubin has returned to Marseille from Paris amid all the fighting hoping to escape it. Marie Caroline is a royaliste and a bourgeois. From the very beginning, she challenges Gilles through her own stalwart convictions even though it pitted them against one another.

Gilles Etienne is a Jacobin who is strong in his fervor towards getting rid of the King, but as the story progresses we find out he doesn’t want to to go Paris to fight, his heart is to become a doctor, and by being a clerk at the Daubin savonnerie, he hopes to go to university by next year. Some of his fellow Jacobin or san culotte would’ve called him a traitor to the cause and probably guillotined him.

Beyond the Lavender Fields begins with Gilles trying to kiss Marie-Caroline on a dare (as he hopes to win 25 livres), but she knows what he’s about, and instead of letting him kiss her, they become friends despite their obvious differences. he learns despite their differences how much he is learning to be a better person because of her. Instead of following what his brother Max and friend Emile thinks he should do, he begins to stand on his own two feet and think for himself. Very enjoyable.

My gratitude to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley. All opinions expressed here are mine.
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This one surprised me. It was beautiful. I was lucky to read an ARC via NetGalley. The author painted an incredible picture of the world at that time. I love books that make me forget where and when I am.
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“I don’t know how I’ll rise tomorrow. When I wake and find you missing from me,” 

Set in Marseille during the revolution, Gilles Étienne is clerk working as a clerk in a soap factory. He is a Jacobin, dedicated to the cause of a central government in France and overthrowing the monarchy. Marie-Caroline, his employer’s daughter has returned from Paris following the growing unrest. Being on separate sides of the revolution the two frequently find themselves quarreling in the beginning. However, Gilles finds some truth to the arguments Marie-Caroline makes and slowly finds himself questioning his own beliefs. With Gilles and Marie-Caroline on opposite sides of the revolution, and with tension rising between both sides, will their feelings for each other other survive this tumultuous time in history? 

This was my first novel by Arlem Hawks, and while it is a companion to Georgiana’s Secret, this book can still act as a standalone. Ms. Hawks did an Amazing job with the setting of the French Revolution and describing the tension between the two sides. Gilles’ struggle of wanting to support the cause of a new government, but not supporting the methods the Jacobin’s used really highlighted the main theme of the novel; finding peace even with those around you who do not share the same beliefs. I found myself not able to put the book down waiting to see when the conflict would hit their peak, if everyone would make it out alive.  I became pretty invested in the characters and did worry for their safety.

Gilles and Marie-Caroline’s relationship, as a forbidden romance was done so well. The book is set from Gilles point of view, however letters written by Marie-Caroline are also included in the book to show her thoughts and feelings as the story progressed. Set across the backdrop of the chaos during the revolution, my heart broke at each obstacle that popped up to try to force them apart even more. If you enjoy the forbidden love trope in a historical setting this is a must read!

Thank you to net galley, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Arlem Hawks for providing a free E-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I reviewed and loved Arlem Hawks' previous novel (highly recommend!) and why should this one be different? Hawks has a fantastic writing voice, with a balance of description and stirring action. And this cover is phenomenal. Check this one out!
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“Why must men with supposed intellect assume every woman a glance and a kiss away from being in love with them?”

A kiss begins the journey of love in this book and ends it so remarkably well. Such a fantastic read that I know I shirked many duties as a wife, parent and business owner to finish reading it sooner. No regrets from this historical fiction lover here! 
If you’re a fan of clean romance, conspiracies and a champion of sticking to your beliefs then this is the book for you.
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Revolution swirls in France. Gilles Étienne, a fervent Jacobin, is committed to doing whatever he needs to support equality while he saves for medical school. His employer's daughter, Marie-Caroline, is a fervent royalist. When they meet, they clash as they disagree, but attraction soon follows. What chance do two people have when they hold such differing beliefs?

Since I’ve finished reading this one, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I picked it up because I thought it would be interesting since it was set in a time period I rarely read. I should have expected it, but I was caught off guard by how politically charged it was. 

The majority of the story follows Gilles, so he is the character we see the most growth from. When we are first introduced to him, he has little problem accepting bets from his brother and friends to kiss whatever girl they point out, thinking it harmless fun. Marie-Caroline takes him to task for this when they meet, and so does his mother shortly after. This makes Marie-Caroline the “She’s not like other girls” character that I don’t care for.  We get most of our glimpses of her through letters she writes to her cousin, so in her, I saw little growth. 

I honestly kept thinking, “These two have no chance.” I was not rooting for them to put aside their differences, since neither seemed willing to compromise. Even in the end, it is more of an agree to disagree kind of situation because they just love each other so much.

It is well written and seems to have a lot of details of the era. I honestly would have loved a little more details about the soap making of the time. Overall, it just isn’t a favorite of mine.
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Flat out, one of the best books I've read in awhile. I love historical fiction, I love France, and I love it when the characters challenge each other in a thought provoking way. I haven't read anything by this author before, and now I'll definitely be checking out her other titles. The characters in this book were so well written that I felt like I knew them well before the book ended. The storyline was heartbreaking, and yet so vivid in the historical descriptions. I find that this era isn't written about as much as others, and that made this story very refreshing. Overall, this was a beautifully written book that will stay with me for a long time.
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Ms. Hawks is swiftly becoming a favorite author of mine! This book is so unique--much as her previous novel (Georgana's Secret--if you haven't read that one yet, you are missing out!). Gilles Etienne is a French revolutionary willing to fight for his nation's freedom. Marie-Caroline Daubin loves the familiar safety of the status quo and is a royalist. With such diametrically opposed worldviews, how can they possibly relate? And at first, they very much don't relate. But as danger mounts and they both begin to count the costs of their ideals, some things (like love and kindness and decency) became much more important than they previously appeared. 

I very much enjoyed this book, which was somewhat surprising as I normally steer clear of novels set during the French Revolution (not my favorite period of history). But the characters are so well-developed and the dialogue is so dynamic that I couldn't help falling for it! Ms. Hawks has a way of bringing home a one-liner that captures the heart and soul of the couple's relationship and sticks in your mind for days afterward. Definitely worth the read! 

Rated PG-13 for some violence and intense scenes
--some violence
--mild to no language
--clean romance
--no torture

I received this ebook free from NetGalley. My opinions are voluntarily given.
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This was an interesting historical fiction where I found myself immersed in the time period, but also in the lives of our main characters. I thought that it started as a bit of a slow-burn, and then picked up and flew to an amazing ending. 

I loved that the two main characters were so different. They had their own minds and opinions and they didn't see eye to eye a lot, but as the story progresses, we find that they have more in common that they think. I thought this was a great story, and I think historical fiction fans will enjoy it!
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This book was absolutely STUNNING. My only complaint is that is ended too soon. I’d love more of this story!

*I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. Many thanks to Shadow Mountain.*
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This writing is so sophomoric that I can’t get into the story. It’s too distracting.
“He practically ran for the stairs, trying to relax his tense jaw before he broke a tooth.”
“ uncanny shadows”
“the hem of her petticoat lapping against his shoes”
I just couldn’t finish this book.
Thank you NetGalley for this ARC.
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It was hard for me to read a book about a revolution as we just got through a failed and very hard one here in Egypt.

The author did something unusual as she set the events in another place other than England or United States as most of the historical novels do.

I didn't like the characters a lot, but the plot kept me wondering how they would solve their problems in the middle of the chaos they were in.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for the ARC.
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For Gilles Etienne and Marie Caroline Daubin its love at first sight.  However their political ideologies are at odss.  In a France in the midst of the Revolution, Gilles is part of the Jacobin movement while Marie Caroline is a staunch Catholic Royaliste.  Will they reconcile their love for each other with their love for their political vision for France?  Read Beyond the Lavender Fields to find out.

Perfect if you are looking for some light-hearted romance while also craving for historical fiction.  The book comes out on 1st Feb 2022.  Thank you NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the advance copy.
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This book captured me. 

I was completely enraptured. The enemies to lovers trope is one that can sometimes be pushed to places that don't seem believable. But this was a slow burn that allowed them to go from one state in a relationship, to another, while putting the work in that it would realistically need to get there. I adored Gilles and Caroline. Her strength to literally stand up for what she believed, even when it put herself and others in potential danger, was what I admired about her most. She decides that doing right, is better than being safe, and to some, that can sound naïve. But when you really think about it, that is when things can change. Gilles' strengths were the fact that he took the time to listen. He had ideas and what he agreed with, but when the time came to follow one way or the other, he had to step back and see what those ideas had morphed into.  He allowed himself to change, without compromising on his personal beliefs.

The relationship Gilles and Caroline have is imperfect, and that is real. I like that. I love the tenderness that can be found amidst their bickering, too. There were so many single moments between them that make me want to open this book up again, and devour it.
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A good and light historical romance set in France in beautiful Marseille during the French Revolution. No overwhelming historical details but very interesting to learn about soapmaking in Provence. The characters are well drawn, one can relate to them. Highly recommended for romance readers who enjoy a historical background.
Thank you NetGalley for letting me read this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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