Member Reviews

Along a Breton Shore was a beautifully unique historical romance.

I love the choice to set this novel in the midst of the French Revolution and all its conflicts. It isn't a typical choice of location/era for a romance, and it was refreshing to have this backdrop for Armelle and Maxence's love story.

One of Hawks' strong points in her writing is how she weaves in the historical details. It is easy to see that she researches thoroughly; the setting - complete with politics, culture, geography, etc. - is richly depicted and shown in such a fascinating light. I felt like I was there, along the coast of France, with Armelle and Maxence, trying to figure out how to live in the midst of a very divisive war. Her love for this region and this era of history is very clear throughout the novel, and it makes for a wonderful book experience as a reader! This aspect was easily the highlight for me.

I also really appreciated the depth that the secondary characters were given, like Pere Quere and the Joubert family. We get to know Armelle and Maxence better through their nuanced interactions with the other characters. I love how both Armelle and Maxence grow and change through their interactions not only with each other, but with these side characters too.

Arlem Hawks is definitely an author I whose work I will continue following!

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All the stars to a beautifully written story. I didnt want it to end.
Many thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Arlem's writing is impeccable. I love her research and this corner of historical fiction not many authors have touched. She ties book to book in lovely and heartbreaking ways. It made me smile, it made me sad, it gave me the what happened?!? answer I've been looking for since Georgana's secret. (And my imagination carved out a worse fate than reality, so that was a relief!) I expect (demand?) to see more in future books.
Maxence left a bad taste in my mouth in Lavender Fields. He needed to go through the ringer to give him the redemption I needed. He's passionate for what he believes in to the sometimes detriment of his relationships. Amelle's just the person to facilitate his growth.
Arlem can transport me to a different time and space which is everything I want out of the genre. I love the nods to historical language with the ease of readability for a modern reader. Can't wait to see what she releases next!

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This was a beautiful story of once of my favorite subjects: France! I truly enjoyed everything about this book! The characters were amazing and filled with so many ups and downs! I just wasn’t sure how this story would end and was surprised by a wonderfully beautiful novel! Loved it!

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@arlemhawks newest release! Such a beautifully rich historical romance set in war-torn France during Robespierre's reign. Has grumpy/sunshine, enemies to lovers, forced proximity, fake dating...all the goods in a clean wonderful story of hope and forgiveness. HIGHLY recommend. Really my only complaint is that as a non-French speaking person some of the names and places were difficult to remember, and that because so much research has gone into the story (HUGE PLUS!) it sometimes took more brain power to read than I anticipated when picking it up. So be sure to be in a deep-dive immersive experience mood when you read it.

*Thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC to review*

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Loved this unique time and setting: the French Revolution!

A story of survival, deciding what is right, and romance!

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4.5* This beautiful story had characters with so much depth. The heroine was a rock of strength and positivity. The hero had a flawed view of his self worth, exacerbated by shame, but his noble intentions shone through. I loved the setting and the backdrop of the French Revolution, as this was a fresh angle for the story to be told from.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

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I am deceased. In the best way possible.
Arlem Hawks sure knows how to write a historical fiction novel with plenty of romance! While parts of this felt a little repetitive, (books with a lot of travel always do for me) most of it was absolutely wonderful. Romantic tension: check. Enemies to more: check. Heartbreaking history: check. Lots of character growth: check. Top that all off with a fabulous narrator and that makes me one happy reader!

Thank you to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain for my complimentary e-arc of this book. All opinions here are my own.

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A rich story full of history and details! It is a follow up the first book, and it is flawlessly blends together. The characters are so well done, the story engulfs you. I loved the French words weaved throughout (and also the index of words at the beginning 😆)It was such a beautiful story that will take you back in time and through a wonderful story.

The characters are people we have seen in the previous books. They are both feisty and ready to be rid of the other one. When Maxence saves Armelle from execution, they are both on the run together to be rid of the men chasing them. They are trying to get to where they need as fast as they can, so the other one can leave! But thanks to injuries, sickness and kind old men, they are housed and stuck in places they didn't want to be.

I loved the back and forth. Maxence and Armelle just meshed so well! This story weaves history and romance and bigger feelings together so well! It was heavy but didn't feel that way!

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Im so glad that Arlem Hawks wrote a sequel to Beyond the Lavender Fields. Once the two main characters started interacting regularly, the story was so gripping - I didn’t want to put it down. I loved learning more about the French Revolution and seeing the conflict between both sides. My only complaint about this book is that it took me a few chapters to be invested in the story.

Regarding the spoiler that so many people have been berating at the end:
I was honestly fine with Caroline’s death. Before you accuse me of being heartless, that is not what I feel. Reading about Caroline’s death ripped up my heart, but in my opinion it also added so much depth to the story that was NEEDED to help Max reconcile with his family.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy. All opinions are my own.

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I received an ARC from Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

I loved this book! I could not get enough of it. Just like the previous book, I devoured it. I thought it was super unique and gave a ton of details. This story was such an intense heart wrenching story. I wanted the lovers to end up together so badly and there were so many on the edge of your seats moments.

Synopsis:
France, 1794

Maxence Étienne, a soldier for the République, believes fiercely in the revolution that is bringing liberty to France. But even though the monarchy has fallen and Maxence is part of a great cause, he is still searching for a place to belong.

Armelle Bernard is a young woman from Breton whose father was sentenced to death for hiding counterrevolutionaries. She decides to confront the priest who betrayed her father, and as the conflict escalates, she herself is ordered to be executed—an order to be carried out by Maxence.

Maxence has seen his share of violence and bloodshed, but he also carries a tragic secret and can’t bring himself to carry out his assignment. In allowing Armelle to escape, he is forced to combat a fellow soldier, who dies in the struggle.

Though Armelle and Maxence are strangers and on opposite sides of the revolution, they find themselves united as fugitives of the new republic. Now they must find a way to trust each other as they search for a path to peace, and to freedom.

Read if you enjoy:
War stories
Brave Characters
Revolution
Families

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Along A Breton Shore by Arlem Hawks is a beautiful and poignant tale set during the French Revolution.
It is a continuation of Maxence’s story from Beyond the Lavender Fields. While you don’t have to read that first to enjoy, it will provide backdrop and perspective (plus, it’s just a great book). You will encounter previous characters along the way.
I love the option of learning along the way without feeling like I’m sitting in history lecture. Hawks takes meticulous time to build her characters as well as her setting and adds in so many supporting details. Her writing paints the images in my mind. I feel like she captured some of the terror and horrors that people encountered, yet focused on the faith and resiliency that often rises above.
I do love a good opposites attract in a slow burn romance. Max and Armelle bring wonderful balance to one another and I enjoyed their journey.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher via NetGalley and all opinions expressed are solely my own, freely given.

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“How can you be so optimistic?” “Faith.” She shrugged, tossing her head to one side with a playful look, as though they weren’t running for their lives.”

This book is beautiful! It is beautifully written. It has a beautiful message. It has a beautiful healing love story and I absolutely loved it!

One act of mercy brings Armelle Bernard and Maxence Etienne together, and their lives will never be the same. I loved following along with them on their journey through war torn France. I loved how they helped each other along the way, and their slow burn romance was my favorite! Both characters have so much depth and their growth was so enjoyable to read! What a beautiful healing love story Arlem Hawkes has created!

Read for:
🤍dual pov
🤍Max’s story, Gilles’ older brother
🤍Grump and sunshine
🤍opposites attract
🤍sweetest slow burn romance
🤍forced proximity
🤍AMA-zing witty banter
🤍incredible characters with depth
🤍spunky heroine
🤍broody hero
🤍war torn France/French Revolution
🤍intriguing, eye opening history

This story is emotional, touching, heart breaking, romantic, suspenseful, sweet, enjoyable, intense, unputdownable with a sprinkle of humor. I LOVE Max and Armelle, and I loved the adventure this book took me on!

Content:death of loved ones(maybe grab a tissue),grief, French Revolution/war violence and deaths

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Thanks to Shadow Mountain and Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Along a Breton Shore is a lovely story about Maxennce Etienne and Armelle Bernard, two young people during the French Revolution who become unlikely companions on a journey to find safety. Armelle comes across as vivacious, headstrong, and light-hearted, sometimes crossing into dangerous ground because of those traits. Following her character's development through the book brought a measure of light and happiness that could easily have been stamped out in the gritty reality of the early 1890s. Maxennce, on the other hand, is much more closed off and his character develops more slowly, reflecting the growing relationship between he and Armelle. I really enjoyed watching these characters interact and grow throughout the story. Their budding romance is sweet and believable.

At times, it was very easy to forget the historical context of this book. While the historical details were accurate to the time frame, something in the dialogue kept bringing this story into a modern vibe for me. I'm not expecting something like Les Miserables or The Three Musketeers, but I wanted a few more cues from the novel to keep things grounded in the French Revolution era.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of clean historical romance stories!

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I'm going to pretend I didn't read this.

overall rating 3 stars.
enjoyment 2 stars.

-I adored getting to know Max. He was a lovely character and gave me serious Poldark vibes. I appreciated him and his growth.
-There were a few sweet moments that touched me, and proves that Arlem knows how to write a scene that pulls at your heartstrings.
-I loved the history that the author brought to light. I admire how she worked to give a different perspective of the French revolution.

THOUGHTS:
-The pacing felt repetitious. It had some interesting conflicts at times, but not enough to grip me to the story until about 80% into the book.
-I was hoping for more from the romance but this felt mostly tamed and not particularly memorable.
-I appreciate the historical facts the author gave, but i was hoping for a deeper dive. it felt sprinkled in around the characters and romance.

-There is a plot twist near the end that I was not expecting or prepared for. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. I wanted to stop reading, and no longer cared how this book ended.
-I respect the author's choice to keep events historically accurate and I often read books with this kind of twist, but I failed to see how it enhanced the characters or the plot. It felt unnecessary for this book and was presented in a way that irrevocably damaged my reading experience.

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We often talk about books in terms of genres It’s is a historical fiction, it’s an enemies to lovers, it’s a grumpy Sunshine.

And this book is the best parts all of those.

Sometimes you come across a book however that is all of those, but so much more.

It is about History and love and family. It’s about sorrow and healing and heart.

It is a happily ever after and it’s not.

The characters have your heart, the history fascinates while staying objective. Arlem doesn’t side one way or the other, but expresses concerns, fears, terror and facts on both sides.

It’s the kind of book that leaves you reeling and feeling and thinking for moments and days after.

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

Romance/Steam: Sweet, Kissing only
Content Warning: mild violence, death
Final Rating: 4.5/5

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

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

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

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

I highly recommend reading the Beyond the lavender fields first as this book contains spoilers. I believe the reading experience will be better as you can grasp Max’s character development, and live the love story between Gilles and Caroline. Though I will not comment on the plot twist that effects the side characters (and left me reeling), it is important to note I base my review solely on the main characters storyline.

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

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This is a clean Historical romance that holds your attention from the first page until the last. The author brings the story to life with her words and makes you feel like you are there. I highly recommend this book.
I received a complimentary copy from Shadow Mountain Publishing via NetGalley and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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What a beautiful story! If you love historical romance, Arlem Hawks is your girl. Very well researched with enough detail to make you feel like are there. I learn so much when I read Hawks’s books, and this one is no exception. Lots of interesting parallels to issues today- political divisions and overcoming those differences. Plenty of exciting moments! Lovely read.

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I really enjoy Arlem's books. This is no exception! Maxence is such a flawed character and he doesn't magically get fixed. He does make choices and become better, but I really appreciated that he wasn't all of a sudden flawless. Armelle is intriguing and such a good fit for Max! This book stands out because it deals with some hard topics like self imposed loneliness and challenging beliefs you've held for some time. It truly is such a delightful and wonderful book!

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