Member Reviews

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:
opposites attract
spunky, fearless heroine
Armelle’s love of her family
dangerous men and nail biting scenes
historical details
reconciliation and forgiveness
happy ending

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.

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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.
5 stars

𝗦𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹 kisses

I have been granted an advance copy by the publisher, here is my true and unbiased opinion.

Was this review helpful?

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. .

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

REVIEW OF Along a Breton Shore by Arlen Hawks

4.5 stars (rounded up)

-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
-The adventure/journey
-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 🫣

😘🙊🍷 Mild

I'd recommend reading Beyond the Lavender Fields before this one; if you liked that one, you'll probably enjoy this one, too.


Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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 💕

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

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.

Tropes included:
One Bed
Forced Proximity
Fake Marriage
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 .

Was this review helpful?

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:
French revolution
Reluctant allies on opposing sides
Historical "roadtrip" romance
He falls first
Only one bed
Suspense and adventure
Lots of historical details
Fake relationship
Character depth
Sweet romance

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Happy reading!

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

I had the incredible honor of being part of @arlemhawks cover reveal last fall with Hannah! 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!

Some thoughts:
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.

*Romance- kisses
*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

Was this review helpful?

(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.

Was this review helpful?