Beyond the Lavender Fields

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Pub Date 01 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 15 Feb 2022

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Description

1792, France

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory.

A bourgeoise and royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought.

As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.
1792, France

Rumors of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause...

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ISBN 9781629729350
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Featured Reviews

Beyond the Lavender Fields is one of the best books I've read this year! Characters Marie-Caroline and Gilles are at odds with each from chapter one. One believes in the revolution and the other in the monarchy. The characters beliefs evolve through out the story as they see how the revolution brings change to their country, friends and family. For me their development was near excellent. I do wish that there was a little bit more focus at the beginning showing why each supported their cause so strongly, especially Gilles. Plot The narrative is driven primarily by the characters but the external and internal conflict is woven brilliantly with the development of the characters that it is hard to put the book down. Themes The novel explores political extremism and the possibility of finding common ground with those whom disagree with each other. Other themes explored are the cost of liberty and duty to country vs family. Overall: This is a wonderful historical fiction novel. I was given the opportunity to read an advanced reader copy via Net Galley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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4.5 Stars!! This book was so great. The Setting I know very little about the French Revolution; however, the author did a great job explaining the setting and the world around the characters in a way that someone like me (with limited knowledge of the French Revolution) can catch on pretty quick to the setting. The writing was beautiful. Imagining the the characters and scenes was easy, and the author paints such a beautiful settings. The Plot I feel like this book is more character centered than plot centered (which is what I personally prefer), so the characters really did the work of moving the plot. This is a story less about the French Revolution and more about how people lived through it. The Characters The characters were so wonderfully written!! Each had their own motives and questions. It is very rare that I read a book and I feel like each and every character is more than a two-dimensional figure there to simply advance the story, but this book delivered in so many ways. I loved how Gilles and Caroline respected each others' thoughts and opinions. I love how Caroline explains their love: "not a fiery passion that consumes us both, but a mutual respect and unspoken attraction". (how lovely is that??. I also want to mention how much I loved Gilles' mother's character. She is such a strong and brave woman, and I loved it every time she was on page. Other Thoughts I love how the characters show grief and loss. One of my favorite quotes from the book is "how dare the world keep on existing as before, when all our light has been snatched away?" The author really blew me away with the characters' feelings. I subtracted 0.5 stars from the overall rating because I felt the book lagged a little in the beginning. At around the halfway point it really picked up, and I could hardly put it down!

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Beyond the Lavender Fields is the story of Gilles, a clerk at a soap making shop in Marseilles in 1792, and Marie-Caroline, the shop owner's daughter. The French Revolution has began, and The Troubles are starting, with the guillotine making its introduction into the world. Marie-Caroline has returned to Marseilles to escape the unrest in Paris. She is a loyal royalist, and Gilles is a Jacobin (a club of revolutionaries), making them on opposite ends of the political spectrum. I really enjoyed this book. The characters had a chance to grow and learn. They had to deal with chaos, grief, and danger. They also had to question what they thought they knew. The time period for the entire novel is over the course of several months so the entire French Revolution is not covered, and if you are familiar with that part of history, you'll know that it takes many years for the wars to end and life to return to a semblance of normalcy. This story is about the characters, not the Revolution. The book's main theme is on people learning to live in harmony even when they have widely different beliefs, in this case political and religious beliefs. Both Gilles and Marie-Caroline believe they are right, and they have to learn to understand the other's viewpoint even though they don't share it. This is a timely book in view of today's political and social landscape. The novel shows the extremist of both sides and the damage they cause. How Gilles and Marie-Caroline learn to see the other despite their differences is something we all need to consider. A minor theme running throughout the book is the treatment of women. Gilles and his comrades treat them as playthings. Marie-Caroline refuses to be treated that way. Conversations with her and several other character, including Gilles' mother and father, cover the respect women should be given as fellow human beings. This is not a treatise on feminism, equality, or suffrage, but rather on women being respected and respecting themselves. Neither theme is very subtle. At times, it seemed a little preachy. That's really the only thing that keeps me from giving it a five star review. The author did an excellent job of conveying the horror of the times - people dragged from their homes and executed simply because they disagreed with the opinion of the people in power. Houses and businesses burned to the ground after being looted by the "oppressed" mob of peasants. Employees turning against employers and spying on them, even employers who paid a fair wage and cared for them when they were sick. Priests and the religious were persecuted, either killed or driven from France. Lessons that we seem to never learn. Family friendly. While violence is referred to, it is rarely shown and no executions are detailed. This is a romance but quite chaste. An excellent book for our times. Read and enjoy!

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BEYOND THE LAVENDER FIELDS by ARLEM HAWKS is a well researched novel which takes place in Marseille in 1792 during the French revolution. The cry for liberte, egalite et fraternite is drowning out the horrors that are being perpretated by revolutionaries, consisting of the Jacobins and the sans-culottes. Gilles Etienne is a member of the Jacobin Club and his employer’s daughter, Marie-Caroline Daubin, is an avid royalist. Their friendship starts off on a teasing note but things get very dangerous when Martel, Gilles’ Jacobin “friend”, suspects both of them and also looks down on Gilles for not joining the fighting in Paris with his brother Maxence and friend Emile Daubin. it is a time full of senseless killing and bloodlust, showing a certain hypocrisy as the revolutionaries, in their search for freedom from oppression from the arisros, end up taking away the choice of others. In fact Gilles’ mother says “Will my sons be caught up in taking away the choice of others, all for the cause of liberty”, and “But are you really going to defend la patrie, or are your leaders sending you to defend their Club’s hold in the government? I like the characters, especially Gilles and Caroline, whose changing emotions and conflicting convictions are well brought out. Although both of them belong to bourgeois families, Gilles’ works at the Daubin’s savonnerie, where he keeps coming across his boss’s rather aristocratic daughter, while his father is a privateer on his ship, le Rossignol. I am not going to tell you any more as I do not want to spoil things for you. The story is not only exciting but also reminds us of the depravity of human nature and that “ doing what is right is more important than who is right. I highly recommend this novel as a most enjoyable read. I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Shadow Mountain Publishing.The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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I found the first 1/3 of the book slow-going but it started picking up by the half mark and the rest was much more engaging. It's an interesting time period in which to set these characters who hardly have anything in common in the beginning. Gilles and Marie-Caroline have opposite beliefs and political opinions, but as the social unrest climbs in their town, they find they're not so different after all. I liked their friendship and mutual respect, and how they were able to see past their differences. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion.

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“My brother and yours, they do not apologize for their actions,” she said. Before he could dip into a gracious bow, one of her brows twitched. “Perhaps there is a spark of hope that the little brother will grow up to be the better man.” I promised myself I would not binge read this book. I would take my time. I would relish the masterful characterization and rich history I knew to expect from Arlem Hawks. And then I promptly kept reading because this is Arlem Hawks after all. How am I supposed to put this book down? She killed it, you guys. This story is *infinite chefs kisses* Accepting his friend’s bet to kiss the girl waiting in his boss’ office leaves Gilles Étienne mortified. And when attempting to get back in her good graces proves to be near impossible, he hardly expects that this is the beginning of one of the most challenging and beautiful friendships he would ever experience. Caroline is equally astonished when her brother’s obnoxious friend who failed in his attempt to steal a kiss the first time they met, succeeds in stealing her heart, instead. “Gilles. Who always follows his brother in everything—giving up life at sea, pursuing medical school, joining the Jacobins, playing their kissing games. I can hardly believe it.” Gilles’ character development was downright heartwarming. The story arc took him from a careless boy to a thoughtful young man. In a world where there exists more division than reconciliation; where disagreeing with someone's politics can make you a lifelong enemy; where associating with the wrong people can cost your life—and theirs, he finds himself longing for more. “Can we call ourselves good men if we cannot be civil toward our enemies?” In many ways, Beyond the Lavender Fields, spoke to today's issues—perhaps because history does have a tendency to repeat itself—where it often feels like we are unable to have heartfelt conversations from opposite sides of the table. Gilles and Caroline learn that for them, what is most important is not where they stand politically, but that they can see past that and build bridges to the hearts of the people on the other side of the issue. The rich and vivid way that Arlem Hawks presented this story, stole my heart within just a few pages. The setting took on its own life and I learned much about the dynamics of the French Revolution without being overwhelmed—testament to the incredible amount of research that went into this story. Five stars just isn't enough for this one🥰

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Beyond the Lavender Fields by Arlem Hawks is a stunning historical fiction novel that takes place during the French Revolution. It is divine. I have been a fan of Ms. Hawks is the past, so I was excited to read her new novel. This book has it all: history, romance, suspense, intrigue, revolution, and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout due to several gripping and pivotal moments. I loved the painstaking research that must have taken place to create such a visual feast for the reader. I really felt as if I was there in France in 1792 in the thick of it. The characters were so well-drawn. They were so real, so complex, and had such fantastic qualities that really let each one shine in their own right. The contrast in life stations and circumstances for Gilles and Marie could not have appeared more extreme, yet both yearned for the same things: love, stability, safety, family, faith, purpose, and each felt that they had the “right” path. One for the downfall of the monarchy, the other for a different path for change. I loved that the characters grew, progressed, and changed. I always find it wonderful when there is a positive improvement as the story goes on despite the outward events. I also loved the ending. Just perfect. I will leave the rest of the plot for the reader to discover so that I do not spoil this gem, but let me just say that there were a few tense moments, a few twists, turns, and surprises, and a gripping pace that led me to devour this book in less then two days…and enjoy every minute of it. I cannot recommend this book enough and I have to say that it is truly unique and memorable. Please read this! 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately (as of 8/14/21 no BB listing has been created) and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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Let me first say that this book caught my eye because I have been to France to see their gorgeous lavender fields, and so I was biased already by the title and the setting. I have always found the French Revolution fascinating in his absolute cruelty and the ability of people to set aside all rational behavior to create mobs that only seek to destroy. And although the monarchy was blind and wasteful, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette actually seemed like kind people who were constantly misguided and misinformed by their ministers. So this book was fantastic, because each character had their own opinions (one a monarchist, one a revolutionary), and it was wonderful to see their beliefs and the reasons behind them, while fighting an attraction that turns deeper into love. The author did a good job at showing the violence that occurred to well-meaning people, while keeping the killing and executions off the page (in case that triggered anything for readers). Overall, this was an excellent book that was like a history lesson, but much more fun! I highly recommend it for readers not familiar with the French Revolution, because you will gain knowledge about it, because the author obviously did her research well.

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A gripping, luminously researched love story featuring a time period and riveting history too rarely explored in fiction. I will be hosting Arlem for a live Q and A via zoom/FB live on February 24 to help promote the book

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What a beautiful story set in a dramatic and heartbreaking time period! I've read a lot of Regency romances, but had not thought about the French Revolution since my AP European History class 18 years ago, so I was not sure what to expect when I was selected as an ARC reader. One of the best and most unique aspects of this book is the way that Hawks utilizes the story's setting as almost a third lead character. The angst and uncertainty of late 18th century France is palpable throughout the story, thanks to Hawks' fantastic research and storytelling. I also thought she did a fantastic job with the character development in the book, especially for Gilles, who starts off as a flirt who blindly follows his friend and brother in their Jacobin zeal. Thanks in large part to his often-contentious encounters with Caroline, Gilles grows as person, as a citizen, and as a man. I really loved that his innate goodness and integrity came shining through when he was faced with difficult decisions and conflicting loyalties. I also loved that he continually showed up for Caroline when she needed him. While I found Caroline's strong-willed ways stressful to read about in certain situations, I admired her faith and her willingness to stand up for what she believed in. I also loved reading about her growing feelings for Gilles in her correspondence with her cousin. I admit, I feel in love with him, too! Overall, this was a beautiful love story inside a well-researched, compelling story. This was my first Arlem Hawks book, but it won't be my last.

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I throughly enjoyed this book! It was a different read for me, as I usually read books set in England, but it was interesting and engaging to explore France, especially during the French Revolution. Arlem Hawks' character development is on point, as always. I loved seeing two seemingly opposing characters, each with their own viewpoints about the situation at hand, find each other and come together and repeat each other. Arlem also does such a wonderful job at enveloping you into the history of the time period being presented. I could feel myself there, engaging with the events and the characters. Giles and Caroline are lovable characters. Two souls, who on the outside seem vastly different, but once they really get to know each other, they discover that they are not that different after all. I highly recommend this book and I a grateful for NetGalley and Shadow Mountain for the opportunity to read it!!

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This was stunning and beautiful. The plot was captivating and engaging to the very end. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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This was an interesting book. The French revolution is not something I am super knowledgeable about. I loved how this book brought to light, in a gentle way, the horror of the time, along with some who wanted to make changes, but in a better way. The history along the way of this story was good. The characters were invested in the time, and had to find a way through their differences to make their relationship work. It was a bit slow at the beginning but did pick up in the middle.

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A couple of years after the 1789’s revolution in France, politics are still not settled and the Jacobins (the révolutionnaires) are still chasing the royalists, bringing down everyone that crosses their ideals and trying to erase monarchy for good. Gilles Étienne tries to follow his brother’s ideals by being a fierce Jacobin and spread their convictions across the city of Marseille - a nice harbor city, by the way. The thing is, the Jacobins’ ideals are not as pretty as they make them look. Violence is too often used and justice not considered enough. Furthermore, Gilles meets this royalist that came straight from Paris (the capital!) that will soon enough break down his revolutionary's convictions, or at least their ways of applying it. I was so thrilled to get into this historical fiction book, all the more that the French Revolution is something that is not foyer addressed (unlike the Second World War events in Paris) and it is a subject that deserves also some attention (my only reading on the subject his Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables). Also, I find Marseille to be a very attractive and romantic city, so here is another good point. The historical fiction is built around the departure of young Jacobins leaving Marseille to go fight in Paris. Yet I felt that we were not going enough into the details and the whereabouts of the political troubles. The historical situation quickly turned into a romance with flirts and the fear of an impossible love. It scared me in the beginning because I was not here for some teenage romance. It turned out to be mitigated - the book fits as well in the historical fiction category as in the romance one. It kind of disappointed me, because there were these cheesy parts here and there, and we could only be sure of how the situation will turn out. Nonetheless, it was also a great story to witness and the evolution of the relationship between Gilles and Caroline can only be approved. We have some strong friendship values here, and the story really benefited from it. I am a strong friendship supporter and I loved how they showed the importance of human values (kindness, respect, justice, equality) that could rise above violence and nonsense. Beyond the Lavender Fields is an easy read, sometimes frustrating but satisfying. Moreover, it is nice to have a light historical fiction read. Well, I have to admit that I enjoyed it maybe a little bit more because I’m French, but anyway. Vive la France 🇫🇷 Special thanks to Netgalley and Mountain Publishing, Shadow Mountain for sharing a digital copy of this book with me in exchange for an honest review.

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"Beyond the Lavender Fields" is a compelling historical fiction novel by talented author Arlem Hawks. Well-researched and rich in historical detail, this riveting read pits Jacobins against Royalists during the French Revolution. While events in this novel precede the Reign of Terror, the seeds of violent revolutionary tactics have been planted. This harrowing time is vividly portrayed; images of senseless executions and destruction of property are shocking. Many believe the end justifies the means. Amid this turmoil, Royalist Marie-Caroline Daubin and Jacobin Gilles Étienne somehow manage to find lasting happiness. I found the resolution highly satisfying. Daubin repeated refrain "I do not want to kiss you" had me smiling every time she said it. Secondary characters are fleshed out as well. Hawks' prose is beautiful and descriptive. Moreover, this book is clean. A few secondary characters deserve their own stories. Thanks to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for an ARC of this outstanding novel.

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This book wins on all levels. Everything I could hope for in a historical romance has been fulfilled in this book. Striking, soulful, diverse main characters who create a meaningful connection. Witty dialogue, plot suspense, multi-faceted side characters. Well-researched, accurate historical information. I could go on! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It has depth and shows that it is possible to see past first impressions and political differences. What a beautiful story! One of if not the best book I have ever read that takes place during the French Revolution. Arlem Hawks has sealed a place on my “best authors” bookshelf! I would like to thank the publisher for an eARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Beyond the Lavender Fields; Another home run for Arlem Hawks. The stunning historical research alone is 5 star worthy. Very well put together. This one has is all; history, romance, suspense, intrigue, and it does not disappoint The sub characters are well drawn and add to the fullness and quirks of the two main characters. Gilles and Marie-Caroline: so complex! Both had wonderful qualities that let each one shine in their own right. The drastic contrast in life stations and circumstances for Gilles and Marie could not have been more extreme, yet both yearned for the same things: love, stability, safety, family, faith, and a purpose. Both certain that they had the “right” path. One for the downfall of the monarchy, the other for a different path for change. I loved that the characters grew, progressed, and changed. Pick this one up. It does not disappoint. . I received an ARC of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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It’s 1792 in Marseille, France and Gilles Étienne is ready to march to Paris to aid in dethroning the monarchy when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, a royaliste and the daughter of his employer. Both are passionate about their beliefs, but as they grow closer, they begin to realize they might actually have more in common than they originally thought. Tensions rise and revolution envelops Marseille. When Gilles discovers a secret that could be the downfall of Marie-Caroline and her family, he must choose whether to support his political beliefs or protect those he has come to love. Can a révolutionnaire and a royaliste be together in a world where sides must be chosen? Though the first quarter of this novel was a bit slow for me, eventually I came to really appreciate the world building and character development that was achieved and ultimately enhanced the rest of the novel. The writing was spectacular and transported me directly to Marseille during the French Revolution. It was thrilling and terrifying to not only be in the midst of so much unrest, but to also be beside two characters like Gilles and Caroline while they navigated their way through the turbulence. I also loved being able to read from both of their perspectives and absolutely loved that Caroline’s point of view was written strictly through letters. I adored witnessing the growth of their friendship despite their differences. The characters themselves were some of the most well-developed I can remember reading. Gilles’ character development in particular was a work of genius and a delight to read. He is a swoon-worthy hero to be sure. Not only were Gilles and Caroline perfectly written, but the secondary characters were just as developed and really made this world come alive. The romance was such a slow burn and oh so wonderful. I love learning about history while reading fiction and felt like I gained a much greater understanding of the French Revolution while reading this story. There were so many amazingly written passages that you just have to experience for yourself! I cannot say enough good things about this novel and hope that you will put it on your TBR as soon as possible because it is a must-read! Beyond the Lavender Fields will be released on February 1, 2022, and I promise you, it is worth the wait!! Content warnings: violence, death, and executions are mentioned but not detailed (I received an eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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This book was pretty dense and slow at the start, but the overall writing and storytelling were wonderful. I really enjoyed reading this once we got past the setup of the book.

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Beyond the Lavender Fields is a historical fiction set in the time of the French revolution and it's aftermath. This book was amazing, one of my favorites this year. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC.

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Publication date: February 15, 2022 Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. 1792, France Rumours of revolution in Paris swirl in Marseille, a bustling port city in southern France. Gilles Étienne, a clerk at the local soap factory, thrives on the news. Committed to the cause of equality, liberty, and brotherhood, he and his friends plan to march to Paris to dethrone the monarchy. His plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory. A bourgeoise and royalist, Marie-Caroline has been called home to Marseille to escape the unrest in Paris. She rebuffs Gilles’s efforts to charm her and boldly expresses her view that violently imposed freedom is not really freedom for all. As Marie-Caroline takes risks to follow her beliefs, Gilles catches her in a dangerous secret that could cost her and her family their lives. As Gilles and Marie-Caroline spend more time together, she questions her initial assumptions about Gilles and realizes that perhaps they have more in common than she thought. As the spirit of revolution descends on Marseille, people are killed and buildings are ransacked and burned to the ground. Gilles must choose between supporting the political change he believes in and protecting those he loves. And Marie-Caroline must battle between standing up for what she feels is right and risking her family’s safety. With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides. This is a wonderful historical novel about a time that I have not read a lot about ... at least about what was happening outside of Paris. It is a love story as well but not too treacly so it would be enjoyed by book clubs and regular readers alike. I will highly recommend this book to patrons, friends, families and said book clubs alike. I will recommend this book to friends, family, patrons, book clubs, and people reading books in the park as we do … I have had some of my best conversations about books down by the Thames! As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. ") on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🍟🍟🍟🍟🍟

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Thank you to NetGalley, Arlem Hawks, and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this ARC of Beyond the Lavender Fields. My view is my own and I am not being compensated for my review. I requested the ARC because I adore Hawks’ Georgana’s Secret. Beyond the Lavender Fields is sort of a sequel to Georgana’s Secret as it begins in 1792 Revolutionary France with Gilles Êtienne and his lady love, Marie-Caroline Daubin. If you have read Georgana’s Secret, you have already met Gilles Êtienne as he is the HMS Deborah’s curly-haired surgeon. Gilles and Caroline’s story takes place in 1792 Revolutionary France. So, if you want to read chronologically and see what made Êtienne, Êtienne, wait until Beyond the Lavender Fields comes out. I will also say, I’ve gotten an ARC of BtLF and while I do love it, I love Georgana’s Secret more - so if you want to save what I think is the best for last, again, wait until Beyond the Lavender Fields is released. I loved Gilles Êtienne in Georgana’s Secret, so I was thrilled that Hawks decided to write this prequel. Now, as I read through it, I did fall in love with Gilles even more. However, as I read through Beyond the Lavender Fields, I felt as though Hawks was doing a little bit of lecturing to us readers. Maybe it’s just because of the current political climate and that was not Hawks’ intention because Revolutionary France and current America are in scarily similar positions but I have a feeling that people from either side of the political spectrum may read this and feel as though they are being lectured at. Let me get into it a little more: Gilles is a Jacobin révolutionnaire and fights for the elimination of the monarchy and a free France. Marie-Caroline, more commonly known as Caroline, is a royaliste who is a traditionalist. Their meeting and eventual friendship is a tenuous one at best in the beginning. Gilles can’t understand Caroline clinging to the antiquated and oppressive royaliste ideologies and Caroline cannot understand Gilles’ promotion of what she sees as barbarism and anarchy. But, as the story goes on, Caroline’s remarks begin to spring into Gilles’ mind as he faces his révolutionnaire brothers and their appointed tasks. Gilles begins to question whether the révolutionnaire tactics are too much, too barbaric, as Caroline has voiced. He seems to question his ideologies of revolution and progress and Hawks does not have this reciprocated in Caroline. Rather, Caroline keeps this high ground, that her ideologies, the ideologies of tradition, of what she sees as stability, are better for France, and Gilles begins to move further away from his révolutionnaire beliefs. And Gilles’ and Caroline’s relationship continues to blossom even though they have such differences and beliefs and moralities. And here is where I felt as though Hawks was lecturing the reader - sending the message that people should still get along even if they have different ideologies, that our bonds as humans can overcome these differences, and love can blossom. And that révolutionnaire ideologies and tactics are dangerous, something that should be questioned, as Gilles did and moved away from. It feels as though Hawks is pointing to the progressives in the American government - ones, like myself, who want to tear down institutions because the institutions were built on inequitable and unjust principles and these institutions cannot simply be fixed through change but can only be fixed by dismantling them altogether. Literally, in the blurb, it says: “With their lives and their nation in turmoil, both Gilles and Marie-Caroline wonder if a révolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.” So, did Hawks purposefully write Beyond the Lavender Fields with an agenda in mind to lecture the readers that today, we should not allow our political and ideological differences to come between our fellow man? Or did Hawks, who writes historical romance, just want to write a novel based during the French Revolution and because of the uncanny similarities between 1790s France and 2010s/2020s America, it just happens to come across as lecturing to the reader? I’m not sure where I sit. At some points, I sit further on the “Hawks had an agenda side” and others, I sit more on the “eh, it happens to be about the French Revolution, conditions were similar to what we’re experiencing now so there’s bound to be lots of similarities.” And I think other readers will likely have to grapple with this or some may just make up their mind either way and possibly allow that to hinder their enjoyment of the story. Now, with that out of the way: Hawks builds a masterful story. The characters, the setting, the plot, the detail, everything is so detailed that I felt as though I was walking the streets of Marseille beside Gilles and Caroline in the 1790s. Since I love Georgana’s Secret, like it is one of my favorite books I’ve ever read, I had really high expectations of Beyond the Lavender Fields. I went in knowing I was going to be demanding the same attention to detail, the ability to craft complex and nuanced characters and plot while weaving in accurate and meticulous historical detail that is present in Georgana’s Secret. And Hawks did not disappoint at all on this end. As someone who never really delved deep into French Revolutionary history, I felt as though I was able to swim through what Hawks presented. I learned and I enjoyed learning the history. It didn’t drown me or even bog me down, rather, it enhanced the characters and overall story. However, one other potential problem, while Hawks is incredibly detailed, she does use quite a lot of French. Now, why is this a problem in a historical romance that takes place during the French Revolution? Well, I am guessing that most readers who pick this up are not going to have a background in the French language. As someone who is semi-fluent, I would say that the amount of French sometimes hindered my reading flow as I had to take a few seconds to figure out what was being said. Now, Hawks does usually provide translations somehow, there wasn’t always or immediately so that my reading flow didn’t hiccup. And, I was also reading on a Kindle, meaning I had easy access to a translator and dictionary. If someone reads this in print, I think it will disrupt their reading flow even more and that’s coming from someone who can read, albeit slowly, French (I am no longer fluent). For me, Beyond the Lavender Fields is a four-and-a-half-star read but rounded down to a four-star read for the purposes of this review. I truly enjoyed it, I really, really liked it, loved it even, but I did not love it as much as Georgana’s Secret mainly because I felt I was being lectured to a bit. And because Georgana’s Secret was really superb (it is my favorite trope of a heroine disguised as a boy AND on the high seas so it would be nearly impossible to beat that as Georgana’s Secret is in my top 10 reads of the year and I’ve currently read over 300 books). I will undoubtedly sing the praises of Beyond the Lavender Fields far and wide because it is a five-star book in comparison to other historical romances but just not to Hawks’ own previous work, in my humble opinion. Overall, did I love Gilles and Caroline? Absolutely! I am so thrilled Hawks wrote Gilles’ story as I adored him in Georgana’s Secret. Did I love the detail of everything? Oh, most definitely! It really is a must-read for any historical romance reader, that’s for sure!

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This book takes place around the time of the Reign of Terror/French Revolution (aka the be-headings with the guillotine), but in the South of France in Marseille and not in Paris. It also deals with the history of the French National Anthem, the Marseillaise, as it was used by the revolutionary French people as a motivating song, something I didn't know. The love story is between a revolutionnaire, Gilles Etienne, and his boss's daughter, Marie-Caroline, who is a royaliste, a supporter of the French monarchy. I found the historical aspects of this story very intriguing, including the history of the perfume and soap manufacturers. There is a bit of a feel of <i>The Scarlet Pimpernel</i> in this story but no strong similarities, just an overlap of the time periods and dealing with the Reign of Terror, although this book approaches that time period from a different perspective than the Orczy book(s). I really enjoyed the development of the romance between Gilles and Marie-Caroline, as well as their families and friends, along with the hint of piracy, another perspective on the French Revolution, and the setting in Southern France. There is a brief French/English translation of words used in the book at the back, along with pronunciation for the terms and also all the characters' and places names, which is helpful for those unfamiliar with the language. I would've liked to see a little more of a summary/background about the book included in the end material for those unfamiliar with the Marseillaise and the time period. Overall, though, Hawks displays a strong attention to detail, character development, and research in her writing. This is the first book I have read by Hawks, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more of her works.

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This story was well written and perfectly paced. I haven’t read a book about the French Revolution before, so I was glad to learn more about it. The banter between Marie-Caroline and Gilles was fun and witty. I am not one that visualizes books as movies, but I did this one. I could very well see this book working for the big screen. I also appreciated the French pronunciations in the back of the book! I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Thank you to Net Galley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for this digital arc in exchange for my honest review. #NetGalley #BeyondtheLavenderFields

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This is a very well written book set during the French Revolution. The characters are engaging and feel like real people. I love that the author provides views from both sides of the issues. I found that I could agree and disagree with different characters and their actions throughout the book. The book starts a little slowly but it kept my attention and then it really picked up and I could hardly put it down. The end is especially exciting.

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After reading the description I was really looking forward to getting this book. I have to admit to being a little disappointed with it. Well at least the first half. The second is much better and if the whole book was as well written I would have given 4 stars. What I did enjoy about the book was the amount of historical detail used. The author obviously put a lot of time into her research and uses it well throughout. I have two main issues with the first half. First is the pacing, it just drags along and the storyline focuses too much on Gilles and Caroline denying their attraction to each other, too many inner dialogues on his part and denial letters on her part. It did Become a little too cheesy after awhile. It interfered with my enjoyment of the budding romance and connecting with the characters. I would have preferred more focus on the Jacobins and the beginnings of. The reign of terror. This brings us to my second issue. In Caroline’s letters to her cousin and Gilles’ inner dialogues we hear about what is happening but not until the second half do we actually experience anything directly. More showing not telling would have Helped the beginning of this book immensely. This all is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book at all because I did. Once the pace picked up with Caroline and Gilles in the action I found the book became a page turner. My recommendation would be to get the book. As you are reading the first half and feel it’s too slow hang in there. You will enjoy the second half immensely. 3 stars. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher Shadow Mountain and net galley. This fact in no way influenced my review.

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A beautifully written story by one of my favorite authors!! I love the twists and turns this book takes, in espionage and in the relationship between Gilles and Caroline. Well done!

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Going in to this book I knew little about the French Revolution, and wondered if I would be able to follow the story. However, I've loved all of Arlem Hawks' books that I've read, so I was willing to try. I needn't have worried. She weaves the pertinent information seamlessly into the story. I fell in love with the characters as they lived and loved through the challenges of the Revolution. It was not an easy time, there were hard things that reached out and touched many families at this time, but the story was gripping. How could two people from opposite sides - royalist and revolutionary - find common ground, keep their loved ones safe, and maybe, after all of that, find love? Beyond the Lavender Fields is a well told tale that sweeps you off your feet and through the streets of France.

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An engaging book that will get you thinking. Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be living in France during the French revolution? What would it have been like to be part of the upper merchant/Bourgeouise class as the attacks began? What moral or ethical issues would you face if you were part of the working class, the revolutionaries? This story addresses those questions without dwelling on the violence and destruction that France experienced. Gilles is a clerk in a high-end soap factory, saving his wages so he can attend medical school. He does not support the monarchy and its extravagant lifestyle when so many Frenchmen are suffering. He feels a republic without the monarchy is the correct way to govern France, and belongs to the Jacobin group organizing to rid France of the monarchy. Marie-Caroline is the daughter of the owner of the soap factory and a royalist. She feels the monarchy should be retained and that adjustments could be made to address the social issues. Two strong minded people with opposing views. What happens when they begin to see the others view point? What will happen when the violence that has centered in Paris moves into Marseille, where they live? A very engaging story exploring the pulls of belief, ethics, friendship, and caring. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the copy. This is my review and all thoughts are my own.

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" in his core, [Gilles] knew he belonged to the sea...the sea had written its vast expanse into his soul...[however, it is ] better to follow in the footsteps of an aspiring physician than in the wake of a smuggler and thieving privateer [like Pere]". Gilles Etienne worked as head clerk for Monsieur Daubin. The proceeds from M. Daubin's savonnerie [soap factory] were diminishing with the steady decline of Marseille's aristocracy in the year 1792. Staying in M. Daubin's good graces would allow Gilles to earn the necessary funds to follow in his brother Max's footsteps and attend medical school in Montpellier. Gilles had recently joined the Jacobins, revolutionnaires determined to dethrone the king and create a republic. "Would Gilles do more for his country by dying or by learning the skills to save lives?" Max Etienne and Emile Daubin, best friends, medical students and die hard Jacobins, often frequented cafes and made wagers on whether one could steal a kiss from a jeune fille. Could Max convince his younger brother Gilles to try to kiss Mademoiselle Daubin, his employer's daughter? According to Mademoiselle Daubin, Gilles's behavior was far from impressive. "[She was not] a piece in a game, a thing to be caught and tallied like a hunting prize." He would not kiss her! Marie-Caroline Daubin had returned to Marseille for her safety. There was unrest in Paris. In epistolary form, in a series of letters to her Parisian cousin, she expressed her loyalty to the crown and church and her innermost longings and secrets. Gilles Etienne, passionate for the cause of freedom, felt that "any idealism can be taken to zealous extremes". Two young people, a royaliste and a revolutionnaire. Gilles's father stated, "You must learn to recognize which battles you can win, and which you must flee...It is not cowardice to be wise." "Beyond the Lavender Fields" by Arlem Hawks is a historical fiction/romance novel set in Marseille and Paris in 1792. Would dethroning the monarchy create a better government with freedom for all? Some families fled, some watched their businesses destroyed, churches repurposed...the collateral damages of war. Against this backdrop, can love prevail? Thank you Callie Hansen, Shadow Mountain Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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4.5 This was a wonderfully written and well-researched historical fiction novel set during the French Revolution. I didn't know much about the French Revolution and I felt like Hawks did a great job transporting the reader into this time period. Caroline and Gilles were great characters and I love how their relationship developed throughout the novel. I also loved Gilles' internal struggles and how he realized that things weren't what they first seemed and what he really believed. This book had a bit of a slow start for me, but about halfway things really picked up and it was so hard to put down! The last half was so intense and I wasn't sure how things were going to play out. I loved the ending and overall really enjoyed this book! Would recommend it to fans of historical fiction!

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"Beyond the Lavender Fields" was amongst the best books I have read this year and it allowed me to easily get over a "book hungover" from finishing one of my favourite book series just a day before! The book takes begins in September 1792 in Marseille, a port city in the South of France, bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Gilles Étienne, son of a privateer and clerk of a soap-making factory, is thrilled to contribute to the French Revolution's Jacobin Club. He believes in liberty and equality for all and nothing will change is mind. However, there are different ways to bring about change: through violence, or through understanding... And when Gilles meet Marie-Caroline, the daughter of his employer and a fierce monarchist, she makes him realise that the end does not always justify the means, and that marching over Paris and killing thousands of "traitors", and imposing one vision of "freedom" to all is no freedom at all. However, as Gilles and Marie-Caroline's friendship grow into something more, they have to choose what - and who - to believe. And whom to trust. I loved this book from beginning to end: the characters are rich, detailed, vulnerable, strong and credible. Even the secondary characters are well described. The decor is rich and vivid, easily making us imagine what life in Marseille, in the streets, in the harbour, in the lavender fields, look like in 1792. The plot is well-developed and not solely centred on the two protagonists' interactions—we also have insights into the development of the Revolution, on the events abroad, on the revolutionaries' meetings... The use of French words and phrases is absolutely perfect (and I say this as a native French speaker) and really adds something to the book. I also like the book cover and love the title, although I wish there was a bit more references to lavender and lavender fields in the book (we're in Provence after all!)—the lavender field scene is one of my favourites, by the way! Beyond the fiction, the book also gave us food for thought: to what extent can one defend his ideals? and impose it on others? When is violence justified? Is compassion more important to doing "what is right"? Where and how to find common grounds to those who believe differently? Overall, I would therefore highly recommend this book as it did not disappoint! This author is quickly becoming one of my favourites (she often weaves some nautical elements in her books, which I love!). She really writes beautiful, wonderful historic novels.

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A beautifully written story of the French revelation in the late 1700’s. I felt the conflict and the heartache of the people affected by the strife and war. There were very sad moments in the book. But there was also love and hope. The characters were real. They had to make hard choices. They were guided by their convictions and there feelings for those that they loved. Gilles was a character I came to love and respect. It took me a bit longer to like Caroline. But I did like her feisty, put you in your place, personality.

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This is a clean romance that is set during the French Revolution. I found the political differences of the main characters refreshing, as they have great dialogue and discussions about why each feels the way they do- and the other character tried to understand where they were coming from. This is a fun read.

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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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Do you love historical fiction? What is your favorite time period to visit? I love the 1800s, Georgian and Victorian Eras! I was so excited to get an early copy of this wonderful book- Beyond the Lavender Fields by @arlemhawks! This story follows Gilles Etienne, an aspiring physician in a broken France in the midst of a revolution. (Swipe for synopsis) This book is a perfect historical fiction. From beginning to end I felt myself immersed in 1792 French Revolution. Conflict, politics, danger, war, survival...this book gave me all the feels as though I was witnessing the characters' story first hand. Marie-Caroline is a little naive but yet has a strong will that seems to draw Gilles to her in every encounter. Gilles' charcter is flawless-geniuine, big heart, a romantic- and add in a doctor in the making...I'm sold 😍 Gilles and Marie-Caroline are on different political sides- revolitionnaire and royaliste- but both have hearts for peace and love for their country and its people. Their love story is beautiful and sweet, but forbidden. While I loved all the little swoony moments, I found myself at the edge of my seat with a conflict torn city, risky situations, and danger at ever corner. This book defines historical fiction for me- romance, suspense, feeling like I am the streets of Marseille in 1972. This book releases February 2022! You don't want to miss this! Keep writing Arlem Hawks! (For those who want to know...Gilles Etienne is the doctor on the ship in Georgana's Secret set much later)

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Arlem Hawks does it again! I loved this book, it was different than I was expecting but I loved it. It's one of those books you wish you could read again for the first time.

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Wow. That is all I can say. I finished this book and just sat for a few minutes soaking up all the feelings and wishing it wasn’t over yet. Arlem Hawks has quickly become an auto-buy for me after this book and “Georgana’s Secret.” “Beyond the Lavender Fields” was amazing. Ms. Hawks created relatable characters who I immediately wanted to see succeed. Their story was told along with the story of the French Revolution around the time of the Reign of Terror. It was clear a lot of research went into this book. I learned a lot and realized how little I knew about or understood how terrible events of the French Revolution were. Ms. Hawks excellently captured the unrest and the turmoil of the time. This is a book I will reread for sure.

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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 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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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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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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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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**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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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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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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I’d like to thank NetGalley, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and Arlem Hawks for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review! This book is a well-researched story that takes place in 1792 France. It follows Marie-Caroline and Gilles who have differing beliefs in terms of the French Revolution. One believes in the monarchy, while the other believes in a change for the country. They develop their feelings throughout the story as they interact with one another and learn more. I thought it was interesting to read how they try to find common ground. I also really enjoyed certain parts of the writing a lot and how the characters are described. It’s obvious that the time period was studied a lot before writing and the book is very well put together. I enjoyed this book and it’s a must-read for fans of this time period!

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Wow! This book is fantastic! It is gripping, powerful, moving, suspenseful, thought-provoking, romantic, and so much more. Whenever I picked up "Beyond the Lavender Fields", I was whisked back in time to the era of the French Revolution, and went on such an emotional journey with this story. Arlem Hawks is one of my absolute favorite authors! Her writing style is visceral, vivid, and detailed. I can only imagine the amount of historical research Ms. Hawks must have done for this book, as each and every moment feels authentic to the time period it is set in. I often forgot that I was on my couch reading, and felt like I was right there with the characters watching events take place. I feel like I learned quite a bit about this era in history by reading this book, and Ms. Hawks seamlessly blends history and fiction. She brings the past to life with such specificity and complexity. I found this book very difficult to put down. Gilles is a Jacobin, and Marie-Caroline is a Royalist. They have different beliefs, but, throughout the story, come to realize that perhaps they want some of the same things. As their relationship develops, they grow as individual people as well, and Ms. Hawks has written incredible character arcs for them. I do not want to spoil anything in this review plot wise, so, I will simply say, this book is a must-read. As I mentioned above, it is very thought-provoking and has many important themes throughout. If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this book! I found myself turning the pages to see what would happen next, and I so look forward to reading what Ms. Hawks writes next. Thank you so much to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC of this book ,and to Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me a physical ARC as well, it is amazing. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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I enjoyed this story of two very different people falling in love in the early part of the French Revolution. It was interesting to have opposite viewpoints: that of a royalist and that of a Jacobin. It was also interesting to see how the ideals that began the revolution quickly became so corrupted. I didn't know how to feel about Gilles at the beginning of the book as he seemed very immature. However, he grew a lot through the course of the story. Marie-Caroline's perspective was presented through letters. I liked how this allowed us to understand her thoughts and see her softening as the story progressed. Revolutionary France was really brought to life, and I found this book quite suspenseful. I enjoyed the characters and their journey and hope to see them again in a future book. Thank you to NetGalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for the early read.

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I loved the imagery and authenticity of this book.  It allowed me to step back into time and walk the streets of Marsaille and surrounding countryside during the turmoil of the French Revolution.  The way the dual point of view was presented was clever and the characters' opposing political opinions allow the reader to step back and examine both sides of the issues at play.  The message from this story will stay with me for a long time! I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

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Marseille, France 1792 Magnifique! This novel brings readers into the French Revolution with a spotlight on the Reign of Terror (following creation of the First Republic). Caroline, a Royalist, grudgingly returns to her family home in Marseille where she belongs to an aristocratic family that owns a soap making factory. Gilles (JEEL), a supporter of equality and liberty is a clerk for Caroline's father. Gilles is an experienced sailor like his father yet yearns to be a doctor. As their paths cross, Gilles begins to question the methods his group is taking to remove themselves from the monarchy. "When had liberty meant only liberty for like-minded Frenchmen?" The tale is told from Gilles' point of view, however, readers get Caroline's feelings through her letters. Her letters are primarily to her cousin Sylvainne. Beautifully written sophomore novel steeped in history with a heart tugging romance. A dash of humor. And the cover...beautiful. Spectacular all around.

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Gilles and Marie-Caroline believe in different things during this sweeping French Revolution era. Gilles works for Marie’s father, who is a Loyalist, while he is looking for a a new government. These two clash together time after time, but Gilles is also sensible to know that destruction and death isn’t a way to win people over. This causes problems between his friends who doubt his loyalty. And as he falls more in love with Marie, he starts to doubt himself and his true intentions. But-the two come together to save not just each. Loved this book, and I thank NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC, I have recently started reading about the French Revolution and stories like this one, are inspiring.

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First book read of 2022! Beyond the Lavender Fields was a slow starter for me because no French Revolution novel ever comes close to Orczy. However it warmed up really well and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. A charming historical romance with good suspense to start the year. At the risk of getting political, I also felt that some of the comments on the excessive fanaticism of the Jacobins made interesting parallels with woke culture today - it sometimes feels like people are fighting for equality but only equality for the people who agree directly with them. And yet the book leaves you with the reminder that growth takes time and sometimes hurts. We must persist in trying to make a better world. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC in return for my review.

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After reading Georgana's Secret, I was excited to read Arlem Hawks' latest release Beyond the Lavender Fields. The story revolves around the French Revolution, making the setting almost a character in itself. Both the main characters are on opposite sides of the conflict, Marie-Caroline, as part of the aristocracy who want to preserve their lives of privilege, and Gilles Etienne of the working class who wants equality for all. The story starts with a great scene, setting the tone for the relationship between Gilles and Marie-Caroline. Then the pacing seemed to slow down and it took a while to get going once again. The author skillfully brings up the political tensions of the day and how it affects both sides. I really liked Gilles' character. He was hard-working, loved his family, respected his mother, and was chivalrous. Marie-Caroline, on the other hand, was not as likable to me. She seemed very aloof and flaunted her views without realizing how dangerous that was. I never quite knew what she was really thinking unless it was through some of the letters she wrote to her cousin. However, once the book picks up, there is plenty of action. Marie-Caroline faces the reality of her situation that makes her see things with different eyes. Gilles realizes that the means to an end are not always justifiable even if it leads to freedom. The French Revolution was a terrifying time in history and we see how patriotism and desperation could make zealots and oppressed people act like madmen. This was certainly an interesting book especially since the main characters were on different sides of the revolution. Fans of historical fiction will be pleased with this new release. Well-written, fraught with internal and political conflicts, Beyond the Lavender Fields showcases star-crossed lovers who discover that doing what is right is more important than who is right.

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Beyond the Lavender Fields b y Arlem Hawks, 368 pages. Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2022. $27. Language: PG (0 swears, 0 “f” + French swears); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG BUYING ADVISORY: HS - ADVISABLE AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE Gilles takes no thought when he accepts his friend’s bet to kiss the woman waiting in his boss’s office – not even when Gilles realizes that the woman is a royalist, on the opposing side of the French Revolution than him. The woman surprises him when she reveals herself to be his boss’s daughter, and Gilles practically runs away due to embarrassment. Driven to apologize to the royalist, Gilles starts to wonder if the eyes he can’t seem to forget haunt him for reasons beyond chagrin and guilt. Character arcs are always important to stories, but Gilles’s story focuses on that struggle of changing one’s character. Once he realizes that the way he is acting contradicts what he believes to be right, Gilles has to decide how he wants to move forward and who he wants to become – as a brother, as a son, as a friend, as a revolutionist, as a man. The decisions that he has to make are not easy, and readers will ache with him even as they hope for the same courage to change as Gilles does. The mature content rating is for innuendos. Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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Beyond the Lavender Fields explores the lives of two people on opposite political views of the French Revolution at the height of political upheaval in the country. When Caroline returns to her family's home after two years away with her cousin near Paris, she's disappointed to discover Guille and his brothers in arms are planning and preparing to revolt against the monarchy. As Guille and Caroline are forced into each other's company, first on the whim of a bet, at family gatherings and on travels throughout the city, the two discuss their opposing views and find some common ground between them. The poignancy of the political commentary and upheaval was both beautifully written and relevant to political differences in today's society. The message of peace and listening to both sides fairly was a meaningful and profound theme throughout the book. This book was a slow burn, especially given the gravity of the tensions in France at this time in history, but the romance was sweet and delivered a sweet and heartfelt happily ever after. Much different in style to the author's debut novel but nonetheless a very beautifully written romance. Many thanks to netgalley and Shadow Mountain for the advanced copy of this book, all thoughts are my own.

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#BeyondTheLavenderFields #NetGalley A book that isn't your typical historical novel, set during the French Revolution. Gillies longs to become a physician, and is saving money so he can go to school. Caroline is home from Paris, and isn't afraid of sharing her opinion.Two strong characters, make for an interesting book.

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I’d say more like 4.5 stars 😊 Such a suspenseful and intriguing novel! It took me a bit to get into it but once I felt curious about the story, about the relationship of the main characters, and about the time period, I became immersed in the events. The writing flowed well and the characters were described with enough flaws yet hope to make them feel real. Kissing is a thread throughout the story but in a clean, cute way. Yet, there’s a good amount of tension in this book that keeps you on edge and rooting for the right side - the side of truth. Many times while reading I wondered: what would I do in that situation? How can those of opposing political ideologies even get along yet find a middle ground and treat each other with respect and dignity? Definitely a timely read. Highly recommend!

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"Vivre la France! Vivre la nation!" Set in 1792 during the years of the French Revolution, this story of Gilles and Marie-Caroline explores how two very different people with contrasting political views can first become friends, then grow in their love for one another. Their friendship is a dangerous one as the revolutionary views in Marseille become more inflamed and Gilles has to decide if he will continue pursing his dreams for the nation and for his own advancement as a physician. Marie-Caroline must decide if this younger man is one she can trust with her secrets. As one who reads books mostly set in Britain, this story of the fiery French set a much different tone. The men were passionate about the revolution and the women were not at all shy in their opinions! The banter between the two main characters was strong and decidedly French. The story was also enhanced by letters mainly written by Marie-Caroline to her cousin near Paris which gave a better insight into her thoughts and emotions. Interspersed with French phrases and political discussions, one completely unfamiliar with the time period may have some confusion, but overall the author did well in providing a context for the reader. The storyline of the relationship between Gilles and his father was a bit muddled and did not seem to have a clear resolution, but overall I thought it was extremely well-written for this genre of proper romance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would rate it at 4.5 stars!

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I enjoyed this historical romance story. This is a new author for me which I enjoyed her writing style that has details that made the story realistic. This is a well written story that takes place in Paris and has a touch of romance to it. It is a story about two people on two different sides trying to find a way to be together.. With life in turmoil, can two people find a way to make romance work? I enjoyed being pulled into the story from the beginning. This is a hard to put down story that kept me turning pages fast just to see what would happen next. It is also an emotional read in parts that will pull at your heart strings but it is a strong that is inspirational. I enjoyed how relateable the characters are and what they brought to the story. Their growth and chemisty kept the story engaging. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from this author in the future. I highly recommend this book.

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Set just before The Terror, a particular violent phase of the French Revolution that took place between 1793 and 1794, <i>Beyond the Lavender Fields</i> eschews the more common setting of Revolutionary Paris for Marseilles, the point of origin for the French national anthem during this time. And while the coastal city lacks the extreme violence of Paris, it's definitely a location worthy of its own French Revolution novel. Happily Arlem Hawks is up to the job. The story revolves around the difficult relationship between Marie-Caroline, a royalist, and Gilles, a Jacobin. At first they believe their political stances to be too different to allow a romance (or a friendship, for that matter), but one of the best done elements of the novel is the way that they slowly come to understand that neither side is without blame and to adjust their ways of thinking based on that. The parallel that the leaders of both groups are unable to understand that makes them stand out in Marseilles in some uncomfortable ways, particularly Gilles, who is initially very heavily involved in the Jacobin movement. Coming to realize that there really are only shades of grey takes them most of the novel, but it's a rewarding journey and feeds directly into the romance plot. I particularly enjoy how the narrative is structured: we get Gilles' third-person point of view in most of the chapters, while Caroline's is interjected in the form of letters she writes to her cousin in Paris, providing her first-person narration. Since she is the more difficult to read of the two, having her first-person voice is important. Gilles is the more interesting character, however, with far more interior conflict, so the choice to make him the primary point of view is a solid one. The start of the book is a bit slow, and Caroline takes time to grow on you, but by the end I was having a hard time putting this down. It's a fairly different approach to a novel set during the French Revolution than we often get, and if you're interested in the time period and enjoy a clean romance, this is worth picking up.

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This historical romance is set during the French Revolution and was so well done! I loved hearing the perspectives of Gilles and Marie-Caroline who have very different political beliefs but find commune ground and build and tenuous friendship that grows to more. The book was beautiful. It was moving and eye opening, sad and hopeful. I loved it. .

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Beyond the Lavender Fields is the first book that I've read by author Arlem Hawks. First, I want to say that the cover is absolutely stunning. In fact, that's what drew me to the book in the first place and I'm so glad it did! As far as the story, I am at a loss for words. I was sucked in within the first chapter and the exquisite writing pulled me deeper and deeper into the book with each page. I couldn't put it down. This historically rich book is set in 1792, at the cusp of the "reign of terror" during the French Revolution when the Jacobins, were overturning the monarchy. I don't recall ever reading a book set during this time and it was so interesting to learn more about the tension between the Jacobins, the royalists, and those who wanted a middle ground between the two. Gilles and Caroline are wonderful and I fell in love with them immediately. Caroline's adamant declaration of, "I do not wish to kiss you", every time she encountered Gilles made me smile. Throughout the book, Caroline challenges Gilles, to think differently about the revolution and how the Jacobins are handling the revolt. Although they disagree on many counts, they forge a respectful friendship. But, as the friendship grows into something more, the riots and war draw closer to their doorsteps. How can a Jacobin and royalist be friends? Let alone anything more? Another aspect of this book that was interesting, is we see the majority of Caroline's thoughts through written letters she pens to her cousin in Paris. I'm not sure if the author plans to make this a series, but the letters made me want to see a book about the cousin Caroline pours her heart out to. I give this book a full 5-stars for its beautiful, historically rich text, well-developed characters, and stunning storyline.

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This is a romance novel about the clash between a French royalist and a Jacobin revolutionary during the French Revolution. The setting is really where this novel shines. The amount of political and cultural detail here is astounding and so well done. My personal struggle with this novel was the characters, especially during the first half. I found these two main characters to both be incredibly unlikable and hard to relate to. The first half really dragged for me as they clashed over and over, refusing to look beyond their own point of view. The plotline is fairly predictable and follows what one would expect from this type of story. This would be perfect for those interested in the French Revolution or who enjoy the enemies-to-lovers trope.

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I enjoyed going back in time with Beyond the Lavender Fields. I can not wait to get my hands on other books by Arlem Hawks. I highly recommend this one. Five stars.

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I received this from Netgalley.com. "Set in 1792 Revolutionary France, Gilles Étienne plans are halted when he meets Marie-Caroline Daubin, the beautiful daughter of the owner of the factory where he works." A quick, light read. This falls squarely into the Chick lit genre with a little historical background. 2.75☆

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“Doing what is right is more important than who is right, I think.” There's some humor and some romance and some pain and some loyalties tested and broken, there is love and politics and country and violence and confusion and all the pieces swirl and blend together into a truly poignant tale of being true to yourself and allowing yourself to grow and change. Once you know better, you do better.

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This book was a gem. It masterfully uses the enemies to lovers trope and it kept me turning pages. To risk a spoiler, in the opening Gilles is set up to attempt to kiss Marie-Caroline by her own brother. Their interactions after that were delightful, as they never go as Gilles hopes, nor do they go exactly how Marie-Caroline interprets it. It left me wanting to keep reading to see how their friendship developments. Beautifully done. Thank you Shadow Mountain for the ARC.

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It's rare, this early in the year that I label a read as a ‘book of the year’, but I am confident that I will for sure be seeing this book in my top 15 when all is said and done. I was completely blown away with this storyline. I am a big fan of political intrigue in my books. This story of the French Revolution is eye-opening, jaw-dropping and honestly, very relatable in any politically charged government. I loved how thought provoking the characters were regardless of which category they fell under. You have your loyalists, extremists, revolutionaries, royalists and it was so intriguing to realize how easy it is to forget your goal and become someone else when trying to achieve what you or your political party think is best. This is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time. I can’t recommend this book enough! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the copy. All thoughts in this review are my own.

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BEYOND THE LAVENDER FIELDS by Arlem Hawks Revew: “A Jacobin and a royaliste make for a dangerous friendship.” Gilles was a Jacobin and Marie Caroline a royaliste. Jacobin was a revolutionary political club and movement who wanted to liberate France from the monarchy. Royalistes were conservatives who were in favor of the current ruler. From enemies to lovers, their story was a slow burn romance with many opposing beliefs. But attraction was there from the start. Caroline’s greeting, “I do not want to kiss you.”, was funny at first but it got a little too much for me later on. I definitely rooted for them to get through all the hurdles and life threatening situations. I found the conversation between Gilles and Monsieur Daubin was insightful. The savonnerie was in trouble. I know it happened years ago but the financial and social impact of war were real. Similar to the problem we have experienced these past two years. It affected the lives of many. The French people felt there was no end in sight. All they had was hope. Hope that it will end soon. Hope that everything will go back to normal. Hope in God to see them through the turmoil. If you love historical fiction, you will enjoy this book. It was set in 1792 during the French revolution.. A lot of unrest, conflict and uncertainties during this time. Violence and death were common among differing factions. A few details were mentioned to make the story realistic but not gruesome. Fear became a part of their lives. I really like the author’s writing style. Her words were poetic and full of meaning at times. So many quotable quotes. Rating: 4 stars Pub date: 01 Feb 2022 Thank you Shadow Mountain Publishing for the complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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I struggled getting to to this story. The beginning was a bit of a slow start, and there were a lot of names and characters to keep up with making it difficult to really keep track of what what’s happening with the plot. The author seemed to focus a lot on the political side of the French Revolution and I was hoping for more romance and less politics. Perhaps it was just a misunderstanding of what this book was supposed to be, but I wasn’t tempted to keep reading based on how the book shaped up in the first 30%. I’m sure this book will be perfect for readers who are looking for a more womens lit type historical novel.

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Arlem does her research and turns it into a beautiful and unforgettable story. She sweeps you away into the time period and really gives you an understanding of the thoughts and feelings of those who lived during that time. I truly enjoyed learning more about the French Revolution through Gilles and Caroline’s story. It is the type of tale that leaves you thinking about it long after you’ve finished. Thanks to Netgalley and Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me a copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

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This is an exceptional rendition of the events taking place during the French Revolution. Two young people find themselves on different sides of history. Gilles is a young man who has been drawn to the teachings of the Jacobeans. He along with an older brother and several friends believe that the monarchy must be destroyed. Coraline is a young lady who supports the monarchy. Her father is Gilles’ employer and her brother is his brother’s best friend. This tangled relationship leads to a story that becomes even more complicated. They each begin to realize that they have a lot more in common than differences. It is a magnificent love story that even the ravaging of a country could not destroy.

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This is a thrilling and heart-wrenching tale of love and loss during the French Revolution. I knew so little about the French revolution when I started reading. I love the historical fiction that makes me dig into history myself to learn more about the era. These characters have such depth. They perfectly illustrate feelings on both sides of the conflict. I love that they could learn from each other and find the individuals underneath the titles or affiliations within the French revolution. It is a nice change that this story is written from Gilles's POV. We get some insights into what Maria-Caroline is thinking through letters she writes. The suspense kept me up until late in the night. The ending is just perfect.

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