Book Thoughts by Rachelle
Beyond the Lavender Fields was beautifully written with a love story that develops during the French revolution in 1792.
Gilles is a clerk at a local soap factory with dreams of becoming a doctor and a passion for the Jacobin fight against a failing monarchy. Marie-Caroline is a royalist from a privileged background–her father owns the soap factory. An unlikely friendship develops after Gilles’ humiliating attempt to steal a kiss from Marie-Caroline.
It was really fun to see Caroline’s fiery personality, courage, and humor as she continues to tease Gilles throughout the book with her repeated phrase, “I do not want to kiss you.”
The book is written from Gilles’ point of view and we see Caroline’s POV through letters that she writes to a cousin. Gilles develops throughout the book as he questions all of the factions of the revolution including his own. His character is strong and his choices are admirable.
At times the historical aspect of the book felt a little heavy. I admire the amount of research the author must have done to portray this time period accurately. The events definitely pulled on my heartstrings as I read of the turmoil in France during this time.
The love story that develops slowly is sweet, yet strong and satisfying.
I love that the author includes French terms and a pronunciation guide for names because I like to know that I’m pronouncing things correctly in my head.
Fans of historical fiction will enjoy this novel with a unique look into a part of history that might often be overlooked.
Here’s more about the book:
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 revolutionnaire and a royaliste can really be together or if they must live in a world that forces people to choose sides.
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