About Beyond the Lavender Fields
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 a 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 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 in a world that forces people to choose sides.
I find it’s so much easier to learn about a different time period from a novel. The story line gives me a framework to understand how things would have been in the time period. Arlem Hawks did such a great job with both the storyline of this one and the history. Honestly, this book is one of those that I will think about again and again.
I loved the characters of this novel. Gilles Etienne, was a character in her book, Georgana’s Secret, one of my favorites of last year. It was good to see what happened to him. Gilles is one of those characters who thinks he knows what he wants from life at the beginning of the book. But by the end, he’s sure that he needs something completely different. It was great to watch him grow, change and gain different ideas on life.
Caroline is such a great character. I loved watching a relationship develop between these two. Her greeting of “I don’t wish to kiss you.” Made me laugh every time. I loved that she chose what she felt was right and she stood for that the entire time.
This book is set during a hard time. The French Revolution. Hard things happen during the book. I loved the way the author told hard things. But there was almost always hope. Hope for a better life and love. And change for our characters.
I was sent a copy of Beyond the Lavender Fields as a gift from the publisher. All opinions are my own.