Happy Wednesday, everyone! I’ve got some historical romance goodies for you…a quick excerpt, my review, and don’t miss out on the giveaway at the end – you can nab your own print copy of Lions in the Garden!
Lions in the Garden
by Chelsea Luna
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Lyrical Press (Kensington)
Ludmila Novakova–Mila–has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia’s uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she’s taken what she can carry and fled.
Escape won’t be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn’t been seen in months. Mila’s father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.
But Mila can’t sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother’s death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant–and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy–and wrong from right . . .
I helped Marc sneak out of the castle as the sky turned pink with the morning sunrise. He lithely climbed over the towering fence. When he landed on the other side, he reached for my hand through the bars and kissed it. “I’ll see you at the ball, Mila.”
“Goodnight, Marc.” Our secret encounter sent butterflies though my stomach, but as I watched him through the bars, I couldn’t help but think he looked like he was in a prison cell.
One of my favorite aspects of Lions in the Garden was the setting. I’m no history buff, and I don’t know much about Prague and Budapest, so the historical tidbits Chelsea sprinkled in were really interesting, especially with the religious war brewing and the king’s precarious hold on the realm.
I love stories with castles, swords, and romance, so of course this book caught my eye…even without any magic. 🙂 Mila is a likeable character, and while she’s in the hopeless situation of being a noble forced into an undesirable, loveless marriage, she doesn’t just roll over and accept it. She tries to do something about it, which drives her right into Marc, a commoner. Forbidden romance, anyone? But while Marc may be a peasant and a *gasp* Protestant as well, he’s honorable and refuses to let Mila head into danger on her own. So, he takes her back to her prison, the castle. Not exactly what Mila had in mind when she snuck out in her quest for freedom.
Marc is not only honorable and likeable, he’s in a tight spot too. He sees every day the poverty of the people and how they’re oppressed by the nobility. Some members of his family feel the only way to force change is through less-than-noble methods, and he gets stuck between what’s right, what’s wrong, and what to do about it.
While the romance is slow moving, there’s tension and a definite attraction between Mila and Marc. They’re both respectable characters who are restrained by their circumstances, so that’s understandable. I love how Marc reveals to Mila the world outside the castle, the terrible problems citizens face, the danger and injustice. And what I enjoyed best about them both together is how they don’t sit back and let others deal with it—they tackle the problems head on, no matter their station.
Lions in the Garden doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger, but the story is nowhere near complete and will leave you ready for the rest. Nice historical romance.
Chelsea Luna is the author of the bestselling NEW ENGLAND WITCH CHRONICLES, a young adult paranormal romance series comprising of four novels. Chelsea’s latest novel, LIONS IN THE GARDEN (Book 1, The Uprising Series) will be released on March 1, 2016. Chelsea received a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School in New York, New York in 2007, and a B.A. in Sociology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, from the University of Tennessee in 2004. She lives in Tennessee.
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