Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars
Series: The Scarlet Chronicles #4
Publication Date: 3/12/19
Author Shana Galen has taken the French Reign of Terror, wrapped it in a bow and called it her own. The research is impeccable, the writing is superb and the characters – both male and female – are heroic. Here is a warning though – before you start to read, be sure you have taken care of your personal needs, have plenty of snacks and drinks beside your reading chair and maybe a comfy, snug blanket to wrap up in – because – you will not be able to put the book down once you start reading.
Both the king and queen are dead, their daughter was rescued from the tower in the last book and now, it is time to rescue the young eight-year-old Louis Charles, the new king. He has been horribly abused, he is living in his own filth, he’s emaciated and very sickly. The Pimpernels have to get him out soon or there won’t be any point. Security around Louis Charles’ tower cell is impenetrable and there is no way the Pimpernels can gain entry to rescue him without someone on the inside of the regime helping them.
Tristan Chevalier hates aristos with his entire being. He doesn’t believe any of them have even one redeeming quality. That is one of the main reasons he joined the revolution. Oh, he wanted freedom and equality, but more than anything he wanted revenge against the man who destroyed his family. However, now that Robespierre’s bloodthirst has caused untold thousands of executions, Tristan is having doubts. He still wants the freedom and equality, but he’s seeing that the citizens are neither free nor equal under Robespierre. When he is approached by Citoyen Allie, he reluctantly agrees to turn over documents that will show Robespierre’s perfidy and bring his Reign of Terror to an end. He’s still staunchly loyal to France – just not to Robespierre. He’s also just fallen into the trap set by the Pimpernel’s – and he isn’t going to like what he learns.
We’ve met Alexandra Martin in the previous books. She is an actress, she’s smart, clever, and skilled at both acting and disguises. She believes in the work the Pimpernels are doing with all her heart and she’ll give her life to save any of her fellow members. Alex’s role is usually in the background – using her talents with costumes and make-up to disguise the other members for their various missions. She’s also the ‘visible’ one – the one who openly mixes with the population (as an actress) and who openly rents the safe-house, etc. However, Alex has a new mission that is most definitely not behind-the-scenes. She is to ensnare Robespierre’s second – Tristan Chevalier and convince him to help them rescue Louis Charles.
I absolutely loved both Alex and Tristan. They were a wonderful couple who vehemently fought their attraction every step of the way. Alex’s dedication to the cause was visible in everything she did and I admired her loyalty. I also loved that Tristan wasn’t a pushover – you wondered to the very end if he’d betray the Pimpernel’s – even at the cost of his own life. It is a pure, unadulterated, edge-of-the-seat read.
This is definitely a five-star read, but I would say that I’d love it if there were an Author’s Note section that fills in some of the real history with which the author took poetic license.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Previous books In the series – click on the title to see our reviews:
About the Author:
Shana Galen is three-time Rita award nominee and the bestselling author of fast-paced, witty, and adventurous Regency romances. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books “lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.