My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Great books allow one to dream…to escape from reality…for a few hours. This book transported me… mind, body, and soul… and left me savoring my time away even hours after I put down the book.
I felt like I was there, in the Palace of Versailles in 1677 France, seeing the sights with my own eyes, hearing the sounds with my own hears, even smelling the smells… (which wasn’t necessarily a good thing considering the time…lol).
I felt with Alice Henshawe, the heroine, and for her… I was frightened for her, happy for her, and in love with her and Jack, the love of her life.
Equal parts historical fiction and historical romance, The Long Way Home offered me a fascinating glimpse into the life, intrigue, and scandal that could be found in the court of King Louis XIV in 1677 France. Jessica Cale expertly wove historical facts and customs into the narrative without detracting from the plot… and all of it was fascinating. No skimming paragraphs in this novel!
As for the romance… this was one of those slow burning, gentle rain romances that make one sigh in the end. The two main characters, Alice and Jack, have known each other since they were 12 and 14. In this story, they are now adults who hadn’t seen each other for five years. Jessica Cale breaks one of the common rules of modern romance by delaying the characters ‘meeting’ until Chapter 11…
…But rather than feel deprived of the characters’ time together on the page, Ms. Cale expertly uses her superior skills as an author to build the tension to the point that you are squirming and dying with anticipation for that moment to happen. As a reader, I devoured every page, my anxiety almost palpable as I waited for that perfect moment… the moment they lay eyes on each other for the first time in five years. And it was, indeed, quite perfect.
Then there was the anxiety brought on by Alice’s kindness and innocence as she attempts to navigate the evil, power hungry courtiers of King Louis’s court. Will she stumble? Will she even survive? I sincerely contemplated chewing my nails as I feared what would happen.
I adored how Jessica Cale managed to make both main characters innocent, but not in the slightest bit weak and every bit intelligent and capable of saving themselves…
If you love historical romance, I highly recommend this book. It is the third book in the Southwark saga and all of them are excellent. You do not need to read the first two books to enjoy this one, but I recommend you do as they are every bit as wonderful as this one.
Unfortunately, I now have to wait again as I anticipate book 4… 🙂