(School of Gallantry, #7)
Genre: Historical Romance (Revolutionary France – 1792 and London, England – 1830)
For some, unraveling love takes a lifetime…
Long before becoming the flamboyant courtesan known to men as Madame de Maitenon, Thérèse Angelique Bouchard, dreamed of becoming an actress capable of commanding not only the stage but all of Paris. Until she meets an extraordinary aristocratic gentleman who sweeps her into his arms and the danger of his life, while offering her the sort of wealth she never imagined. What starts off as a seductive alliance, ends in her giving him the one thing she, as a mere bourgeoisie, cannot afford to give: her love.
After the murder of his older brothers, Gérard Antoine Tolbert, becomes the last heir to the powerful dukedom of Andelot, leaving him to fight for not only his life, but the allegiance he holds for the crown. During the final rise of the French Revolution that whispers of the violent change about to shake the entire country, Gérard meets an aspiring actress who entices him into wanting more out of not only himself but life. In trying to protect her from their overly passionate alliance and those that want him dead, he must decide what matters most: his life or his heart.
WARNING: This book contains strong language and sexual content that may cause respectable people to swoon.
WOW! This final book in the School of Gallantry series was such a gripping, powerful and passionate love story.
Thérèse and Gérard’s story was heart-rending, poignant and dramatic. It was an emotional roller-coaster of a journey and I lived every moment… the intense emotions and powerful passions; the stark dangers and the terrible betrayals; the heart-breaking choices; the forgiveness and the enduring love.
Some of my favourite moments:
She wanted a dashing man capable of seeing more than her breasts and face. She wanted a dashing man capable of seducing her soul.
“I will find my own way to Paris, merci. Whore myself, indeed. I have yet to find a man worthy of it. All you apes ever think about is food, wine and poom-poom.”
He paused from adjusting his felt hat. “What the devil are you talking about?”
Why did no one ever get it? “Sex. It sounds exactly what it looks like. Poom-poom.”
Something hauntingly whispered that she had found her dance partner for life.
She was full of so much mettle and warmth and wit, it was spilling onto the very pavement she walked on.
“I want to go with you,” she choked out. “I want to go with you, but –“
“No. You will stay here. You have a name and a stronghold. Use it. We will find each other again, I promise.”
He slowly approached a painting he thought he would never see again.
Tears burned in his eyes as he knelt and set the lantern before it.
The dream of her that kept his soul and heart alive all these years was nothing compared to the reality of her.
I appreciated the depth of the research Ms Marvelle must have undertaken and she paints a graphic and often harrowing picture of the French Revolution. There is one particular scene when Gérard sees the body of an old neighbour which, for me, conveyed all the horror and brutality of that period.
Vicomte de Laroche had lain mangled, the blood from his still slit-open throat caked and sprayed across cobbled streets. Those open eyes stared up to the heavens as flies crawled across his expressionless face.
I loved the inclusion of the Marquis de Sade in the story. He was totally unpredictable. I never knew what outrageous things he was going to say or do next! Friend or foe? He kept me guessing.
You know how much I love Epilogues and this one featured all the characters from the other books plus assorted children. It was a joyous ending to a wonderful series.
How I imagine the young Gérard
How I imagine the young Thérèse
My Verdict: A fabulous end to a brilliant series. The whole series is a must read!
REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARS
SENSUALITY RATING: HOT!!
Read April 2015
School of Gallantry series (click on book covers for more details):
**I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.**