Blog Tour: The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Betts

Title: The Chateau on the Lake
Author: Charlotte Betts
Published: May 7th 2015 by Piatkus
Amazon | Amazon UK 

Blurb: 1792: as a teacher at her parents' Academy for Young Ladies in the heart of London, Madeleine Moreau has lived her life sheltered from the outside world. But on the night of a dazzling Masquerade, tragedy strikes and she is left alone in the world. Desperate to find the family she never knew, Madeleine impulsively travels to France in search of them. But with war around the corner, and fearing for Madeleine's safety, the enigmatic Comte Etienne d'Aubery offers her shelter at his home, Chateau Mirabelle. 

Chateau Mirabelle enchants Madeleine with its startling beauty, but it is a place of dark and haunting secrets. As the Revolution gathers momentum and the passions of the populace are enflamed, Madeleine must take control of her own destiny and unravel events of the past in order to secure a chance at future happiness. 

*First of all I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: The Chateau on the Lake is a beautifully written historical novel set at the end of the 18th century in London and France. Life in London is quiet and easy for Madeleine Moreau. She works as a teacher in her parents academy for girls and shares her views, political and social, in parties and salons. She is a cultivated woman, intelligent and strong, something not very common in that time. In fact, Charlotte Betts starts the book with "It is often said that an educated woman is an abomination in the eyes of God". This gives a hint of who Madeleine is and how she'll act during the story. However, even though opinionated and smart, she is also naive. She has no idea how the Revolution is affecting France and what consequences it'll have in the future of society. Discussing this topic in a party is when she meets the Comte Etienne d'Aubery. He appears to be an arrogant aristocrat with a cold fa├žade. And after this first encounter I didn't think he would play a big role in the story. How wrong was I! When Madeleine loses everything she cares about in London and decides to go find her father's family in France with no knowledge of the situation there and with the only protection of her friend Sophie, Etienne kindly offers to escort them and offers invaluable protection.

In France, things are getting agitated and after the King's decapitation, it is no longer safe for Madeleine and Sophie to walk freely in the country, so Etienne comes again to the rescue offering them a place to life in his state, the Chateau Mirabelle. But life doesn't stop at the Chateau. Our friends find themselves in the middle of secrets, protest, revolts and betrayals. Making this magical place feel far from the fairy tale it could be. Madeleine and Etienne's friendship soon becomes something more but circumstances of the past make it impossible for them to act on it so she seeks refuge in Jean Luc's arms, the state manager at the Chateau. I can tell you that I didn't like Jean Luc and I was sure he was on a mission but I could have not imagined what was to come. So many unexpected twists in the story kept me gripped to its pages for hours.

But what makes this story shine is the setting and the research you can tell there has been behind the story. Charlotte Betts takes you on a colourful and detailed history lesson to the most stunning places. Reading Madeleine and Etienne's story you feel like you are the Chateau with them, with its turrets and views over the lake. You hear the French people chanting and shouting in the streets of Paris. You sense the change happening the in the society, the fears of the upper classes and the euphoria of the lower classes. The blood spilling in the altercations and the public executions. A true master class in the French Revolution and not only how it affected the capital but also the country. 

Fast paced, evocative and unexpected, The Chateau on the Lake is a must read for historical fiction old and new fans. I am sure in this story there's something for everyone and I can't recommend it enough.  

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Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings. Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children had grown up. The Apothecary's Daughter is her debut novel and won the You Write On Book of the Year in 2010, the Romantic Novelists' Association Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers in 2011 and the RoNA's Historical Category award for 2013. The sequel, The Painter's Apprentice was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read Award in 2012. The Spice Merchant's Wife was published in 2013 and won the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read Award in 2013.

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