The Long Way Home
The Long Way Home, Book 3 in The Southwark Saga by historical romance author, Jessica Cale is a magical, adult fairy tale that will keep you entertained from start to finish. Find out what happens when a paranoid king, a poison plot, and hideous shoes prove...it’s not easy being Cinderella!
After saving the life of the glamorous Marquise de Harfleur, painfully shy barmaid Alice Henshawe is employed as the lady’s companion and whisked away to Versailles. There, she catches King Louis’ eye and quickly becomes a court favorite as the muse for Charles Perrault's Cinderella. The palace appears to be heaven itself, but there is danger hidden beneath the façade and Alice soon finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue, murder, and Satanism at the heart of the French court.
Having left his apprenticeship to serve King Charles as a spy, Jack Sharpe is given a mission that may just kill him. In the midst of the Franco-Dutch war, he is to investigate rumors of a poison plot by posing as a courtier, but he has a mission of his own. His childhood friend Alice Henshawe is missing and he will stop at nothing to see her safe. When he finds her in the company of the very people he is meant to be investigating, Jack begins to wonder if the sweet girl he grew up with has a dark side.
When a careless lie finds them accidentally married, Alice and Jack must rely on one another to survive the intrigues of the court. As old affection gives way to new passion, suspicion lingers. Can they trust each other, or is the real danger closer than they suspect?
Content Notes: Spicy, Historical, Suspense, Romantic Comedy, Action, Adventure, Uniformed Heroes, Adult Fairy Tales, Magic
The story takes place in the 1600s. It starts in England, but most of the action takes place in Versailles, France.
It was so hard to put this book down. The author has a way of drawing the reader into the action and story line. It’s an exciting story that constantly delivers the thrill that one gets from reading a good book. All else fades in the background and I was transported through time. It felt like I was Alice, experiencing everything first hand. The attention to detail like the smells, dresses, feelings, all felt real. For example, when Alice finds herself in King Louis court amongst the courtiers all dressed up with their over the top outfits and malodorous perfumes, I could actually smell what she was smelling.
“All around her was movement, the sound of heels clicking and violins groaning, and the smells of fifty different wash balls, flower waters, and pomades churning in a powdery cloud that disguised something sour lurking beneath.”
I fell in love with this book and with Alice. It was her inner monologue that made me laugh out loud.
“It was meant to smell like desire, but to her it just smelled like a squeezed cat.”
Alice’s adventures in France find her becoming the King’s favorite and part of the plot of women poisoning their husbands to gain money, favors, etc. It wasn’t a good place to be and I find that the old saying of “Not all that glitters is gold” especially true of the times back then. The beautiful dresses, make-up and beautiful words all had a double meaning and hid the tarnish underneath. It was full of intrigue and double agendas. Poor Alice has a trying time but pulls through because of Jack, her childhood friend.
Again, I found myself loving the secondary characters in this series. They bring such an entertaining aspect to the story line that made everything flow perfectly. The Southwark series is definitely one that needs to be read and is definitely going on my keeper shelf.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*