Recently I have joined this amazingly addictive book site called goodreads.com. I know, once again I am WAY behind the times, but at least I catch up eventually. Anyway on the site you can enter in to book giveaways. I was so excited that I actually won something for once in my life when I was able to read this book.
I received the Frost of Springtime as an advanced reader copy in Kindle format from the talented Rachel L. Demeter. I was intrigued by the description of the book and got even more excited after exchanging a few messages back and forth with Rachel in which I immediately liked her style.
I have to admit that I was a little hesitant because I was expecting this to be a romance book. Let me feign ignorance here because my only encounters in the past with romance novels have been in the more harlequin type and I was pleasantly surprised with the content of the story. I would consider this to be more of a historical fiction novel with romance intertwined. I was slowly drawn in to the character of Aleksander and his internal war with PTSD as he finds himself on the path of a love that could heal his very soul, if he will take a chance.
My favorite quote: ""Amour de ma vie ... ton image hante mes nuits, me poursuit le jour,
elle remplit ma vie .. " Love of my life, your image haunts my nights,
follows me all the day, fulfills my life."
From what I can tell this is Rachel's initial break through novel for sale and for an initial piece she did an amazing job. I have wrestled back and forth between a 4 and a 5 star review on this book. I have resolved with a final 4.7 The prologue was excellently written and very vivid and immediately turned my standard to high for this story. The first 2 chapters felt slightly choppy after such an amazing prologue. All of the elements of the story were there but I was having a hard time with the locations and visuals, it felt like something was missing. I was still intrigued by the story and pushed on and by the end of chapter 3 I was fully hooked into the story. I felt like the descriptions came across much more clearly and I have nothing but praise for the remainder of the story barring 2 or 3 grammatical errors in the last chapter. And a few unanswered questions that arose with the close of the story.
The Frost of Springtime revolves around a man known as Vicomte Aleksender de Lefèvre and takes place predominantly in Paris, France during the end of the Franco-Prussian war. This was a very dark and gloomy time for Paris and Rachel did a superb job of capturing the feeling of desperation and the gloom about the people and settings throughout the story. My praise really goes out to her portrayal of Aleksander's PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as he has returned from the war. She really made you feel like you were inside of Alek's head and wrestling with his inner demons and moral dilemmas as he struggles to keep hold of the edge of sanity to make it through life on a day to day basis. Not many fictional writers are brave enough to tackle such a daunting task as PTSD and she did so beautifully. The romance is a gradual, building one that allows you to really feel the roles that the characters play in each other's lives take an enormous shift. It is not written as an "in your face" sort of affair, but rather one that is done in a tastefully appealing manner and yet it is still quite titillating. No matter how many mistakes Aleksander seems to make he is ever the underdog you want to continue to root for. Rachel did a wonderful job personifying his personal struggle and still making him into a lovable character. Overall I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction laced with romance as well as a look at the world from the mind of a man with PTSD and the solace he finds in the innocent love of a woman whose scent is that of roses and the frost of springtime. I can't wait to read any of Rachel's future works of art.