Title: Lions in the Garden (The Uprising Book 1)
Author: Chelsea Luna
Genre: Historical Romance, Young Adult
Ludmila Novakova--Mila--has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia's uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she's taken what she can carry and fled.
Escape won't be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn't been seen in months. Mila's father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.
But Mila can't sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother's death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant--and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy--and wrong from right . . .
Mila has lived inside the walls of Prague Castle and like a bird in a gilded cage, she’s desperate for freedom. Disgusted by the prospects of marrying an old, fat baron her father’s age, she flees on horseback carrying only what she can carry. Thieves happen upon her and she’s frightened. But before they can accost her, a dashing young man swoops in and saves her. Marc, the peasant son of a blacksmith, returns her to the castle but not before sparks fly between the two.
There’s an uprising coming to Bohemia, peasants are hungry, the king hasn’t been seen in months and Mila’s father keeps her sheltered as best as he can. Instead of marrying the old baron, her father insists she marry her childhood friend. Mila thinks of him as a brother, nothing more, but Mila doesn’t have a choice. She must put aside her growing feelings for Marc and do her duty as a daughter.
Mila and Marc are thrust into a world of religious bigotry, revenge, treason, murder, greed and men clinging to power that’s not rightfully theirs. When Mila must choose between her innocent privileged life behind the castle walls and love, the truth shatters her world. Will she sacrifice herself to save Marc or will the Lions in the Garden consume her?
This is an intoxicating story and I loved everything about it. The characters were well-developed and I loved the historical background. I knew nothing about Bohemia at this time period and I found it addictive. There was so much going on and the layers only added to my love of this story. It had a Princess Bride sort of feel to it, at times.
Mila matures as the story progresses and you see a spark of independence in her that I loved. I adored the attraction between her and Marc. Marc is every girl’s dream and I swooned many times while reading. It was a slow-burning love and I was rooting for them to get together at the end.
My Rating: 5+ stars
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Chelsea Luna is the author of the bestselling NEW ENGLAND WITCH CHRONICLES, a young adult paranormal romance series comprising of four novels. Chelsea is also the author of the YA historical series LIONS IN THE GARDEN and the YA horror trilogy, LOVE & THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
Chelsea received a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School in 2007, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Tennessee in 2004. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and children.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N