Rachel L. Demeter
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Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.
After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon's army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.
But fate has a different plan.
Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she's moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.
Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah – and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah's own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts – or will the cycle of history repeat again?
Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley's Lord of Ice and Judith James's Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.
a lovely story rich in history with two characters that encourage you to read on
I expected good things from this story going in, I was impressed with Demeter’s ability to weave a story into historical events, and present the necessary background information, imbue it with evocative words and phrases that give the reader a solid sense of place, while giving characters life and breath on the page. She had brought this in my introduction to her work, The Frost of Springtime, so I was excited to receive an opportunity to review her new work.
Set in 1815, with some flashbacks to pertinent moments, Gabriel de Laurent is back from the war, finding life and all he has lost too much to bear. A horribly broken man, he has decided that life is no longer worth the struggle, and he has decided to take his own life. Surely, this is not a ‘proper’ introduction to a character, but Demeter makes it work by placing one who is significantly younger and yet unbowed by the trials of her own difficult life in Ariah Larochelle. She takes in this wounded, close to death man, and decides he shall be her “project.
With a touch of a slow start, and frequent insets from the past, these two characters are developing a backstory as their current moment progresses. We learn of their issues, their struggles and fears, and what has brought them each to this moment. Ariah’s steadfast (and near martyr-like patience) with Gabriel’s attitude are at times, wearing, but we see from the frequent moments inside each character’s head the changes and growth as it occurs. I wished for more direct interaction between the two, but several things hold back their willingness to share of themselves and take a chance at offering their hearts. Secondary characters help to fill out their relationship and the story, bringing in moments away from the underlying questions about the ‘will they or won’t they’ relationship status.
As before, Demeter brought forth a lovely story rich in history with two characters that encourage you to read on, read more as you hope for their happy ending. A sense of fatalism follows both Ariah and Gabriel, and the story does carry the same tone, while moments of great joy shine brightly, these are not two characters who are happily moving through life. Perhaps that makes their connection feel more visceral: both have lost much, and realize the fragility of life and the bonds you make, but the gradual reliance on one another, the growing affection and connection are all the more present because of those overriding emotions imbedded in each page of this story.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
If you’re looking for a Historical Romance that is historically accurate, emotional, unique….and one you’ll be unable to put down….this is it!!:) This book is so descriptive and well written….I felt like I was there….feeling and seeing everything right along with the characters. I can’t wait to read more from this talented author.
A wonderfully haunting read
Desperation and despair makes Colonel Gabriel de Laurent want to end his life. Resolved to end it all, Gabriel winds up along the River Seine on a snowy night with a pistol in his mouth. Unfortunately for him, the pistol does not do its job very well and Gabriel winds up on the brink of death.
Ariah Larochelle has had a difficult life, to say the least. Left an orphan at a young impressionable age then betrayed by her best friend, she has had to fight to survive. Trust is a serious issue with this now mother of a young daughter. Ariah lives among poverty awaiting the return of the husband who left for war years before. When she comes across the barely alive Gabriel, her survival instincts flip into high gear as she takes him to her modest home and tasks herself with saving the stranger's life.
Gabriel's injuries are disfiguring, but that isn't the least of it. Ariah's beloved Dr friend tells her that from the wounds, it is obvious there was no foul play involved,but that what occur ed was bu his own hand. Ariah struggles to understand what could bring someone to do that. Even with all that has happened to her in her short life, survival was always the only choice for her. Nursing Gabriel back to health is a job for a saint, for at first he resents that he is still alive and permanently scarred not only on the outside, but to the very depths of his being.
The more the inconsolable Gabriel spends time with Ariah and her little family, the more he comes to appreciate the second chance he has been given, but those dark secrets of his past still chip away at his soul and it seems the only one who can bring the light to his dark is Ariah. She holds secrets in her heart as well that have shaped the way she has become, but with Gabriel's presence, Ariah sees that there could be a chance for her to trust and love.
FINDING GABRIEL by Rachel L. Demeter is a gut wrenching tale that tugs at the reader's heartstrings and brings tears to your eyes. This story is not for the faint of heart. It is gritty and real and will evoke emotion. I couldn't put it down. Both Ariah's and Gabriel's stories prior to their meeting are emotional roller coasters. Ms. Demeter's sweeping description of the times and the characters feelings is brilliant, I felt like I was right there alongside Ariah and Gabriel. FINDING GABRIEL is a story that will remain with me for a while for the journey to that HEA almost broke me. Bravo Ms. Demeter for such a memorable tale.