The Wild Roses novelReviewed by Colleen Turner

France, 1648: The monarchy is left vulnerable in the hands of its 10 year-old King Louis XIV and his mother, the Queen Regent. Sensing this as the ideal time to bring down the crown, the aristocrats, led by the sinister and calculating Marquis de Longueville, begin taking the law into their own hands and kidnap the child king, hoping to force the abdication of the royal family and reestablish the feudal privileges that allowed them to reign over their own land unobstructed. As the queen and her chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin, work to keep the king’s abduction a secret and find him before it is discovered, law begins to breakdown around France and chaos threatens to erupt into civil war.

With this swirling around them, three very different women find themselves thrust together: Racine Tarascon, a quick-tempered gypsy with a whip smart intelligence and sword skills to match; Gabrielle Parnesse, a flirty actress quick on her feet and always ready to be the center of any stage; and Charlotte le Renaud, a sheltered, sweet noblewoman desperate to find her place in a world that is quickly unraveling around her. As each woman initially sets out on her own mission they soon begin fighting together to try and bring order back to those innocent people bullied by the French aristocracy. When they discover just how far the Marquis is willing to go for his own power, they set out on a quest to not only save the King but all of France as they know it.

The Wild Roses is a fun, quirky sort of story that finds three beautiful women in the role of Musketeers. As I don’t know very much about this time period in France and no author’s notes were given detailing what is factual and what is fiction, I am hesitant to say how true to life the story really is. There were many times when I had to turn off my instinct to second guess the accuracy of the history and just enjoy the story for what it was. I had to do this with the language style as well, as it seemed to be very modern at times before transitioning back to what I would think better fit the setting. This being said, the adventures of Charlotte, Racine and Gabrielle were quite funny at times and I enjoyed their story line more than any other part of the book.

My biggest complaint with The Wild Roses would have to be that there were quite a few editing errors that kept pulling me out of the story and made for a disjointed and awkward reading experience at times. Missing words, double words and odd word placement kept throwing me off and making me reread the sentences to figure out what was going on. This might not be a problem for all readers but has always been a pet peeve of mine.

Overall The Wild Roses is a fast, exciting adventure that pits three remarkable and entertaining women at the forefront of what most would consider a male-dominated world. It was unconventional and thrilling and is sure to be enjoyed by anyone interested in a female Three Musketeer sort of story.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Colleen lives in Tampa, Florida with her husband, son, their dog Oliver and their fish Finn. When not working or taking care of her family she has her nose stuck in a book (and, let’s face it, often when she is working or taking care of her family as well). Nothing excites her more than discovering a new author to obsess over or a hidden jewel of a book to worship.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Robert J. Elisberg. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.