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Reviewed by Natasha Jackson for Readers' Favorite
Fara Bellamont has a problem; her uncle Michel. She returns to his estate as an adult, after being raised by nuns in Burgundy following the death of her parents. However, she discovers he is intent on finding her a husband -— whether she wants one or not. In Upon Your Return we get to know Fara right away and learn of her parents' death and her desire for a life of adventure. Fara is not at all like other young French women of the 1860s: she’s strong-willed and longs for independence. Marie Lavender does a great job of pulling the reader in from the very first word. Early in the story, Uncle Michel tells Fara of her engagement at her celebratory dinner, to a man she’d met only moments before. Enraged and guileless, Fara admits to Jean LaCroix that she does not love him and he arranges for her to meet a very unfortunate end.
And that is where we meet the handsome and mysterious Captain Grant Hill, who promptly steps in to save Fara from her tormentors and would-be captors. From the moment Fara and Grant meet, their relationship is filled with intrigue, friendship, witty banter, and simmering with sexual attraction. Upon Your Return offers us a different heroine in that Fara isn’t just a lady who doesn’t fit into her ‘station’ but she just wants to be acknowledged for her brain and have a certain level of independence. Marie Lavender does a great job of crafting a tale full of emotions and obstacles without being melodramatic. It was a fine twist of brilliance to have a feminist heroine with a strong hero who isn’t afraid of or intimidated by her strength.
Truly a wonderful historical romance guaranteed to reel readers in from the start.