Donning the Beard by E A Kafkalas

Romance, disguises, danger and most importantly love.

What was the book about?
This novel is set in the late 1700’s at the beginning of the French Revolution. Madeline Bonte as a young child is sent to live with her aunt and act at first as a playmat for young Gabirielle Guillemot, daughter of the Lord Guillemot. Over time Madeline becomes lady’s maid to Gabrielle and their friendship deepens. Madeline learns to read and is educated secretly by Gabrielle. Lord Guillemot sees that their relationship is not fitting that of mistress and servant and orders Madeline to work in the stables. When Gabrielle becomes of age to marry her father betroths her to Damien Barrett, who fairly soon shows his true colours. Madeline tries to defend Gabrielle’s honour and her life by “Donning the Beard” and becoming Alexandre LaRoche, she sets on a path of love, honour and passion to be with her one and only love.

Featured Tropes
Historical Romance, disguise

Book Strengths
I really enjoyed reading this novel. The character of Madeline was honest and not emboldened with any over the top abilities but was based in realism. Her feats with the sword were not swashbuckling but perfectly described for one that had limited but solid knowledge of how to wield one. In as much as Madeline is the leading butch, Gabrielle is the epitome of a leading femme and it’s wonderful to see. The bourgeoning relationship of these two characters gave depth to the story. The interesting part to have it set in France and at the beginning of the French Revolution helped bring the story together and allowed for the story to go in interesting directions.

Character Chemistry
Madeline and Gabrielle have known each other since they were children and their relationship, albeit slow to start, is so strong and their chemistry is there even though they can’t see it, they feel it. Madeline is very comfortable in the disguise and in a way suits her more than her how she was born. Gabrielle is taken with both Alexandre and Madeline equally and her feelings are not lessened whether the disguise is donned or not.

Heat Rating

Wrap up:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel. The adventure, the passion and the love throughout was really great and a fun book to escape into.

Star Rating

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