Friday, March 18, 2016

Book Tour and Review: "Lions in the Garden" by Chelsea Luna


Lions in the Garden
Chelsea Luna
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Lyrical Press (Kensington)

Summary from Goodreads:

Prague, 1610

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 . . . 

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About the Author 

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 bestselling LOVE & THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, a young adult horror trilogy.

Chelsea received a Juris Doctorate from New York Law School in New York, New York in 2007, and a B.A. in Sociology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, from the University of Tennessee in 2004. She lives in Tennessee.

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Frightened by the prospect of an arranged marriage to an old man she dislikes, seventeen year old Mila flees her home in the palace of Prague in 1610.  As the chancellor’s daughter, Mila has never been outside the palace unescorted and certainly not through the thief-infested forests outside the city.  After handsome blacksmith’s son, Marc, rescues her from bandits, Mila falls hopelessly in love and begins to see that the rebellion brewing among the peasants is not without just cause.

Lions in the Garden, by Chelsea Luna, was aptly named as there were both literal and metaphorical lions in the garden.  King Rudolf II kept lions caged within his palace gardens.  And, to quote Marc, the peasants were like the lion in that “It’s angry and depraved and once it breaks free of its cage, all hell is going to break loose.”  The peasants certainly would make all hell break loose when they rebelled, the question being whether they would end up caged again afterwards. 

I enjoyed Lions in the Garden.  The setting, the plot, the characters, and the romance all built to a dramatic climax that begs for a sequel.  Kidnappings and murders, engagements and weddings, prison sentences and daring escapes all added to the intrigue.  The fact that it is based—loosely, that is—on history, adds to the authenticity. 

The setting was well-done.  The characters traveled across seventeenth century Prague, stopping at various monuments that are still present in the city today—Saint Vitus Cathedral, the astronomical clock, and the palace itself, to name a few.  Each location was described in relative detail, without alienating the story.  Because of this book, I would like to visit Prague someday.

The romance needs a few words.  Mila was determined and brave; a little naïve at first, but she learned and grew.  Marc, on the other hand, knew, or a least suspected, much of what the people of the city suffered, although he also needed to grow a little.  I immediately liked both characters and wished they could marry, despite the dramatic difference in social status.  What I did not like was that it was basically a love-at-fist-sight romance, meaning, it is unrealistic for them to have a deep love-trust relationship after knowing each other for a few hours, in spite of how much they sacrificed for each other.  The physical attraction was present, and they were touching hands, hair, and torsos by the end of their second meeting, though neither they nor any of the other characters slept together.  But Marc and Mila ultimately knew very little of each other’s character, desires, or life-story even as they were willing to risk all to continue a doomed romance.  It frustrated me.

Other than that, I enjoyed the book very much.  And the characters were very sweet to watch together.  I would recommend this book to teens who enjoy a good romance in a historical setting. 

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


Book Tour Organized by:


  1. Looks like a good book. I really like the time period. Thanks for the chance to win a copy I would love to read it.

    1. It was a pretty good book. The time period was cool too. It reminded me of Sound of Diamonds by Rachelle Rea. The books were set in different countries, but a similar time period with all the religious turmoil. It was cool to see another country's take on the Catholic-Protestant situation.