I've said it time and again, - Joanna Bourne is incredible. Her books are pure poetry, philosophical, deep, melancholic and immensely romantic. She also put huge amount of research in the subject - French Revolution and Napoleon's Empire.
French Revolution is one of my favourite settings for historical romances - spies, assassins, looser morals, than in Victorian era, desperation and survival of the fittest... It's wild, brutal, and it's time of great changes.
The Black Hawk follows the life of two spies - a French one, Justine, and an English one, Adrian. The book starts in the present and goes back in flashes through years of their complicated relations, because Adrian and Justine have know each other since they were children.
Even as children they are so old ad wise for their age it's creepy and sad. Adrian grew up on the streets of London as a thief, Justine, a daughter of an aristocrat, was molested as a child and sold into a brothel. Both escaped and survived by being picked up and trained to be spies.
Even as teens they are mad for each other, but their responsibilities come first. It's hugely romantic how they snatch precious moments to meet risking their lives over both sides of the Channel, how they save each others' lives countless times despite trying to reject their relationship for each others safety.
They are pure star-crossed lovers, and when they reunite in their late thirties, Justine is dying, and it's up to Adrian to save her life and find those responsible for an attempt to assassinate her.
Joanna's writing is gorgeous, and this book was one of the two best historical romances I've read last year. Highly recommended.