Sunday, April 6, 2014

Laura Florand - The Chocolate Heart

No one hates Paris--except Summer Corey. The moody winters. The artists and their ennui. The inescapable shadow of the Tour Eiffel. But things go from bad to worse when Summer stumbles into brooding, gorgeous chef pâtissier Luc Leroi and indecently propositions the hero of French cuisine...
Luc has scrambled up from a childhood panhandling in the Paris Métro to become the king of his city, and he has no patience for this spoiled princess, even if she does now own his restaurant. Who cares if she smiles with all the warmth of July? She doesn't eat dessert!
There is only one way to tempt her. A perfect, impossibly sweet seduction...

Comment: This is the 4th full length story in the Chocolate series by Laura Florand. Since Ive read the first book I got hooked on her stories set in Paris and the wonderful ways her couples find each other. After 4 books I still think the first was the better and this one the weakest so far, but I have hopes for the 5th!

This story features Summer Corey, a cousin to Cade and Jamie and Luc Leroi, another patissiere in Paris who comes from a not so good childhood. On the other hand, Summer had it all and has been miserable because her father never paid enough attention to what she wanted as a child, which was his care and love. Now, as a grown up, Summer accepts to spend 3 months in her father's most recent acquired hotel in exchange for a satellite for the island where she has been teaching for the last years. But Luc sees her and after some misunderstandings, their fates don't separate anymore...

Every time I started a book by this author I was so thrilled to read about chefs, the new it profession and how the story would develop. The author has a talent to create interesting characters and to put them in situations where we can't always expect a predictable response. However, she has never been a 5 stars author for me because she tends to "talk" a lot about everything and not always in a way that I thought was the most captivating, in particular the private thoughts of the characters. 
In this book, this was more obvious and I have to say I felt a bit bored by how often we would see both Summer and Luc think instead of acting. Their actions and behavior with each other started almost ever from what they thought the other was thinking, doing, expecting, waiting for, etc. I mean, it's always nice to see a couple feel attached by thinking in similar lines, but it wasn't so here.
I had the feeling each one of them hoped the author guessed what they were thinking, and both of them thought a lot, but this isn't a science, we can't know what others are thinking all the time and still they - Summer mostly - felt almost betrayed because their actions weren't clue enough! Ok... I guess I can understand what the author was aiming for, but in my opinion, it wasn't a successful tactic.

Summer and Luc as a couple had many expectations and fears about their own actions and what others would expect of them. But it annoyed me a little bit how they let that run their lives and they were so lonely...I think being alone and knowing your faults isn't wrong because I am shy and I prefer to be alone myself quite often, but in the character's case, they acted almost like the world owned them for their pasts and their failed experiences and family. I like humble heroes and heroines but I didn't get that vibe in this book.
Summer is rich and she always felt abandoned...she is also very smart...why couldn't she find other occupations, other interests instead of letting what she couldn't have rule her life and her over the top reactions?
Luc had a father he loved but who didn't take care of him properly so he feels abandoned too, although he was poor. He had his job, his a way his character is more believable than Summer's.

I'll stop the critics now...I just felt sorry this book with such potential main characters felt under the pressure of childhood fears and disappointments instead of putting in evidence what mattered, which was who they both were now, as grown ups and as people responsible for their feelings and actions. I feel sorry I couldn't like Summer more for instance...but after all things considered I still liked there was a HEA and that's why this grade isn't lower that what it is.
Grade: 6/10

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