Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Laura Florand - Once Upon a Rose

Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.
Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?
When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.
It might involve kissing.

Comment: This is the first story in the La Vie en Roses series by author Laura Florand. It has been in my pile of books to read because I actually really liked her other series, Amour and Chocolat. However, regarding the other series, my opinion is that each book got weaker as the installments came by and perhaps that is why it took me so long to start another book by the author. I must say, though, this was was as average as I imagined...

In this book we meet Matthieu Rosier, he works for his family business and deals with everything related to treat the roses his family uses to seel to perfume brands and such. This story begins with Matt celebrating is 30th anniversary and meeting singer Layla Dubois.
However, what he doesn't know is that she has inherited a propriety he thought would be given to him after an aunt's death but that she has already given to Layla and that Layla is a famous singer. Matt wants nothing to do with fame after a very disastrous public relationship with a model.
Layla only wants to rest and have time to write after a Grammy but she feels her producers have put too much pressure on her to succeed and she doesn't feel confident she can make it. Resting in a sudden inheritance felt like a dream but her life turns up even more complicated...

From a romance POV, this premise feels amazing. Two people at odds over a situation neither has control over but while still being attracted and with every chance encounter, their relationship developed even further. We also have the expected angst moments when secrets come out... on paper, it should read easily and pleasurably. I can imagine those who have loved the story would probably mention these details.

For me, though, this story has several of the same issues I found while reading, mostly, installments #4 and #5 of the Amour and Chocolat series. It stopped having a quirky style to be repetitive and slightly boring. The author has many ideas and I'm sure that in real life we all have constant thoughts in our heads or we analyze things like that but to read about so much inner monologue can be boring. I wanted more action or a type of action scenes where we could read between the lines instead of having the characters think about everything. From what I remember, this still read better than, say, The Chocolat Temptation, but for many moments, I just wanted things to move along.

This introspective style is a bit difficult to enjoy because instead of the reader imagining the scenes, the character's movements, we spend too much time analyzing their emotions. This isn't always fun to do. Some authors just tell too much instead of showing but in this case it's more a situation of showing but explaining everything to the point the plot feels stagnated. Even when something is happening it feels it's not, so for me this was too slow being described and then things finally got to an end, despite the sweetness of the HEA, I felt not much actually happened.

The main characters have many qualities and I was happy they managed to overcome several obstacles - mostly emotional - to reach a balanced ground where they could be happy. But they also have dialogues I feel aren't very realistic so after all the other situations one can only assume aren't very credible (the setting is in a valley in France, not an alternate reality), this ends up reading as somewhat poor. Things take too long to be described even when the actual scene is quick, for instance, they fall in love in three days, and the development isn't always focused on what would be more necessary.
Then, as a sort of opposed notion, they barely talk about the things that should matter or these things are not as easily inserted in their dialogues or interactions which feels odd for the quickness of their romantic feelings towards one another.

I think I have overdone my appreciation for this writing style but of course it still suits many others.
Still, I liked some details, especially the family interactions and how they defended each other. But to keep reading, I'm not sure. I'll get to the next one because I got it at the same time as this one but it's something to look for more in the sense of "accomplish a goal in my to-do list" rather than having real eagerness to start it.
Grade: 6/10

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