Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jan Moran - Flawless

Verena Valent is at the helm of her family's legendary Swiss skincare company, which caters to a glamorous clientele in the heart of Beverly Hills. After her parents are killed in an automobile accident, she becomes the sole provider for her younger twin sisters and her grandmother. Instead of attending college with her friends as planned, she rises to the challenge to guide and expand her family's business. She is in the midst of a critical international expansion into Asia when her carefully organized life begins to unravel.
Verena is shaken to discover that her fiancé, Derrick, might be behind a scheme to take over her growing company. While she struggles to save the business that means everything to her, she meets Lance, an executive chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She encounters this intriguing man again while on a business trip to Paris, and soon gains a new perspective on love, romance, and relationships.
When the unthinkable occurs and Verena's world collapses, her friends rally around her, among them Scarlett Sandoval, a top intellectual property attorney; Dahlia DuBois, a perfumer from an esteemed line of French perfumers; and Fianna Fitzgerald, a fashion designer with her own trendy boutique.
Ultimately, Verena learns that truth, family, friendship, and love are the unshakable pillars of life. But will she get a second chance in business, or in love?

Comment: It seems this book has been edited after the author changed publishers? I can't be certain if it's only the cover and name of the series that changed or if something else happened but the story felt a little choppy...maybe it was just my impression. I can't remember why I added this to my reading list...probably something regarding the heroine overcoming problems and getting her HEA?

This is the story of Verena Valent, a successful CEO of a company that produces and sells skincare products, a business her grandmother Mia has started and that Verena feels very passionate about, especially since her parents died and she took upon herself to raise her younger twin sisters while managing the company with the support of her grandmother.
Verena is also in a relationship and she feels they might get engaged although both her and Derrick live very busy lives. Things change when her bank refuses to give credit after an expansion to Asia was on the go, forcing Verena to accept the help of a competitive shark for whom her soon-to-be fiancé works for. At the same time, Verena meets Lance Martell, a chef in one of the Beverly Hills hotel she and her family sometimes attend events at and everything about him calls to her.
Will Verena find a way to solve her business? Will she realize her love life isn't flawless after all?

This is a frustrating book. It has all the ingredients to make for a fantastic read but falls very short because there's no real complexity in the characters nor in the way the story is told. I'd say the expression "superficially done" applies.
It's a pity because some situations had the potential to make this a cute story but the plot choices and the lack of characterization ruined it for me.

Verena is an interesting character who seems to be motivated in her job and caring enough about her sisters and grandmother. I liked her as a heroine and I did feel sad when things started to go wrong and she lost control of her company. I thought this situation would be solved in a different way, though, so I can't tell if I'm surprised by how things turned out after all or annoyed because the path taken wasn't the one I thought it would.

The romance is very, very uninvolved in how it happens. They meet, there's a connection, they are perfect for each other. Since this was such a superficial tale, there isn't much besides the basics we know about the two of them and the scenes in which they appear together don't give a lot of cues about how deep their feelings actually are. Too much telling and not enough showing to let the reader know exactly where things are at. Even inner monologues which might become boring to read sometimes would be a good help here, to at last allow the reader to have a notion about what really was going in their heads besides worry and thoughts of everlasting love.

The writing style didn't appeal to me. This was my first attempt with this author but I found her style to bee very quick, as if she wanted to get several things out of the way and why bother setting up the scenes or the scenarios in a more complex way... a little paradoxically, there is a bit of lawyer and business jargon regarding take overs and things about the corporate world I'm not familiar with that felt rather detailed... this leads me to finish the book with the sensation the story is not balanced.

This is the first story in a series so some secondary characters are mentioned or have small parts which are a set up for their future stories. At times this can save a story for me if the main couple isn't appealing to read about. However, in this case, not even that. Everything is really under developed, the characters spend time traveling to Paris when the business is in trouble and although I understand some expenses, I wonder if they couldn't have video called unless, of course, the heroine had to travel so she could surprisingly meet the hero for a romantic walk in the city of love? I mean, some situations were over the top unnecessary and the whole "posh" environment just didn't seem captivating to me.

All in all, this was mostly a disappointing read. Not bad on its own but going to it expecting a cute romance or even just a "find oneself" kind of plot with sprinkles of love here and there was not something achieved.
It is just barely positive for me and I don't think I'll read other books by the author.
Grade: 5/10

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