Today I am pleased to present a contemporary romance title with the flavor of France from author Laura Florand. Laura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have been translated into seven languages, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Four of her past five books have been recommended reads by Dear Author and two have been Sizzling Book Club Picks by Smart B*, Trashy Books. And this tour also includes a giveaway where one lucky US winner will get a print copy of The Chocolate Kiss. Please read on for my review and your chance to enter, and don’t forget to check out the other tour stops to see what they thought.
My first encounter with this author or series, and I was enchanted. So much so that writing a review that wasn’t all gush was more than a struggle. Set in Paris, overseen by the more ‘popular’ Île de la Cité that cradles Notre Dame de Paris is the smaller Île Saint-Louis that holds one of the best places for ice cream EVER. (Trust me – it is worth the trip to Paris for this alone!) Île Saint-Louis also is where the majority of this story takes place, inside the tiny tea shop La Maison des Sorciers. People come from all over Paris for the tea and treats in this little shop from teas and pastries to tiny chocolate confections and the ever-changing unique display in the window, there are delights to be found here.
Magalie is a child of terminally transient parents, wrenched from a life in Provence to testing out the unfamiliar waters in upstate New York, she has never felt a sense of place, or belonging. When an offer from her aunt presented her with a home and place in a room high above La Maison des Sorciers, Magalie has worked to set down roots and make a place for herself. Her specialty is chocolate chaud, rich and creamy and infused with vanilla and nutmeg and the all-important wish. Every pot of chocolate that Magalie delivers comes with a wish to make the drinker bolder, more daring, more willing to take their dreams and grab for them.
Philippe is from a long list of pastry chefs, and has outshone them all with his awards, recognition and talents. When he decides to open a satellite shop to the island, just down the street from Magalie’s tea house and in the shadow of Notre Dame, Magalie is convinced that her life is about to be uprooted again. With every fiber of her being she is pushing Philippe away, from convincing her aunts to brew a tea, to infusing cocoa with wishes for his struggle, humility or demise, all efforts are for naught as he won’t taste her offerings until she gives in and tastes one of his macarons. Philippe is not a brash insensitive man though, he is very aware of both his own emotions and the effect they have on others. And, he is able to see Magalie as none other have before, and appreciates all that he sees.
As Magalie fights to keep a toehold in the one place she feels she belongs, Philippe is unnerved and obsessed with the tiny woman in the witch’s shop. Stopping in to observe her, demand from her the recognition he feels is his due as a world famous chef and man, and to keep others away from this tiny delicacy that he wishes to claim as his own. She isn’t going to make it easy for him, even though every touch, every moment they are together the sparks fly.
You can’t help but appreciate Magalie’s perspective; much of the story is from her view, and she has worked very hard to build walls that keep her feeling in control and invincible, powerful, untouchable. All traits that she has come to believe are necessary: repeated moves as a child to and from her father and his life in the states, and her mother’s repeated entreaties that Magalie, the child, is strong and the one thing that her mother needs have seeded this idea until it took root.
Philippe was a bit harder to get to appreciate, for at first his whole demeanor was one of conquering lion, and his determination to have her bend to his tempting offerings by leaving specially crafted pastries for her alone just felt as if he was only there for the conquest. But slowly, his determination and single-minded pursuit became a part of who he was, who THEY were, and his reaffirmation of Magalie as a being and presence in his life, as necessary as breathing was palpable, even if the two hadn’t yet discovered it themselves. His repeated utterance of her name, the way it fell from his lips, and his occasional oversteps in protective behavior that sent Magaie over the edge were all coming from his own fears of losing her.
From the first to the last, this is a story to just savor and let the magic take you away. Watch Magalie find her own power in herself as she learns that taking control of your life is best done by letting go of the iron-fisted grip on self-sufficiency and loneliness, and learning to rely on that one someone, the right someone.
Title: The Chocolate Kiss
Author: Laura Florand
Series: Amour et Chocolat #2
Published by: Kensington
Source: Author via Tour Company
Audio Length: 12 Hours: 43 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
The Heart of Paris
Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitues nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.
But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste…a kiss.
Parisian princesses, chocolate witches, patissier princes and sweet wishes—an enchanting tale of amour et chocolat.
A copy of this title was provided via Author via Tour Company for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.