Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Review: The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat #3) by Laura Florand
Her father’s worst enemy...
Top chef Gabriel Delange never forgave his old nemesis Pierre Manon for all the other chef had cost him.
One stolen rose...
And he most certainly couldn’t stand the sight of his own most famous dessert, the legendary Rose, claimed as Pierre’s own on the cover of his new cookbook.
A substitute victim...
But even Gabriel could hardly go through with a lawsuit when he learned the older chef had just had a stroke. Especially not when Pierre had one very cute daughter willing to be Gabriel’s victim instead.
As a child, Jo had seen her family torn apart by her top chef father’s obsession with his work. She had given years of her own adult life to trying to pull him out of depression, after he lost a star. Now a food writer, she might be fascinated with a chef’s work, but she knew how to guard her heart. She would never allow another chef into her life.
Unless he blackmailed her into it...
Welcome to the heat and sun of Provence, where jasmine and roses climb up old colored walls, where fountains play in ancient stone villages, and where even a beast can prove he is a prince at heart. ~ Goodreads
I've read a few books by Laura Florand now (The Chocolate Kiss, Turning Up the Heat) and the thing I love most about Florand's writing is that it's more like a immersive experience rather than just reading words off the page. You can taste the food, feel textures, smell flowers. Her writing is very evocative and makes me want to travel the world or eat a giant box of chocolate. (OK - so I always want to eat a box of chocolate but still…)
In The Chocolate Rose, Jolie Manon, a food writer, has co-written a cookbook with her father. He's recovering from a stroke and Jo hopes that this project will give him the motivation he needs to make a comeback. Tiny problem. The picture she used for the cover, a beautiful chocolate rose his restaurant is famous for, is not her father's creation as credited in the book but that of a former employee, top Gabriel Delange, and he's suing them.
Jo travels to Provence to try to make a deal with Gabriel but instead is captivated by this beast of a man that takes up all the space and air of a room while still spilling his heart and feelings out like an open book.
Gabriel loves big, with everything he has, but hasn't been able to make any of his relationships work because of the hours he dedicates to his restaurant. No woman has been able to handle the late nights and being second to his creations. That is until Jo walks in. She understands his lifestyle and actually likes time alone and early morning walks. The only problem is she's seen how her own egotistical chef of a father led to a broken family and doesn't want that for herself. Gabriel is determined to change her point of view.
The great thing about this story, and something that was very unexpected to me, is that it wasn't about the lawsuit or even very adversarial between Gabriel and Jo. He has hated Jo's father for so long that you would think those feelings would carry over to his daughter but Gabriel sees that her own career aspirations are being kept down in favor of her fathers need for the spotlight. Instead, he seeks ways to build her up and give her credit. The man is definitely an alpha but not at the expense of demeaning Jo in any way.
I mentioned that Gabriel is an alpha. Jo feels completely overwhelmed by him. She compares him to a lion stalking his prey but what's funny is this lion is just a big ole pussy cat. I don't think I've ever read about a more sensitive alpha. He's always worried about being hurt or saying too much too soon to Jo and scaring her off, which he does, repeatedly, but you just have to love him anyway. His intentions are good even if his delivery is too much.
If you read the Amour et Chocolat series, you might start to see some repetitions of phrases and storylines carrying over. They are basically the same story with new characters but in this case, instead of finding that annoying, I find a certain comfort in it the writing style. I'm also a sucker for anything about chefs and food so….
Final thoughts: For me Laura Florand's writing is comfort food and I enjoy every bite. I like the whirlwind romances and talk of food, flowers and love that this series provides. I also enjoyed seeing characters from the previous books in this series make appearances.
Buy the book! The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat, La Vie en Roses)