For What It's Worth

Monday, December 22, 2014

Review: Shadowed Heart: A Luc and Summer Novel (Amour et Chocolat #5.5) by Laura Florand


23364641Three words, to shake a man’s existence.

Three words, to call on all a man’s strength, all his courage, all his love, and all his ability to hope and dream…and trust.

Three words, to wake up every fear a man has ever had.

“I’m pregnant, Luc.”

Now how could a man be perfect enough for that?

Romantic Times calls Laura Florand's writing "sensuous and sumptuous", awarding her their Seal of Excellence and nominating her for Best Book of the Year, and NPR says it's "explosive, sensual . . . and utterly sweet".

Now in this sequel to The Chocolate Heart, Florand takes us into the heart of happily ever after with a story full of love, hope, and friendship. Struggling to get their new restaurant off the ground in the south of France, newly married top chef Luc Leroi and his wife Summer must face all their demons at the prospect of becoming parents. Fortunately, Summer's cousins and Luc's rival chefs join forces with the couple to prove that not even a top chef has to handle everything alone and happiness really can last ever after.

Goodreads | Source: e-arc provided by the author in exchange for my honest review

My thoughts:

I think I have run out of ways to gush over Laura Florand’s writing. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, there is just something about the way she climbs so deep into a character’s soul that it seems like I inhabit them for the duration of the story. 


Florand’s writing is immersive and evocative. After reading the Amour et Chocolate series I’m pretty sure I know everything about living in France, chocolate and living with cranky chefs because I feel like I lived it just by reading the series. (that's not true of course - but that's how I feel)

Shadowed Heart is a sequel/companion to The Chocolate Heart (Amour et Chocolate #5) – Summer and Luc’s story. Out of all the couples they have the most troubled pasts to overcome and were the most prickly of characters. It was hard to break through their armor but they found each other and got their HEA. Or did they?

Well, yeah they did, but there’s nothing like the announcement of a baby arriving to unearth old insecurities and test Summer and Luc’s staying power.

This book is gorgeous! Simply gorgeous, in a painful, raw, and ultimately heart soaring way.

While Summer and Luc have found each other to confide in and feel safe, you can’t live your whole life around one person. It’s a painful lesson for both of them, as they don’t let others in easily. Summer tries desperately to find a way to make friends in a world where women find her beauty and aloof personality off putting and to make her own mark in the world. While Luc fights the seemingly never ending battle (in his own mind) to prove he's good enough for Summer.

For long time fans of the Amour et Chocolat characters, you WILL NOT be disappointed. Past couples are weaved together in one of the most beautiful moments of this series. The bond that these determined, arrogant, perfectionist chefs and their feisty women counterparts have created almost make me tear up.

Despite the sometimes heaviness of the story, there are also many light moments to make you smile. Watching the men try to create something healthy that Summer can keep down, instead of *gasp* American peanut butter and pickles was hilarious.

It’s my opinion that this book can’t really be read as a stand alone. I think it’s important to have at least read The Chocolate Heart first, the whole series (but it's not necessary) – even better so you can squeal over the cameos.

I hope we get more glimpses of the after the Happily Ever After's in the future from Florand. While it’s nice to see the falling in love part, these heroes are too gruff, some too damaged to think that they just fall in love and never relapse into old patterns. This was such a welcome, honest, loving dose of reality.
P.S. Especially if it’s Patrick. Hint…hint…lol

Star A  top read for 2014

15 comments:

  1. Looks like you're saving the best for last! There's only two weeks left of 2014, and you're still finding reads that are top status worthy. Awesome! I haven't discovered Laura Florand's writing for myself yet, however there's still time. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

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    1. Florand is kind of a guaranteed slam dunk author for me. Her books are always on my favorites list.

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  2. Why is the cover art different from the other books? I need to check out this chocolate love series next year

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    1. I believe it's because she self pub'd this one but I don't know for sure. The Chocolate Kiss is one of my favorite books ever but I enjoy the whole series.

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  3. Oh this sounds good. You had already put this author on my must read list. I so need to read all of these in this series!

    *gives Figgy catnip* ;)

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    1. The novellas are such fun bonus for fans of the series.

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    2. And Figgy thanks you for the catnip - he will tell Santa you've been good :-)

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  4. You xmas fixed your blog, nice :)

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  5. First of all...Yay...Figment in a santa hat :) Second, wow you really liked this one!

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    1. I love Florand's writing and it's so nice to see everyone from the series come together. it's a nice gift to the fans.

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  6. I have to agree that I definitely want more of Patrick after this novella. Out of all the heroes in this series, he's probably the least alpha so I always forget how charming and utterly sweet he is. I'll have to re-read his story this season for sure. ;) Wonderful review--I adored this one as well!

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    1. I love the Florand's alphas aren't jerks but yeah Patrick is confidant but doesn't seem too alpha to me. I think he uses humor to cover up some of his pain but overall he's a ray of sunshine. It's a nice change of pace too. Keeps the series fresh and interesting. I love them all!

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  7. Raw and honest is all that you really need in a book. Great review!

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I love this series. It's a lot of fun but also intense.

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