Monday, December 22, 2014
Review: Shadowed Heart: A Luc and Summer Novel (Amour et Chocolat #5.5) by Laura Florand
Three 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
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
A top read for 2014