Wednesday, April 12, 2017
review: trust me (Paris nights #3) by Laura florand
She's nobody's damsel in distress...
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?
He's a professional dragon slayer...
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina’s fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after...with him? ~ Goodreads
Source: e-arc provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
I am a huge fan of Laura Florand and her evocative writing. Her books have a way of making you feel like you are actually experiencing the sights, sounds and taste of France.
Her Paris Nights series is a bit more playful than the Amour et Chocolat or La Vie en Roses series despite them taking place against the backdrop of modern day terrorism. Florand manages to balance this with romance remarkably well. Intelligent, fair, and yes, somehow romantic.
The reason it’s more playful is a credit to the Navy Seal heroes and their respect for a feisty heroine. They do want to protect the ones they love, of course, but they can fully appreciate that a girl can take care of herself sometimes and they tend to goad each other on with fun banter.
Lina Farah is a Parisian, Michelin 2 star pastry chef (and going for that 3rd!) who is still recovering from the terrorist attack perpetuated by her cousin in the previous book (this can be read as a stand alone though). Lina is lauded for stopping the attack but still suffers from flashbacks, and judgement from the public – some who see her as the as the hero of the story and others, because of her Arab heritage, see her only as a Muslim terrorist and therefore a potential co-conspirator that shouldn't be trusted. She feels lost and betrayed in her own country.
Jake is the Navy Seal assigned to protect her until the media storm dies down and can’t help but fall for her as he watches her quiet courage as she struggles to get her life back to normal and live without fear again.
Lina offers Jake a friends (guard?) with benefits situation and is shocked that Jake seems offended. Jake is so over the whole - women who want to score sex with a Navy Seal notch on their belt - scene and is looking for more with Lina.
He agrees to sexual experiences that help Lina escape and feel empowered but doesn’t let Lina use him and I loved how Florand explored and twisted female/male sexuality assumptions based on gender.
Their romance was really sweet as they get to know each other and share pieces of themselves. And Florand pulls no punches about the horror of terrorism, racism and the fear it instills in both the victims and the people assigned to stop it.
So, I really liked this one but…
I have to preface this by saying I LOVE Florand’s writing. She is my go to auto-buy, comfort read author. However, her last two books (Trust Me & A Crown of Bitter Orange) have felt repetitive to me. The characters are changing & getting increasingly complex – a good thing! but the story and conflict are basically staying the same. That can be comforting but I found the repetition is starting to grate on me.
For example, in Trust Me, Lina is entranced by Jake’s freckles and Florand makes the descriptions of Jake being seemingly kissed by the sun sexy as hell. The first time and maybe the second. But by the third, fourth and fifth time it was just saying the same exact thing in new ways. In The Crown of Bitter Orange it was the hero's eyebrows.
And the use of pastry as a metaphor for the heart is something I LOVE but she keeps coming back to it in a way that I’ve read multiple times already. The hard outer shell that breaks into something soft.
And of course her reliance on the characters willfully ignoring what the other is trying to tell them to keep them apart just a little bit longer. Frustrating because this device is now used in most of her romances.
I have no idea why this is suddenly bothering me as a reader when it’s the thing I loved most about her writing previously but I guess with her characters becoming more complex and developed and the stories themselves taking on a harder edge and relevancy, I expected the romances to be a bit different as well, but they are following a formula, almost sentence for sentence and I’m starting to find it distracting.
I don’t mean to detract anyone form reading this. Hardcore fans love it and if you aren’t one yet then you probably won’t even notice the things that bothered me.
Despite my few nitpicks, I highly recommend Trust Me because it’s a truly beautiful story about fighting back, slaying your inner dragons, with a really nice twist on the usual alpha male, female empowerment and sexuality.