F= France of Laura Florand Books

I was in a mood to not write today, but since I am challenging myself to take the control of my writing and life, here I am, writing just 40 minutes before the day is about to end.

For F, I had a choice between Florence and France. Florence is one particular place well covered in Dan Brown’s books. But then, which is closer to me? I was still deciding till the morning when I went, in my kitchen, I saw an empty jar (being reused) of chocolate jam I got from Paris. It isn’t fair to Florence, but France has my heart in this.

I am not referring to one book today but a particular set of books by an author called Laura Florand. I have read two of her series – Amour et Chocolat which is set in Paris and La vien en Roses  which is set in mostly south of France. These series show different part of France, and that was the France I visited when I went to Paris (Technically, I just visited one city. But I am going there soon to visit the South France too.)

These books are not perfect, especially the second series. They have their flaws, but they do bring to the table the beauty of France. There are the sidewalks of the Paris that are talked about. There are sinful descriptions of chocolate shops that it became my fantasy to buy artisan chocolates from Paris. (I had to hunt for vegan chocolate shops opened during summers to fulfil this fantasy of mine. Thank you, Ara chocolates.) There is a description of magical hot chocolate stirred and taken on an island in France that you just can feel the warmth of it seeping in your soul.  

I have been to Paris, and one of the reasons Paris was on the list was because of these books. Before even setting the step in Paris, I had imagined myself sitting across Seine in Paris. I had already visualized the twinkling of Eiffel Tower and how it would follow me everywhere. There is one scene in the book where the character is tired of being watched by the Eiffel Tower. I had dreams about sitting in a small café in Paris to eat my lunch/ dinner (I did that too!).

South of France is not yet covered (I haven’t figured out vegan options there yet mostly!), but I can still imagine the fields of lavenders and roses. I can imagine smaller towns, churches and fields which will take my breath away. I can imagine dining in a Michelin star restaurant in a far-off place. (And no, I am not imagining the romance.)

There are many books which talk about France and probably, in more detailed and a better way too. But Laura Florand in her books has combined the magic, romance, dreaminess, and beauty of the country, which is there but never overpowering.  This is a present-day France whose every corner I want to explore. That’s the magic of this series for me.

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The Chocolate Thief– A “Delicious” book with “Chocolate” romance

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Author’s Name: Laura Florand

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Before I write this review, let me tell you that this is one book I’ve read five times. First time was in June when I mentioned it in one of my musings. But since it was the part of a series, I wanted to finish the series first before writing the review.

There are books which can make one flutter with the romantic tension, and then there are books which can make one crave the chocolate, romance, characters and the story. This is one such book. Normally, when I’m reading I don’t even like to get up for water. This is the only book which, during the process of reading itself, made me go out in a chocolate cafe to sample some goodness described in the story. The story was so descriptive that I had to be in the fragrance described in the book.

Summary:

Paris

Breathtakingly beautiful, the City of Light seduces the senses, its cobbled streets thrumming with possibility. For American Cade Corey, it’s a dream come true, if only she can get one infuriating French chocolatier to sign on the dotted line…

Chocolate

Melting, yielding yet firm, exotic, its secrets are intimately known to Sylvain Marquis. But turn them over to a brash American waving a fistful of dollars? Jamais Not unless there’s something much more delectable on the table…

Stolen Pleasure

Whether confections taken from a locked shop or kisses in the dark, is there anything sweeter?

This is the story of Cade who is the heir of Corey chocolates sold everywhere in the world. She comes to Paris in order to convince a chocolatier to endorse her premium chocolate line. Sylvian was her obvious choice as he was best in business, but when he looks at her horrified by the idea of branding the “Corey” chocolates as his, things go afire.

It’s a story of romance which kicks one like chocolate punch.

What I Liked:

1) Descriptions/Imagery/Writing: I don’t know what to call it. I should name it witchery as the language of the story bewitched me and like a book-machine took me inside the pages of the story. Absolutely delightful and engaging. An Example for you people:

All around her, the sorcerer lurked, in every darkest shadow. He was not there, of course. Logic told her he was home asleep. But logic had little to do with the feel of him. He was here. She felt him here. Watching her explore his lair – his eyes gleaming in the shadows.

One more:

The spice jars felt cold and round under her hand. Hot chocolate should have a touch of vanilla, fresh from Tahiti. A stick of cinnamon from Sri Lanka. Nutmeg from . . . Zanzibar? She hoped it was. In her opinion, every life should have something in it that came from Zanzibar.

I’m not sure these lines can make you feel the words or not, but they do transport me back into the book.

2) Paris: I have never been to Paris, but if somebody ask me where should a romance story be set up, I’ll go for two cities–Paris and Venice(Or maybe Scotland). But seriously Paris tops the list.  But the books brought the city alive. It brought those charms to forefront. One more example:

Outside, Paris put on darkness the way her women dressed for excitement – a black dress sliding over skin, something glittering in its threads. Paris pulled black net stockings over her elegant lines, added high-heeled black boots to click against pavement. Buildings lit in strings of jewels – an earring here, a bracelet there, and a shimmer of something over the skin, a dusting of glitter.

Cade stood at the window, watching that glittering, promising night through that cursed pane of glass. She watched it until it got tired of itself, until the jewels started to come back off, tossed carelessly on a bedside table – lights in apartments going out, heels stripping off, sore feet tucked under the covers.

3) Chocolate: And here’s where I can’t give examples. I never thought that chocolate making can be such a mesmerizing/arousing hobby. I never imagined that the description of the taste of chocolate can make me “tingle”. The author lured me in with the chocolate in title and made me the ardent follower with the description of the taste.

I am well aware that all the three points can be covered in single heading, but then it won’t do justice to the book. I liked everything about the book.

Final Thoughts

The book is a chicklit. You’ll find many who’ll say that such silly stories don’t deserve five stars, but my idea of judging the book is about how it made me feel, how much it was able to take me away from this world. This book did that and hence it deserves the five stars.

Warning for the prospective readers: You’ll crave chocolate after reading the book. So, keep the stash nearby.

Five Stars