So, welcome to my blog relaunch. Guess I was finally inspired to revive this blog after I heard that my friend Chachic of Chachic’s Book Nook was doing a blog event for Laura Florand’s books called Amour Et Florand.
1. The many moods of Paris, the perfect playground for
Given that the entire Amour et Chocolat series is primarily set in Paris, it would be tempting for an author like Laura Florand to resort to generic travel guide descriptions to set up the location. I’ve never been to Paris myself, so I have no basis for comparison, but I love the way Laura Florand uses simile and metaphor to literally change my perception of Paris to match how the hero/heroine sees it (Summer’s and Magalie’s views of Paris stand out in particular for their contrast). Hopeful, proud, secretive, looming, menacing, calm and restful, elegant and ageless, bursting with joie de vivre – her descriptions of Paris definitely inspired me to plan that trip to Paris SOON. I’d even go during winter (coming from a tropical country, winter is definitely not my favorite season), just to be able to experience all those scenic and contemplative walks while I’m all bundled up against the cold. Way to channel my inner Laura Florand heroine? Except, I’d need the next item on the list to complete the experience:
2. Men with laser focus and secret marshmallow hearts
Pretty much defines ALL of Laura Florand’s heroes. In fact, at one point in The Chocolate Rose Jolie actually does call Gabriel a marshmallow. Another thing most of them (with the exception of Philippe I think?) have in common is their drive to rise above their not-so-ideal childhoods en le banlieue. Such similar backgrounds, yet the way each man handled his insecurities provided enough variety that they didn’t turn out like cardboard copies of one another. I honestly can’t choose a favorite among them!
3. And the women who break through that iron focus and melt them
Most contemporary romances these days rely on instant sexual attraction to set up the plot. Laura Florand’s books are no exception. But I like how she writes heroines whose emotional hang-ups (every romance needs that to set up the conflicts, right?) are the perfect foil for the heroes, resulting in this delicious emotional push-and-pull tug-of-war that builds and builds to that moment when either our hero, or our heroine, or both at the same time, snap. Misunderstandings that drive wedges between our two protagonists abound in a Laura Florand book, sometimes to the point where I want to go inside the book and whack some sense into them. Considering that some of her heroines are women most of us plebeians would love to hate (I mean, come on, not one but THREE billionaire heiresses. And with hearts of gold to boot?), it’s a testament to good character development that I still find myself rooting for them.
4. Via a delicious seduction through dessert/chocolate
Well, maybe the seduction through chocolate aspect was toned down a bit in The Chocolate Temptation compared to the earlier books (but it was still there in that utterly breathtaking final scene). I love how our heroes literally put their hearts into the desserts/chocolates they create for the heroines, as the only way they know to express their feelings for the heroine. I love how our heroines are always so clueless that that’s what the hero is doing, until close to the end of the book when everything finally CLICKS and the big misunderstanding our hero and heroine were both laboring under is finally resolved.
So, emotional hang-ups, the resulting conflicts, that place where our protagonists hit that rock bottom emotional low, and then the eventual resolution of conflict leading to the HEA. Pretty standard romance novel tropes, right? But in a Laura Florand book, all this happens within this luscious bubble of chocolate ganache-filled passionate hero/heroine encounters. It’s the journey with the hero and heroine that makes these books stand out, in much the same way that the textures and flavors of different fillings burst out of that dark chocolate square or macaron that you’ve just bitten into.
5. And last but not the least…
Burping cellphones. Seriously the BEST description of an incoming text message I have ever read. I live for those moments when I see that description come up on a page in a Laura Florand book. She should use it more often to satisfy my craving. But I guess the novelty would wear off too soon if not used sparingly. So I’ll just console myself with boxes and boxes of chocolate and macarons while reading instead.