The Chocolate Heart by Laura Florand (Amour et Chocolat #5)
Releases: November 26, 2013
Reviewed by Mandi
In general, I adore this series. Laura Florand has a great voice and she gives us these amazing chef/pastry/chocolatier heroes with Paris as the backdrop and you swoon and crave chocolate the entire book. I was not a huge fan of the first book, but the subsequent books have all been great. The Chocolate Heart though falls somewhere in the middle and it all has to do with the heroine.
Summer is an only child in an extremely wealthy family. Growing up, she had more of a relationship with her nanny than her parents, and this has greatly affected her as an adult. As a young child, she craved her father’s attention, having to sit through very long business meetings in expensive restaurants, watching everyone around her get these amazing desserts, and Summer not allowed to partake. At the age of thirteen to top it all off, she was shipped to boarding school.
As an adult, she has zero self esteem, which is going to play in greatly with her relationship to Luc. Her parents consider her to be spoiled rotten and they want her to partake in their lavish lifestyle. Summer has spent the past four years on a remote island in the Pacific teaching school, and when she asks her father for money for a new satellite, he agrees only if she comes back to Paris for three months and plays owner of one of his hotels. She VERY grudgingly comes back.
It is here she meets the very famous, very talented chef of the hotel that her father just handed to her, Luc. Luc is instantly aroused by the sight of her, all golden with a gorgeous smile. But he also recognizes that smile isn’t always genuine. Due to Summer’s upbringing, she can be very fake and defensive, and Luc recognizes this even though he doesn’t know the cause.
Luc is super sexy, broody, passionate, intense – everything you expect an extremely talented French chef to be. The author gives Summer a very difficult upbringing and in all honesty, the way Summer acts as an adult is very believable due to her back story. But it gave me a headache. Summer flirts with Luc but won’t let him near her. She puts on this defensive attitude – trying to be exactly who she thinks he wants her to be – and it is very fake. He tries to seduce her with his desserts, in which she constantly pushes away. He tries many different ways to seduce her – and she pushes and pushes,,..and pushes back. It got exhausting. Like I said, I understood why she acted that way and I think the author really writes her as someone so, so fragile I could feel it. I think this is a very good example of her past and current relationship with her father:
She grabbed her phone. “I hate you!” she hissed fiercely to her father. “I. Hate. You.”
“Summer, did you call me out of a meeting to tell me that?” Same Corey asked, exasperated. “I thought it was something important about the hotel. And you can’t talk to me that way,” he added as an afterthought. “I’m your father. I swear, your nanny spoiled you rotten.”
“I was happy! I’m your daughter!”
“Yes, I know you’re my daughter. And believe me, it’s not every girl whose father can buy her favorite hotel when he’s trying to drag her out of the dumps. Four years on some godforsaken island. Your mother nearly had a fit at how much you had let yourself go.”
But after 200 pages of her acting this way I just got tired of it. It wasn’t fun for me to read about her this way. And I didn’t understand why Luc was so enamored with her. He had a horrible childhood too, thrust into foster care with a bad father. Yet this relationship felt very one-sided. Luc never got to collapse and let Summer hold him up.
The setting is fabulous. Luc’s kitchen is amazing. The supporting character of Patrick who is Luc’s right-hand man in the kitchen is SO much fun. The sex is hot. I just got a little tired of Summer.
Still one of my most anticipated series.