A Crown of Bitter Orange by Laura Florand (La Vie En Roses #3)
Released: January 24, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
Tristan and Malorie have known each other since childhood – their families have known each other for generations, as both are great makers of perfume in the Provence area. But their relationship has not always been on the best of terms. During the war, Malorie’s great-grandfather sold out more than one person to the nazis where as Tristan’s families were part of the Resistance. Tristan grew up with great pride thinking of his family, Malorie felt shame.
In school together, Tristan was all smiles and charm and Malorie hid and didn’t want any attention from him as she saw him as a charmer who got everything too easily. As adults, Tristan has gone on to be an extremely successful perfumer, and at the age of twenty-nine has created some amazing perfumes all with the total support of his family. Malorie on the other hand has a family that has scattered. Her sisters have left to do their own thing, as has her mother. Malorie found herself working in the accounting department of a perfume company in New York, wanting to get away from the estate her grandmother owned and all of the memories there. But then her grandmother dies, and Malorie is drawn back to the old house, the orchard of bitter oranges, the scents of her childhood and what really is her passion. Can she rebuild her family’s legacy? Can she put up with Tristan who is the king of perfumes?
Laura Florand puts the reader in her books. When she was writing her chocolate series, I could almost taste the chocolate as the chocolatiers were creating magnificent pieces. When she wrote about chefs, I was in the chaotic kitchen watching the masters at work. And now I’m in an orchard and the scents all around me feel so real. She does such a great job with the details.
If you love an enemies to lovers story, you are going to like this one. Tristan has had goo goo eyes over Malorie since he was a kid, but her tough outer shell never let him in. Growing up with a narcissistic father, Malorie has pushed everyone away, and now regrets it.
She wondered how you unlearned selfishness, when it was such a fundamental survival instinct in her family. She wondered how you became someone like her grandmother, willing to be the roots three granddaughters had needed, no matter how lonely it left her.
Finding her way back home, Malorie thinks a lot upon this. Not only if she will be able to start making perfumes, but what led her to leave her grandmother and all of her history, and now that her grandmother is gone, how she can make that up to her. However, her quiet thinking time is interrupted from Tristan, pretty surprised to see Malorie back at home. The last time he saw her, she was throwing his very unique and precious perfume on the ground, telling him in her accountant way that it was too expensive. He still holds a grudge.
Tristan is very successful, and while it appears that he walks around like he owns the world, he is pretty grounded. His family is everything to him. His grandfather, his parents, and his cousins – Tristan is the glue that holds them all together and he takes that job very seriously. He has always crushed on Malorie but she never let him get close. Malorie too reciprocated those feelings, but she was wary:
And Tristan would talk to her and smile at her and try to get her to talk to him, all that easy charm of his, and she always felt only one careless breath away from just falling so hard for him she’d never recover. She’d just be another one of the many, many girls at school who must have already found out how pleasurable it was to fall over backwards for Tristan and let him get everything he wanted.
These two have a history, so in present day when they are reunited, there is much charming flirtation on Tristan’s part and much ignoring on Malorie’s part. She feels like with their family history of her relative turning on his relatives during the war, he and his family must think poorly of her. She has a hard time getting past that. But eventually Tristan’s persistence pays off, and Malorie realizes she is allowed to love him and enjoy him and the guilt and bad feelings she has been harboring for a long time go away.
Tristan is a gentleman through and through – a playful one – but a steadfast one. And one of the best things about all of Laura Florand’s books is how romantic they are. She makes you wait for the payoff in this one, but oh how you just want to swoon and twirl in a circle when it happens.
“Do you know how pretty you are?” Tristan said softly. “I mean, really, really beautiful. I don’t even know what it is, exactly. It’s just when I’m up close to you, I feel like I can breathe. He paused. His lips quirked. “Sometimes much too hard. Like I’m getting ready for something…very physical.”
And let’s not leave Malorie out…
“I want you in this with me,” she said helplessly. It went against her whole life policy. And yet…”You’re the life of this place,” she said softly. “You know all the sunlight in that perfume you made me yesterday? That’s you.”
An adorable romance with such a lovely setting. I can’t wait to meet more of Tristan’s cousins who get future books. They have very interesting stories.