This second book in Laura Florand’s La Vie en Roses contemporary romance series was not my favourite, but that in no way changes the fact that I will continue to buy everything she publishes, nor my strong recommendations for her novels. If nothing else, A Wish Upon Jasmine made me go and re-read a large portion of the preceding book Once Upon a Rose and that made me all smiley.
Damien Rosier, “the mean one”, is the glue that holds his family’s perfume business together. Working in the south of France among the rose, lavender, and jasmine fields, it falls to Damien to take care of the money that finances his family’s dreams. A blade of a man, he has a soft heart and a hard shell which rarely cracks, but six months ago it was shattered. Meeting, consummating their mutual attraction, and falling more than a little bit in love during an unintentional one night stand, the woman who snuck away comes back into his life when she receives a piece of his family history (a local perfume shop) as an inheritance. Damien’s Tante Colette has been doing this frequently of late and her gifts propel the action of the series.
Jasmin Bianchi, a top perfumer, may have had the Rosier shop fall into her lap, but it is exactly what she needs professionally and personally. She had an extremely tough year and although there was one possible bright spot, her intense night of emotional connection with Damien (which is not shared in enough detail before they jump to the more adventurous coitus), she panicked and fled. Essentially A Wish Upon Jasmine starts with The Big Misunderstanding that usually takes place much later in (hackneyed) romances and while I really liked the trope twist, the rest of novel didn’t work as well for me. Damien did everything short of setting himself on fire to make his intentions clear and she took forever to get it. Jasmin’s insistent obtuseness got very frustrating.
You can’t win them all and even with some bumps in A Wish Upon Jasmine, Laura Florand is still one of the best writers of contemporary romance publishing today. She is particularly good at portraying the intensity of emotional and sexual attraction, and I never get tired of her emotionally vulnerable heroes. Combined with the uber-romantic settings in Paris and the south of France, it’s a winning combination almost every time.
Addendum: In December 2015, after, presumably, reading my mind and those of my fellow readers, Florand added a bonus prequel called Night Wish to the story that describes Damien and Jasmin’s first night together before the events of the novel unfold. It was wonderful and had that deliciously romantic tone that Florand excels at. If it had made it into the longer book, I think A Wish Upon Jasmine would have been a more successful novel.