Tag Archives: La Vie en Roses Series

Paris Nights Series: All for You by Laura Florand

Five years ago, Joss Castel* left Celie and everything he knew behind to join the French Foreign Legion. He wanted to be more for her, better, to lay the foundation of a life together outside the tenements they had grown up in. The only problem is that he did not tell Celie any of this. Joss held himself in a self-made friends-only space until they could start their a life in a new place. He was her closest friend and the person she adored. All Celie knew was that the man she loved abandoned her and didn’t come back for five years. In his quest to be more for Celie, Joss broke her heart. Now 28 years old to Celie’s 23, he’s back to lay his accomplishments at her feet. She still loves him, but that feeling is constantly at war with her need to brain Joss for his surprise departure and sudden return.

All for You showcases once again Laura Florand’s ability to write enjoyable, thoroughly escapist contemporary romance. While her books often feature down-to-earth billionaires, a trope I am not fond of (but which Florand manages to pull off), this outing has two people from the wrong side of the tracks who are determined to build better lives for themselves. Celie took a teenage apprenticeship with a local baker and through her hard work and desire to excel now works for one of Paris’s premiere chocolatiers. It’s into this shop that Joss bursts back into her life. Celie is overwhelmed and angry, but so happy to see him she doesn’t know what to do with herself.

Joss and Celie’s reunion and the timeline of the book is actually quite condensed. From beloved, to “Idiot”!,  back to beloved takes place over a short period, but includes enough flashbacks for context and some excellent, writhing, repressed smolder to keep things moving along. A might fortress is our Joss, so it’s a one-step-forward-two-steps-back romance until everyone comes to their senses and he learns that Celie wants the journey with him more than she wants the destination. Florand is generally very good with couples experiencing communication problems and, while it frustrated me and went on a bit, Joss really is a prisoner of his own reserve, Legion-trained stoicism, and good intentions. Despite this, while he may be a military man to his core now, he is free of the annoying romance writer’s crutch of PTSD.

Blissfully, my favourite couple from Florand’s L’Amour et Chocolat series novel, The Chocolate Touch, are on hand to provide guidance to the couple and doses of their own adorability. Still madly in love, Dom continues to be a giant lug and much fun is had teasing him for referring to Jaime as his “wife” despite lacking the official and legally binding piece of paper indicating this. Incorporating previous characters without letting them dominate is a challenge that many romance writers face and Florand does well with it. I wanted more of Dom and Jaime, of course, but then I always will.

All For You crosses over with the L’Amour et Chocolat series and will be crossing over with the La Vie en Roses series as well.

*Fun Aside: Josselin Castle

A complete summary of Laura Florand’s catalogue, including recommendations, can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful which includes the aforementioned observations.

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La Vie en Roses Series: A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand

As mentioned in my other reviews of her books, Laura Florand builds on fairy tales in her works and this one was no exception. Sometimes, I can’t quite tell which story she is referencing, and truth be told it doesn’t matter, but in this case it was Little Red Riding Hood. I know because it is quite explicit and Florand didn’t manage to tone it down as much as she did in other stories. At some point, I am going to have to make a list of what the allusions are, but I think I’ll need to brush up on my mythology first.

The first novella in Florand’s La Vie en Roses series, the reader is introduced to all the heroes yet to come and to the first match among them – Raoul and Allegra. He is the ex-pat son, recently returned to Provence from running the family business in Africa and she is a PhD student in immigration patterns studying the effects of local industry (perfume) on populations. She picks up vulpine Raoul in a bar and, wrapped in her red cloak, brings him to her home where she tells him that she doesn’t want to feel safe. After a toe-curling night together, the morning after falls apart and the two have to fight through their misconceptions to start a proper relationship.

You would think that the fantasy is that a one night stand will turn into a long-term relationship, but that is always possible, to me the true wish-fulfillment element of the book is that taking home a stranger twice as large and stronger than you could be something safe to do. However, everyone takes stupid risks in life and they can pay off just as this one does for Raoul and Allegra.

A Rose in Winter quite simply isn’t up to the same writing standard as the other Florand books I have read, even the one I didn’t like. I read it for free and back list completion purposes, but she has other, better books that I recommend highly for satisfying escapism. A complete summary of Laura Florand’s catalogue can be found here.

Romance novelist godhead Kathleen Woodiwiss also has a book called A Rose in Winter which for many years contained my favourite hero. I suspect there are other similarly titled books between that and this one, perhaps I should make a study.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Laura Florand’s Catalogue

Themes: Sincere love gives you the courage and freedom to embrace your true self and someone else’s.

EXCLUSIVELY CONTEMPORARY ROMANCES

L’Amour et Chocolat Series:
All’s Fair in Love and Chocolate – prequel novella, great steam, quick, fun read
The Chocolate Thief – Pretty good, it took me from 99 cents on Kindle to the complete series.
The Chocolate Kiss – A great fairy tale that made me forgive the metaphor.
The Chocolate Rose – Excellent passion, needed just a hint more love story. Very good.
The Chocolate TouchOne of my top 5 of all time, really sweet and intense. LOVE IT.
The Chocolate Heart – The weakest of the group.
The Chocolate Temptation – Steamy, not quite as great, but still enjoyable.
Shadowed Heart – novella follow-up to The Chocolate Heart, meh, but features visits with EVERYONE

Snow-Kissed – Somber novella of a couple finding their way back to each other after loss
Sun Kissed – novella – Main characters in their 50s, which is nice, but I read it for visits with everyone else.

La Vie en Roses Series:
Turning Up the Heat (Daniel/Lea) – prequel novella
A Rose in Winter (Raoul/Allegra) – prequel novella –  Florand can and has done better
The Chocolate Rose (Gabriel/Jolie) – prequel novel I *really* like
Once Upon a Rose (Matt/Layla)  – fun, great light escapism
A Wish Upon Jasmine (Damien/Jess) – not her strongest, it had a lot of promise
A Crown of Bitter Orange (Tristan/Malorie) – not memorable, he’s charming, see above
A Kiss in Lavender (Lucien/Elena) – good, recommended

Paris Nights Series:
All for You (Joss/Celie) – Florand in fine form PLUS Dom and Jaime appear
Chase Me (Chase/Violette) – enjoyable, fantastic banter
Trust Me (Jake/Lina) – Good, not great