Title: The Chocolate Touch
Author: Laura Florand
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Release Date: July 30, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
From the book:
La Vie en Chocolat
Dominique Richard's reputation says it all--wild past, wilder flavors, black leather and smoldering heat. Jaime Corey is hardly the first woman to be drawn to all that dark, delicious danger. Sitting in Dom's opulent chocolaterie in Paris day after day, she lets his decadent creations restore her weary body and spirit, understanding that the man himself is entirely beyond her grasp.
Until he touches her...
Chocolate, Dominique understands--from the biting tang of lime-caramel to the most complex infusions of jasmine, lemon-thyme, and cayenne. But this shy, freckled American who sits alone in his salon, quietly sampling his exquisite confections as if she can't get enough of them--enough of him--is something else. She has secrets too, he can tell. Of course if she really knew him, she would run.
Yet once you have spotted your heart's true craving, simply looking is no longer enough...
Jaime, having survived something (we're not told immediately what she suffered, but we know it's big), is seeking refuge in the best possible way - in Paris, with chocolate. She is, quite literally, feeding her soul with the food and city of love.
Dominique Richard, a French chocolatier who has the toughest outer shell but softest underbelly you can imagine, notices her in his shop and feels what she's doing with his chocolate. He's immediately taken with her and wonders about her story - why is she feeding her soul with his creations? (We're all wondering it at this point - I needed to know, there was no way I was putting this story down until I found out.)
This story pulled me in - from the descriptions of Paris, as seen through a beaten yet hopeful spirit, to the surprising concoctions of chocolate Dom comes up with in his shop (which are true reflections of him as a character), this book had me wishing for a trip to Paris and some really good chocolate in hand.
The ending of this novel had me sighing a happy sigh, but also was a conclusion that was realistic, understandable, and rational. I am one happy reader. :)
This novel is WONDERFUL. It was my first Laura Florand book, and I did not look up her other novels before reading this one.
SPOILER ALERT (for those new to this author):
Jaime is an American heiress who spent time in the Ivory Coast trying to make things better for the farmers. She was brutally beaten and almost lost her life - that is why she's in Paris; her sister lives there with her husband, a rival French chocolatier (see "The Chocolate Thief"). Jaime struggles with what she wants - to go back and help those who need it - and the very real fear that she'll again be targeted for violence against her ways. Her internal struggle is so close to the surface, you can feel it pulse throughout the novel. It's behind her actions, her inactions, and her words.
Disclaimer: I was provided a digital copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.