The Chocolate Touch (that skinny dude is so NOT Dominique Richard! I do so miss those enormously charming silhouettes paired with the bright blue and pink of the previous The Chocolate Thief and The Chocolate Kiss), I must admit to absolutely adoring the contents contained within the packaging. I've thoroughly enjoyed all of Laura Florand's previous novels but The Chocolate Touch pretty much killed it for me. Killed. It. Too soon you say? Well, read on...I'll clue you in as to why.
Every single day for the last week, Dominique Richard has caught glimpses of a unusually frail looking woman sitting in his exclusive Parisian chocolate shop nursing a cup of chocolat chaud while sampling one of his unique creations. Intrigued with her unusual quietness and general willingness to simply sit and enjoy his chocolates, Dominique finds himself wanting to get to know her. But at the same time, believing his natural aggressive nature would not be attractive to this quiet lady, makes plans to slowly charm her into looking not quite so...bruised. Even if the mysterious lady in question is sure Dominique couldn't possibly be interested in her, especially if he were to discover all her secrets.
I cannot say enough about Ms. Florand's deft hand at setting a scene, at creating tension, and in general at pairing two so very different individuals in one of the sweetest love stories I've come across in a long time. So often I found myself grinning like a fool or worried for the results their mutual stubbornness. Yes, Dominique and Jamie both have their complicated...issues...but they just complement each other so well. Their relationship is so out of the norm for both of them but it just works period. She's in need of some rebuilding and he's never had the implicit trust that Jamie is so willing to give. Although in this readers opinion, basically the best thing about both characters is their honest desire to simply do right by the other. That's enough right there to make this girl swoon. And then there's this small fact that the man specializes in dark chocolate. Oh boy. Talk about dreamy.
Nor is Ms. Florand afraid to dive headfirst the messiness of family dynamics in The Chocolate Touch -- which I will be forever grateful for. Jamie and her older sister fully captured my interest with their obvious love and fierce instinct to protect one another despite their myriad differences. Jamie's save-the-world mentality was such a wonderful foil to her sister's I'm-in-control-here demeanor. Of course, even more satisfying had to be watching Dominique trying to navigate those dangerous waters when he not only meets Jamie's sister, but her overprotective father, and prying grandfather (who is probably one of my favorite secondary characters. Ever.). Those scenes proved to be ever so hilarious yet also thrillingly sweet. Perhaps even more fabulous was how Ms. Florand allowed so many strong characters in one scene without ever overwhelming the other while still staying true to their own nature. That's no small feat and only added to The Chocolate Touch's addictive nature in the best possible way.
Now. If you still need some convincing, head on over to Laura Florand's site and read the first chapter of The Chocolate Touch to whet your appetite. It's all kinds of perfect.
The Chocolate Touch will be released July 30th.
series reading order:
~ The Chocolate Thief
~ The Chocolate Kiss
~ The Chocolate Touch
Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
book source: review copy from the author