Cade Corey knows chocolate. After all, her family has been making Corey chocolate bars for generations, making them a multimillion dollar company. But Cade wants more than her family’s standard bars of chocolate. She wants magical, exquisite, artisan chocolate – from Paris, France. When Cade across the Atlantic to convince Parisian chocolatier Sylvain Marquis to sign a contract with her company, she doesn’t anticipate his abrupt refusal, the way his chocolates crowd her senses, or the infuriating distraction of Sylvain himself. Sylvain is horrified at the thought of his name on Corey chocolate, but he’s intrigued by – and attracted to – Cade. From clandestine late-night break-ins to the irresistible lure of Paris, Cade and Sylvain discover that when chocolate is involved, anything is possible.
When one of my favorite authors recommends a book wholeheartedly, it’s a no-brainer: I read the book. Thus, taking the wonderful advice of Eloisa James, I picked up Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Thief and was happily rewarded with this slightly sweet, slightly bitter, altogether enticing novel. While Florand’s book is undeniably sexy, it also forces Cade and Sylvain (and, by extension, readers) to consider what in life is worth fighting for. For Sylvain, it’s his chocolate and his reputation. For Cade, it’s the chance to break free from her family’s expectations. They both soon find out that they’re also willing to fight for each other.
The Chocolate Thief charms and seduces readers with Florand’s precisely perfect details of Paris. Her descriptions of a deceptively simple walk down the street, or of Sylvain’s laboratoire, with its heady scents from around the world and rich chocolate tempered with pinpoint accuracy, draw readers in and make them feel as if they are in the room with Cade and Sylvain. These details go beyond conjuring up mental images; The Chocolate Thief is also highly sensory. While reading, I swear I could smell the chocolate in the shop, hear the clack of Cade’s boots on the cobblestone streets, and even feel the cold marble in Sylvain’s laboratoire. More than once, I found myself lost in the story, reluctant to leave.
“So why chocolate?” she asked.
It seemed like a silly question. Why did everybody else in the world not choose chocolate as a life path: that was the more logical question. How could they resist it?
Cade and Sylvain together are as volatile as untempered chocolate. The usually confident and unflappable Cade is left blushing and stammering by Sylvain’s easy arrogance and immediate refusal of her business offer, while Sylvain, completely unaware of his affect on women, is captivated by a woman who goes to extreme lengths for his chocolate. I loved how Cade kept fighting for what she wanted, refusing to give up on her dreams, even while she struggled with the weight of her responsibilities. Though it was frustrating at times to watch them willfully misunderstand each other time and again (did neither of them never think to just say what they really meant?), the slow, sensual pace of their relationship more than made up for their poor communication skills.
There are simply times when you need a book to make you feel good. Laura Florand’s The Chocolate Thief is one such book. Combining three of my favorite things – romance, Paris and chocolate – Florand’s novel is elevated beyond standard “chick lit” with its exacting details and mouthwatering descriptions of one chocolate concoction after another. Fair warning: you will want to eat chocolate (and good chocolate at that, however you choose to define good) when you read this book. Give in to that urge. Eat the chocolate, read the novel, and be happy.
[Photo Credit: Goodreads]