He’s known as the bad boy of Paris’ chocolate world and he couldn’t care less what other people think. Dominique Richard is bold, brash, wild and unpredictable – just like his chocolate. But underneath all that outward bravado is a past with painful secrets, one he works hard to hide by not letting anyone get too close. Then Jamie walks into his shop. Jamie Corey has always had trouble with her last name and the expectations and wealth it comes with. She tried to find her own way and ended up in way over her head. In Paris to recover after a traumatic event, Jamie thinks Dominique’s chocolates might be able to help heal her. Neither of them realize that they’re about to help heal each other.
The Chocolate Touch is the fourth book in Laura Florand’s Amour et Chocolat series and, like the previous books, is filled with a mesmerizing blend of rich, sensual chocolates and a passionate, deeply satisfying love story, with the lines between the two blurred until you aren’t quite sure where one stops and the other starts. Once again, Florand works her magic and engages all of your senses when reading. With sharp, vivid descriptions, Dom’s chocolate laboratory – and Paris itself – comes alive. The scent of the chocolate, the touch of the cool marble tables, the sound of tools scrapping and, of course, the taste of one of Dom’s rich creations are all easily imagined with Florand’s words.
Here’s my confession about The Chocolate Touch: I was prepared to dislike Jamie and Dom. Part of me wanted to on principle, because I loved Sylvain and Cade’s story so much. And I thought I knew who these characters were, which is really arrogant and judgmental of me, considering we only get a few glimpses and impressions of Jamie and Dom in the previous books (and, more importantly, these come from other characters, who might not be the most reliable sources).
I was wrong. Florand made me love Jamie and Dom, in part because they are both so wonderfully imperfect. It would have been easy to make them into the people I assumed they were from the previous novels, but Florand takes her time and develops two wholly complicated and complex people, each with baggage and history weighing them down. There were times when I ached for Jamie and Dom because I wanted them to see themselves clearly, to see themselves without the cloud of the past hanging over. They both believe they are too broken and damaged for the other, so it was especially satisfying to watch them build a relationship together anyway, to try in spite of all the things that have happened – to have hope.
I also believe Florand deserves a lot of credit for creating believable, realistic – and therefore messy – family interactions. Jamie is a Corey and for her, that comes with all sorts of strings. I liked that Jamie’s relationship with her sister Cade wasn’t perfect or easy. Cade has her own opinions on Jamie’s life (and especially her relationship with Dominique), but Florand captures both the frustration between the sisters and their obvious love for one another. In The Chocolate Touch, Jamie isn’t always right, but neither is Cade. They both have things to learn from the other. Plus, as a bonus, the Grandpa Jack Corey and his chocolate-spinach obsession make an appearance, proving that Florand’s secondary characters are as delightful as her main couple.
A lot of the reviews for The Chocolate Touch and indeed the whole Amour et Chocolat series emphasize the need to read the books with chocolate readily available. And this is true – the story will make you long for chocolate. But The Chocolate Touch goes deeper than the previous novels and truly emphasizes a hard-won happiness for two people who had started to believe they didn’t deserve it. Jamie and Dom will break your heart – and then soothe it with some chocolate.
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