Review: The Chocolate Temptation by Laura Florand00:00
Author: Laura Florand
Date of publication: 15 Jan 2014
Genre: Romance / Paris / Chocolatier
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My rating: 4 stars
She hated him.
Patrick Chevalier. The charming, laid-back, golden second-in-command of the Paris pastry kitchen where Sarah worked as intern, who made everything she failed at seem so easy, and who could have every woman he winked at falling for him without even trying. She hated him, but she’d risked too much for this dream to give up on it and walk out just so he wouldn’t break her heart.
But he didn’t hate her.
Sarah Lin. Patrick’s serious, dark-haired American intern, who looked at him as if she could see right through him and wasn’t so impressed with what she saw. As her boss, he knew he should leave her alone. The same way he knew better than to risk his heart and gamble on love.
But he was never good at not going after what – or who – he wanted.
He could make magic out of sugar. But could he mold hate into love?
We met Patrick and Sarah in the previous book in this series, The Chocolate Heart (my review). We didn't get to see her much, but Patrick was strongly present and I really enjoyed his humour and the way his character relieved some of the tension in Luc and Summer's relationship. I was really excited when I heard that we'll be getting his (and Sarah's) story next.
As we go deep into the inner world of both Patrick and Sarah in this book, we see that there is a lot more to him than just good-natured fun and easy-going banter in the kitchen. He is a troubled hero, much like Luc and Dominique before him and he works hard to hide his true self from the world.
Sarah was a wonderfully complex character as well. She had an unusual background story which was slowly revealed and it justified her shy and reserved behaviour towards Patrick, as well as her determination and strong will to succeed in the kitchen.
Their relationship was further complicated by the fact that he was her boss and both were worried how their feelings would affect their work. The build up was rather slow, they tip-toed around each other for the longest time. At some point I wanted them to talk to each other already.
Their relationship helped them see themselves in a new light. There was this huge difference between who they thought they were and how the other saw them. Their relationship was truly life-changing for both of them. They faced their biggest fears in the name of love and ultimately found themselves and their happiness.
I really enjoyed the parallel events in their lives - she was an engineer who wanted to be a pastry chef, he was a top pastry chef who had dreamt of being an engineer all his life. It added another dimension to their relationship and it worked really well creating a sense of meant-to-be love.
The story is told with the characteristic sensual writing style of this series, though I struggled at times with the writing, too complex sentences, too many metaphors. Food and and desserts in particular were a means for the characters to express themselves, their feelings in the best possible way. I loved the fairytale metaphors int this story - the Cinderella's silver slippers had huge significance for Sarah both in her personal life and in her career, Patrick's interpretation of Prince Charming was one of the highlights of the story for me.
I have only two minor complaints about this book. The characters had great sexual chemistry which was very tenderly and emotionally presented. I really didn't like the scene with the bondage and the safe word. I felt it was out of place, I understand that it was connected with the issues of control and surrender which both Patrick and Sarah had, yet it felt awkward for me and in the end it didn't do anything for their relationship.
The other was the ending. It was a happy end in terms for the characters' relationship but it was a bit abrupt and left many unresolved issues. I would have loved to have an epilogue (just like in The Chocolate Heart) just to see how things work out between Patrick and Sarah in the real life after their fairytale begins.
I loved the idea of going after one's dreams, but also being able to change them while preserving who you are. This book offered an interesting study how to open you to someone, to give yourself to them without losing who you are. Love is wanting to help the other person achieve their dreams and including the other person in your own dreams, making a new dream for you two.
The romance in the story doesn't get better than this - Paris, the Opera, The Eiffel Tower. It can melt every girl's heart and it definitely melted mine and made me dream of visiting Paris with the love of my life.