Review: Shadowed Heart by Laura Florand


Title: Shadowed Heart: A Luc and Summers Novel
(Amour et Chocolat #5.5)
Author: Laura Florand
Date of publication: 3 Dec 2014
Genre/Themes: Romance, French chocolatiers

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Add to Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 stars


Three words, to shake a man’s existence.

Three words, to call on all a man’s strength, all his courage, all his love, and all his ability to hope and dream…and trust.

Three words, to wake up every fear a man has ever had.

“I’m pregnant, Luc.”

Now how could a man be perfect enough for that?

Romantic Times calls Laura Florand's writing "sensuous and sumptuous", awarding her their Seal of Excellence and nominating her for Best Book of the Year, and NPR says it's "explosive, sensual . . . and utterly sweet".

Now in this sequel to The Chocolate Heart, Florand takes us into the heart of happily ever after with a story full of love, hope, and friendship. Struggling to get their new restaurant off the ground in the south of France, newly married top chef Luc Leroi and his wife Summer must face all their demons at the prospect of becoming parents. Fortunately, Summer's cousins and Luc's rival chefs join forces with the couple to prove that not even a top chef has to handle everything alone and happiness really can last ever after. 


Note: The blurb is rather vague and I'm afraid I won't be able to avoid some minor spoilers in my review. Furthermore, this is sequel to The Chocolate Heart, and I will be refering to some events and characters from that novel as well. 

I like romances about married couples especially ones involving pregnancy/children and I was excited to read this one. Luc and Summer are one my favourite couples in the series and I was happy that Ms Florand decided to continue their story after the Happily ever after.

We get the typical sensual and beautiful writing which is characteristic of Ms Florand's novels. The story flows gently, a bit slow at times, and it's overflowing with emotions as the characters struggle to keep up with the changes in their lives. 

Luc and Summer are trying to set up their new life as a married couple in Provence when an unexpected but very much wanted pregnancy adds yet another level of stress and anxiety to both of them. Both Luc and Summer have far too many issues/insecurities to deal with and as their natural reaction, they withdrew deep into themselves instead of talking. Their confusion, fears and deep desire to be there for each other and to be perfect parents (when neither of them had good role models for parenting) felt authentic and was easy to understandand relate to. Yet, I got frustrated with them for not taking to time to talk to each other. 

Even after they began opening more to each other, I felt that the big conflict came about because of a simple misunderstanding that could have been easily avoided.  

We see the whole gang of the Cade sisters and their French chocolatiers, Patrick and Sarah and some other chefs as well. A true of support for the new expecting couple. I enjoyed how the seriousness of the concerns of raising a child was coupled with lighthearted humor and sense of silent/unobtrusive camaraderie. Of course, much of the focus was on food which is generally a strong and ever present metaphor in this series. 

And the ending was perfect, full of optimism and totally looking forward to the future. I appreciate how Ms Florand didn't belittle or swept away the challenges in a perfect HEA. There will be struggles ahead for Summer and Luc, yet finally they are ready to face them together and to rely on the support of the people who care about them. 

I expected the story to cover a longer period and I was surprised that it was condensed in such a short time span. I was looking forward to seeing the couple further along in their family life. After thinking it over I realized that I had started this story with certain fixed assumptions related to the unexpected pregnancy trope in romance and while they were not (fully) met, I found the story enjoyable and refreshing. The depth of feelings and the way the character deal/fail to deal with their complex issues made a very engaging story. A recommended read for fans of the series!

Purchase link: Amazon

You Might Also Like


Flickr Images