The Chocolate TouchAuthor: Laura Florand
Series: Amour et Chocolat #4
Release date: July 30th 2013
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository | iBooks | Kobo
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La Vie en Chocolat
Dominique Richard's reputation says it all—wild past, wilder flavors, black leather and smoldering heat. Jaime Corey is hardly the first woman to be drawn to all that dark, delicious danger. Sitting in Dom's opulent chocolaterie in Paris day after day, she lets his decadent creations restore her weary body and spirit, understanding that the man himself is entirely beyond her grasp.
Until he touches her. . .Chocolate, Dominique understands—from the biting tang of lime-caramel to the most complex infusions of jasmine, lemon-thyme, and cayenne. But this shy, freckled American who sits alone in his salon, quietly sampling his exquisite confections as if she can't get enough of them—enough of him—is something else. She has secrets too, he can tell. Of course if she really knew him, she would run.
Yet once you have spotted your heart's true craving, simply looking is no longer enough. . .
The GingerSnap’s review
I love chocolate. I love Paris. I read the first book in this series and didn’t hate it. That means I should’ve at least found this book tolerable, right? Wrong, friends, wrong. I hated this book so much that I had to bribe myself with banana bread to actually finish it (“You can only get another slice of banana bread if you get to 75% first”, I told myself).
This book tells the story of Jamie (Jamie? Which is her real name? Unsure, since it switches in the book) Corey, who has come to Paris to recover from injuries sustained during her humanitarian work with fair trade cacao farmers, and Dominique Richard, one of Paris’ best chocolatiers and a perpetual grouch who takes an immediate liking to Jame/ie when she sits silently in his cafe for days in a row, sampling and savouring his confections.
What makes this book so unreadable are Jame/ie and Dominique’s frustratingly trope-y personalities. Jaime/ie is of the trope we all know and hate so well: petite, fragile, “at the best times…small and kind of silly”, convinced that with her “ordinary looks” she’s too ugly to ever be loved and that the only way she’ll ever get a man is by flaunting her substantial wealth. Dominique is the classic, toxic alpha male who gives all other amazing alpha males a bad name; he’s a large, muscular, fierce, violent man who is insanely overprotective of Jaime/ie even before they’d had a proper conversation together, and is so controlling over her that he basically has a major freak out the one night that he and Jaime have to spend apart. Dominique is also obsessed with overstepping Jaime/ie’s boundaries, pestering her to turn the lights on while they have sex despite her self-consciousness about her scars. It’s her body! She should be able to choose who sees it and who doesn’t, but of course, domineering Dominique is having none of that.
Consequently, I am not here for the HEA between these two characters. I want to sit them both down and have a serious conversation about where their lives were headed, not see them ride off into the proverbial sunset after a month of knowing each other, during which time Dominique doesn’t even know Jaime/ie’s last name!
I also find it really toxic that Jaime/ie’s family members are constantly trying to convince her to stop gallivanting around the world and helping people because the places she goes to are so dangerous for a young, fragile girl like herself. This just supports the stereotype that any country outside what we consider “The West” is unsafe to live in, which is a racist point of view that I would really love to stop encountering.
Other points of frustration include: the first time Jaime/ie and Dominique have sex, the book describes him “making love to her”, as though she has no participation in the event. Even more troubling is the mention of Dominique making love to Jaime/ie as she falls asleep. While the chapter with Jame/ie’s point of view of this situation implies that this was consensual, I still find it troubling, especially since she’s recovering from serious injuries, and the all-night sex fest leaves her sore and aching the next day.
Essentially, this book is a bag full of destructive tropes and points of view, and the mentions of tasty chocolate creations do not, in any way, make up for Dominique’s desire to save Jame/ie because she’s a fragile and small, Jame/ie’s disturbing self-deprecation, the Corey family’s racism and othering, or the completely unrealistic and unbelievable chemistry between Jame/ie and Dominique, which I do not for one second buy into. Don’t read this book!
I would recommend this book to…
No one. Please do not waste any of your precious reading time on this book.