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All for You by Laura Florand

All for You

by Laura Florand

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A Laura Florand novel is much like visiting one of the chocolate laboratoires of which she writes: one knows that there will be sensuality and much to savor. Her latest novel, All for You, is no exception.

The story follows Celie and Joss who grew up in the same rough neighborhood and then went their separate ways, Celie as a chocolate maker and Joss in the Foreign Legion. The love story that unfolds between the two is sweet. Their misunderstandings are based on lack of communication, a very real difficulty in many relationships.

While this is a romance, one of several that Florand has written about Paris and the world of chocolate, one does not feel like one is reading the same story just with different character names. Celie and Joss are not like other of her characters who have come before. Their romance and their difficulties are their own. Their temperaments and their focus are their own. This is what in part makes it a worthwhile experience to read one of her romances. You know that you will be swept up in the rhythm and texture of her writing and explore something new.

I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  SaschaD | Apr 28, 2016 |
This is the start of another series and is connected to the Chocolate series, which I loved. I've now read some of Florand's trad published and self-published books, and I guess I just prefer the former. This has all of Florand's trademarks: alpha but not awful hero, relatively strong heroine, terrific atmosphere, and oodles of romance. But there is almost no plot. I mean, really no plot. Celie and Joss knew each other as teenagers in a Paris banlieue, Joss was Celie's no-good brother's friend, he looked out for her, she had a crush on him. Then he went off to join the French Foreign Legion and she pursued her dream of being a chocolatier. Five years later Joss is out of the Legion and tracks Celie down in Paris. She's thrilled to see him and angry that he didn't keep in touch. Joss went off to make himself into a better man for her.

So the two of them spend the novella coming together, bouncing back apart, saying how much they mean to each other, rehashing the past (complete with flashbacks), Celie loves Joss but hates him, Joss doesn't understand why she doesn't understand his actions, rinse repeat. It's well written, Paris is beautiful and the romance is romantic. But I guess I like to have more plot. Dominic and Jaime, from a previous book, are there to be the "magic couple" Celie models her dreams on and to provide wise counsel. If you liked them in their own book you'll probably enjoy seeing them again but I felt like I was in the middle of a Balogh series.

I think the word I'm looking for is claustrophobic. If you like reading books that have nothing but the romance going on, then this one totally works on that scale (and other readers have loved it). But I need to see the main characters doing something other than romancing each other. Yes, both here have jobs that are important, and that helps. But even their friends are only there to move the romance forward. Joss and Celie have work and each other. That's it. That's not my fantasy world, so I was left wanting more.

So, with Florand, I now know to stick to the trad published books, whose plots and supporting characters I've enjoyed a lot. ( )
  Sunita_p | Mar 6, 2016 |
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