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Friday, February 26, 2016

French Restoration by Sara Claridge

Recovering a memory breaks more than a heart.

Chantal Chevalier is determined to win the interior design contract for Chateau Vauquelin, if only to stop wealthy hotelier Alex Kirkwood from destroying its magical splendour and turning the place into a bland playground for the rich and famous.

Alessandro ‘Alex’ Kirkwood has put all he has into the success of turning the rundown chateau into a luxurious getaway just outside Paris. Son and heir to the Kirkwood Hotel Group, all eyes are on him - to either sink or swim.

When Chantal crosses his path instinct tells him not to get involved. Get rid of her, and focus on the end game. But something in the vivacious French interior designer calls to him.

As strange incidents at the chateau bring back memories Chantal has hidden away since she was a girl, Alessandro can’t help but be drawn into discovering the truth behind them.

I received a copy of this novel in return for an honest review

I want to start this review off by saying most of the writing was lovely. The setting and the characters were well thought out and written with love and depth.

 This novel wasn't quite for me however, which is a bummer as I love the romance genre. It wasn't that this wasn't a good book, because it did have all the things one needs for a decent romantic novel. Hot guy, sexy lady, intriguing setting, good writing and a fairly interesting plot line. I just, unfortunately, had a hard time getting into it.

 Here is the opening line, which I must admit drew me in:

In the dead of the night, Chateau Vauquelin stood cloaked in the shadows of the ancient forest that surrounded the country estate. The building’s beauty hidden like an old gem amongst antique paste jewellery—forgotten, abandoned, a little tired looking. Its past glory dimmed by decades of neglect.

Here is the last line, also  beautifully written:

Outside an owl hooted and took flight. Tranquillity reigned over Chateau Vauquelin once more, at least for a while.

Chantal is good character, especially when compared to the annoying twerp who took center stage in the monstrosity 50 Shades. I actually liked Alessandro, though at times he did the alpha male thing that I find repetitive in this particular genre. That aside he grows to care for Chantal and his character was well written.

I write erotica and I have be published in several online magazines, so when it comes to sex scenes I can be a bit over critical and had issues with how the author wrote hers, again my own personal preference.

I really enjoyed the use of the French language and culture in this novella. It brings an extra something to this book.  The ending was my favorite part, very "and they lived happily ever after" which in truth, why read a romance novel at all if that isn't the end goal?

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