Some crushes aren’t meant to be
When her older brother’s best friend left to join the Foreign Legion, eighteen-year-old Célie moved on to make a life for herself as a Paris chocolatier. Now, five years later, the last thing she needs is another man to mess up her happiness.
Let alone the same man.
But five years in the Foreign Legion is a long time for a man to grow up, and a long time to be away from the woman he loves.
Especially when he did it all for her.
Half strangers, more than friends, and maybe, if Joss Castel has his way, a second chance…
Laura Florand starts 2015 with a lot of firsts. Ever the prolific writer, the first book of her La Vie En Rose series, Once Upon a Rose was released earlier this year and she follows it up with All For You, the first book in her Paris Hearts series. Returning to the laboratoire of Dominique Richards (of The Chocolate Touch), what sets All For You apart from her other stories are the characters. Unlike the ladies of Amour et Chocolat, Celie is not born with privileges, neither did she grow up in two countries. She (and Joss, for that matter) is all French and born in the banlieue where situations forced them to learn to stand up for themselves and work hard. But as with all of Florand’s ladies, Celie is independent as hell and is determined to make her own stamp on the world.
Growing in the banlieue, Joss has always had a crush on Celie. But he is determined to be a better man before even going after her. Like clay, he felt unmoulded, without form. And when he (suddenly) joined the Foreign Legion, the difficulties he went thorough was like kiln, that hardened him and shaped him to become who is now, worthy of Celie. Or at least that’s what he thinks.
So when Joss returned (suddenly, again), all of Celie‘s pent up feelings about being left, without prior warning and without any communication come out to the surface. Dealing with it, they both struggle to learn to talk to each other. Celie trying to prove to Joss that she loved him then, and still loves him, regardless of whether he joined the legion or not. And Joss eventually understanding that he is worth something and maybe, his princess doesn’t need to be saved. Maybe, she wants to get out together.
All For You is a wonderful read, filled with Laura’s beautiful prose and symbolism, with just a hint of fairy tale to it. I love how it is told with a few flash backs from Celie and Joss about during the time they were separated. I also loved the touch with the postcards and how the simplicity of the words on it contrast the many emotions it conveys.
Special mention to Laura’s world building, if the term could be used in romance. She covers all her characters in all her series, weaving them together with the intimacy of family. I love, LOVE how she makes all her stories like a big cross over. In All For You, she offers a quiet promise of things to come for her other series, La Vie En Roses and at the same time, showing another side of her Amour et Chocolat characters where Dominique and Jaime literally light up the story with their support and love for Celie and, in extension, to Joss.
Once again, Laura shows how masterfully she writes, using words to convey feeling and awaken the senses. Once again, she introduces characters who I can closely relate to (hint: marrying your crush 😉 ) Celie and Joss are a great couple to add to her roster of characters. I couldn’t help but feel Celie’s frustrations and at the same time root for Joss (and give him a hug). With lots of heat and heart and crazy antics (imagine chocolate pouring over your head), The Paris Hearts series is off to a great start with it’s first book, All For You.
Laura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have appeared in ten languages, been nominated for Reviewers Choice Best Book of the Year, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Four of her past five books have been recommended reads by Dear Author and two have been Sizzling Book Club Picks by Smart B*, Trashy Books.
Laura was born in a small town in Georgia, but the travel bug bit her early. After a Fulbright year in Tahiti, a semester in Spain, and backpacking in New Zealand and Greece, she ended up living in Paris, where she met and married her own handsome Frenchman. You can find out quite a bit more about those crazy adventures in her memoir, Blame It on Paris. She is now a lecturer in Romance Studies at Duke University. Contrary to popular opinion, that means she studies and teaches French language and culture, rather than romance. Fortunately, French culture includes French chocolate, research to which she is very dedicated. You can catch some glimpses of that research in the books, on her blog, and on her Facebook site, where you are welcome to join her and other readers!