Why did I want to read this book?
So, throw me everything Laura will ever write and I will read it. ONCE UPON A ROSE has been one of my most anticipated reads for 2015 and to say that I was beyond excited to dive into the world of the Rosiers is an understatement of the century.
What worked for me?
I’m just going to go right out and say that this book is now included in my favorite Laura Florand books, right beside The Chocolate Touch, the The Chocolate Temptation, and The Chocolate Rose.
There are so many elements to love about this story and while I might ramble from here on, please know that I love this book to the moon and back and I just wanted to be able to get that across to you guys so you’ll want to read this one too (if you haven’t still) or you’ll join me in fangirling about Matt and Layla (if you’ve also fallen in love with them).
Matthieu and Layla might look like characters you’ve already read about but I dare you to compare them to other characters. lol 🙂 They’re as unique as they come. And I guess I can say that about all of Laura Florand’s characters. You’ll never meet anyone quite like them.
Matthieu Rosier is heir to and ‘lord’ over the family’s valley of roses. And in him are those mixed emotions of pride at the bountiful harvest of flowers that they produce and the burden of responsibility that weighs down on his shoulders. It was so interesting and magical (and admittedly pretty funny) to be inside Matt’s head. His thoughts are just too adorable and too sweet and yes, occasionally heartbreaking, that even though he’s a big guy, you’ll just want to bring your arms around him and wrap him in a big, warm hug. Layla’s arrival into his life, both as an interloper and as somebody he was extremely attracted to, wreaked havoc to his personal life as well as the dynamics among the family. It was such a wonderful journey to just be on.
Layla Dubois thought she’s hit the limit and the blackest of dead-ends of her creativity. She’s burnt out from all the demands in her career and she’s afraid that the right music and the right words would just continue to elude her. The discovery of her sudden and unexpected inheritance was just the perfect break for her to find her voice and her music again, so to speak. But then Matthieu Rosier happened and things did not go the way she expected. It was just amazingly sweet how Layla found herself feeling the most at ease with Matt, not in the beginning of course. But over the course of their ‘acquaintance’, she found that she can be herself the most whenever she’s with him. And I just love that particular part of her relationship with him (among other things, ahem…).
The Rosier cousins were also a sight to behold. I’m sure I’ll just swoon if you put them in front of me all at the same time. They’re such a hoot and a lot of my laugh-out-loud moments while reading this book include their banters, their teasing, and their one-liners. And I can’t wait for the rest of them to get their own stories.
Laura Florand continues to amaze me with her writing. If you haven’t read her books yet or if you haven’t loved her writing yet (why not?), I’m positive that reading this book will turn you into a believer. I think this is one of her best books, especially in terms of her writing. I was so happy that she managed to take parts of her plot that initially felt as if they were going in a predictable direction and turn them into something surprising, something great, and something completely unique. And can I just say how happy I was with these developments.
And last but not the least, I would like to make an announcement. I think Laura Florand is the Queen of Symbolism. I just love how she creates and weaves them into her story, into the very characters that she create, from the Valley and hearts to kites and roots, from the simple act of folding the arms over one’s chest (I’m looking at you, Matthieu) to feeling absolutely free to be yourself and not hide (hello there, Layla). I can’t even… you just have to read the book in order to appreciate the magical way that Laura wrote this one.
These are just some of the many, many beautiful passages in this book.
Her expression softened a little, a rare thing for Tante Colette. “You know, Matthieu, a valley is a very big thing to be. But you’re human. So you’re much more than that.”
She reached across the table and covered his other hand, too. “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way,” she said slowly. “Because I agree with your aunt, that a human is bigger than a valley, and you have feet, and you can walk out of it if you want to. You even have a brain capable of building wings and flying, if you want to be a kite. But I like that about you, the way four hundred years of history and five million tons of earth were put on your shoulders and you said, ‘Yes, I’m strong enough for that.'”
He fell–just this strange, internal trip of his soul right over a rock it hadn’t expected and then, flip, sailing, falling, down toward this great, great space that opened out below.
He didn’t fall really hard, that was the strange thing. So big and so used to the solid harness of the earth–he fell like floating.
What did not work for me?
Not a thing. This was another book-gasm read for me from Laura.
My over-all take on it?
This is another great book from Laura Florand. It’s the beginning of another series and while there are no arrogant and yet charming chocolatiers in here, the Rosiers are definitely giving them a run for their money as swoon-worthy heroes. Matt and Layla’s story will leave you breathless, happy, and a little bit (or a whole lot) in love. I can’t wait for the next books. More, Laura. Just, more! 🙂
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.
Laura Florand is the international bestselling author of the Amour et Chocolat series (The Chocolate Thief, The Chocolate Kiss, etc). Her books have been translated into seven languages, 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!
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Other prequel books in the La Vie en Rose series:
More Laura Florand on the blog: