The Chocolate Kiss is the second book in Laura Florand’s Amour Et Chocolat series. Featuring top chocolatiers in Paris, these books focus on hot guys who make delectable desserts. What’s not to like? I loved The Chocolate Thief, the first book in the series, so I dove right into this one after finishing that. The books don’t have to be read in order, they’re standalone stories since they’re about different couples although Cade and Sylvain (the leads in The Chocolate Thief) have cameos in this one. I would like to note that one of my favorite restaurants when I was in college was The Chocolate Kiss Cafe. If I was in Manila, I would have visited the place after reading this book.
Here’s the summary from Laura Florand’s website:
Welcome to La Maison des Sorcieres. Where the window display is an enchanted forest of sweets, a collection of conical hats delights the eye and the habitués nibble chocolate witches from fanciful mismatched china. While in their tiny blue kitchen, Magalie Chaudron and her two aunts stir wishes into bubbling pots of heavenly chocolat chaud.
But no amount of wishing will rid them of interloper Philippe Lyonnais, who has the gall to open one of his world-famous pastry shops right down the street. Philippe’s creations seem to hold a magic of their own, drawing crowds of beautiful women to their little isle amidst the Seine, and tempting even Magalie to venture out of her ivory tower and take a chance, a taste… a kiss.
In case I haven’t mentioned it often enough here on the blog, let me say this again: I love macarons. And the male lead in The Chocolate Kiss makes amazing, world-renowned macarons. Sigh, if only I could grab a bite straight out of the book’s pages. Philippe’s artistic creations seemed not only beautiful but deliciously mouth-watering as well. Same with Magalie’s rich hot chocolate, with wishes stirred in specifically for the person the drink is meant for. Magalie seems to know exactly what a person needs, be it courage to seize the day or strength of spirit to handle life’s burdens. With that idea as well as the name of their tea room, La Maison des Sorcieres (The Witches’ House), the whole novel has a whimsical touch to it that makes it feel more like magic realism instead of contemporary romance. It reminded me of one of my favorite books, Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells. Magalie was a character that I could easily relate to. She loves her little corner of Paris but has a hard time adjusting how the rest of the city makes her feel. So she arms herself with stylish outfits that make her feel stronger about facing the world outside their tea room. Here’s a passage that particularly resonated with me, I hope it’s not too spoilery to share it:
You couldn’t cure loneliness by wallowing in it, up above the world, on an island far removed from everything. She knew that. But she had such a hard time with all the cures. They seemed rough and brusque and brutal, as if they abused her skin with a pot scrubber, things like trying to go out with men she barely knew, or dancing in Paris nightclubs, or hanging out with friends in bars over in that world past the banks of the river.
She had been something of a party creature in her high schools, still was one to dance all night at New Year’s celebrations or weddings when she went back to Provence, but there was something harsher about dancing here, forcing herself into a mass of people, stranger among strangers. Occasionally, one of her friends from the university, the longest continuous friendship she had ever had, could talk her into it. But it was much more tempting to curl up with a book under her thick white comforter.
Still, sometimes after she curled up, she regretted her lack of courage and felt bleakly lonely.
It was important to have a really good book.
Yes, it’s really important to have a good book. The Chocolate Kiss can definitely be classified as one of those good books. I wouldn’t have minded giving up a night out with friends to stay in and read this novel. In fact, I did stay up later than usual to finish reading this, even though I had to get up early for work the next day. I thought the romance between Magalie and Philippe was done very well, there was obvious attraction between them that they kept denying so the tension just built up. I thought it was funny how they kept tempting each other with their specialties – Philippe with his macarons and Magalie with her hot chocolate – and how they both refuse to try and sample each other’s work even though everyone else is raving about them. It’s a symbol of how they can’t let the other person gain the upper hand by admitting that they even want a taste. And when they finally give in? Well, you just have to read the book and find out. Similar to The Chocolate Thief, I really enjoyed reading about the secondary characters in this story. I like how the romance isn’t just about the two leads but also about the people important in their lives as well as the work that they’re passionate about. Another excellent installment in Laura Florand’s romantic chocolate series. I think it’s pretty much a given that I’m excited to read The Chocolate Touch. Counting down the weeks until it becomes available.