Was this book over the top saccharine? Too much? Just enough?
I can't quite decide. I have lots of highlights. I enjoyed Laura Florand's writing, as usual. She's researched, and she is detailed. (In fact, it sounds like part of her research for this was in the late Laurent Jeannin's kitchen) I believe this level of detail really throws you into her books, and at the very least they don't feel lazy or shortcut. Her books are very sensuous, and this was no exception. I remember when I read the first (I think) in this series and how long it takes for the hero and heroine to actually meet and yet it was somehow still sexy as all hell.
Summer Corey hates desserts. Luc Leroi is a perfectionist who creates them. He puts pieces of his heart into those desserts, serving himself up on the platter. What resulted was a somewhat awkward, painful and ultimately kind of delicious story. Luc is a very controlled man, but we come to understand that is not the case around Summer. And Lord knows I love a hero who doesn't just take a quick fuck for his insta-love or insta-lust (both are apparent here, but they don't bother me). Luc is a made-from-nothing man with a steady foster parent and absentee, incompetent parents. He just wants love, and puts all his focus and passion into his craft. And dear lord, he tries. Which is lovely. He didn't let Summer get away because he makes little stumbles, reiterating that he'll try until he's perfect for her.
The issue of the story is with Summer. she is a big-hearted, seemingly spoiled brat who has suffered neglect and often comes off as emotionally immature. When Luc rejects her advances, her offers to buy a yacht upon first meeting, she's a bit bitter about it. She continually rejects his heart-on-a-plate desserts because "she doesn't eat desserts." She argues with her (clearly neglectful even if well-meaning) parents about giving her the hotel in a 3 month trial run to connect the island she lives and loves teaching at with a satellite for better connectivity. I don't know, I get it and it's manipulative but she's so indignant at the prospect of having to try something for her parents in exchange for something for her livelihood it comes across as...bratty...and entitled. And holy hell, she's frustratingly tone deaf in the neighborhood of Luc, which was aggravating. When he rejects her after she first kisses him (again he deserves more than a sliver of her time, according to him) she storms into the kitchen to publicly fire him, ultimately resulting in her threatening to fire two others who tell her she's out of line. This is not an ok scenario by any stretch, for any sex. Luc absolutely shrugs her off, and despite my anger and complete misgivings I continued to read. I mean, she embarrassed herself badly. He wasn't threatened, and I guess that's the only reason I could keep on.
In the end, the book was incredibly (maybe OTT) romantic, and despite trying to hate it for that plot point, I couldn't. The tenderness that followed did me in. There's a scene where she realizes he has been living on junk food that and she cooks for him. It was heartbreaking and so sweet when he realized she was and what it meant to him. Ultimately, it's the little things like this that make this book. While I can't quite get on board with Summer, someone who didn't understand her love and privilege in many ways, Luc's desire to have the love light up his life and his willingness to stubbornly pursue just that really made this book. He's not perfect, he's an arrogant, prideful sort, but I loved him.
3.5, rounded up because I appreciated the hurdles and the difficulties getting to coupledom despite the insta-lust/love. Not to mention what seems to be meticulous research.