Series: Bistro La Boheme
Publication Date: June 2014
No. of Pages: 244 Pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Can a Paris bistro heal a broken heart?
Charm, wit and poignancy abound in this gripping contemporary romance.
Introverted heiress Lena moves to Paris to nurse old wounds reopened by her neglectful boyfriend. Enter Rob, a charismatic and handsome Frenchman who waits tables at La Bohème — a café on Lena’s street — and has big dreams.
He makes her laugh and forget her insecurities. She stirs something infinitely tender in his soul. Before they know it, they’ve fallen for each other, even though both had good reasons to fight the budding love.
But their passionate romance is cut short when she discovers his dirty secret…
WHAT IF IT’S LOVE? is the first book in the “Bistro La Bohème” series.
As the blurb above suggests, it is a love story that revolves around Lena, a heart broken female protagonist from Russia and a handsome waiter Rob at café La Bohème, in Paris. How they meet, fall in love, loose each other and find themselves and their lovers is the story with a happy ending.
What worked for me: I enjoyed the crisp writing style and it was an entertaining read. It kept me turning page after page. The best part of the book however were the translations of the poems of (a Russian poetess) Marina Tsvetaeva. They were refreshingly poignant and even touching at times. I liked how the author breathed life into secondary characters in the story and made them come alive, especially that of Jeanne. I loved how the author chose to make the heroine an heiress and an insecure girl looking for love unlike the stereotypes of them being uptight and arrogant. Lastly, the lean, mean twists in the story were passable for a chit lit and were adequate for the genre.
What did not work for me: All the emotions (of almost every character) seemed fleeting and none of them registered. They seemed too superficial to me. Some scenes logically didn’t make sense to me. For example the guy named Boris. If he has paid handsomely to get information, it would surprise me if he would let go of his informer that easily. At least he would give a physical or a monetary retort, to say the least. But here they shake hands and leave, which seemed artificial. Lastly, all the characters spoke logically and rationally without even contradicting one another or having a difference of opinion. There were in total agreement with one another’s rationale, with the single exception of Amanda. Both Robs and Lena’s parents act and talk very rationally in every scene. Not only have they, even the friends of the lead characters do the same. Their arguments and their too sympathetic attitude towards one another did not ground me in the characters and by the time I finished the book none of them stayed.
Conclusion: I am not a big fan of the genre. That said, it is a passable read.
“Can we be friends again?” he asked.
“So you think we were friends?”
She arched her brows. “And you think you can be friends with me and Amanda at the same time?”
“Can be a health hazard, what with all the sparks that fly.”
He grinned. “Never mind Amanda’s taunts. She’s like that with everyone.”
“Spiky. But she’s a sweetheart, once you’ve grown on her.”
“I wonder how I could ever accomplish that.” Lena smiled, a speck of sadness still lingering in her eyes.
He stared, mesmerized. He could never get enough of that smile.
A cloud hiding the moon must have shifted, because suddenly silver light poured over the terrace turning it into an enchanted place.
Lena gasped. “What happened to your hand?”
He followed her gaze and saw that the knuckles of his right hand were smeared with blood. Shit. He could bet there’d been none after he punched the wall.
He covered the abrasions with his other hand. “It’s nothing.”
She grabbed his wrist and yanked his hand closer to her face. “Have you disinfected them?”
Rob didn’t register her question. He looked at her delicate fingers holding up his hand. Then at her face. She was squinting at his hand, trying to assess the seriousness of his cuts. Her gesture was devoid of any erotic subtext. And yet the contact of her skin scorched him, just like when he held her hand at L’Espace. It stirred an impulse inside him that was both feverishly raw and infinitely gentle. It made his heart bump against his ribcage as if demanding to get out.
He gazed at her hands holding his. The urge to run his fingertips over her skin, from her nails down to her wrist and then inside her palm was too overwhelming to resist. . .
“So have you?” she asked.
Rob blinked and looked up. “Have I what?”
“It’s just a graze.”
“I have a disinfectant in my suitcase,” she said. “I can fetch it–”
And release my hand? “Stay,” he blurted out. Shit. “I mean, I also brought some, so you don’t need to bother.
I’ll disinfect as soon as I get back to my room. I promise.”
“OK,” she said softly and let go of him.
Alix Nichols is an avid reader of chick lit, romance and fantasy, caffeine addict and a badge-wearing Mr. Darcy / Colin Firth fan.
She lives and works in Paris, France. When not writing, she reads romance (what else?) and spends time with her family.
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