Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: The Silk Romance by Helena Fairfax

From the publisher:
Jean-Luc Olivier is a devastatingly handsome racing-driver with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.

Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.

Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.

Sophie is finally getting it together. Although she still mourns the death of her mother, the rest of her life is moving in a positive direction. Her father is on the mend from the breakdown that resulted from the loss of her mother, and her younger brother’s musical talents are blossoming. Her meddling grandmother is no longer in a position to auction her off to rich young men. Best of all, her college tutor has presented her with an internship that could put her on the path to a career that allows her to rescue her family from poverty.

Then, she sees his picture. He’s the man who owns the company at which she will be working. He’s the man who will be her boss. And, it’s him. The smug grin that taunts her from the pages of this brochure is unmistakably attached to one of her grandmother’s parade of   bachelors. That smile belongs to a man she left in a hotel room four years ago, after lying to him about her own, non-existent engagement.

But, why was this famous race car driver working in a silk mill? And, why had he chosen her, of all people, to come and work for him? She doubted that a man like Jean-Luc Olivier, who changed women faster than he changed socks, even remembered her name. She knew it would be uncomfortable, but she had promised her mother that she would care for her father and brother, and opportunities like this one were few and far between.

Have you ever really wanted to dislike a character, but just could not do it? That is exactly the way I felt with this book. I wanted to find Jean-Luc pretentious and disagreeable. I was determined that he was going to be everything one would expect from a famous athlete with more money than he can handle. And, he is not without fault. But, he is so misunderstood. Behind the tabloid lies and the broad shoulders, Jean-Luc is actually a very loving and generous soul who only wants to do his job and live his life without caring what the media says about him. I liked him, immensely, in spite of myself.

I decided I would be angry with Sophie for falling into the trap of misunderstanding his motives when he extends kindness to her. But then, did I not do the same? She has to trust him before she can accept him for the man he really is, and how can she trust him when she has never known him as anything other than one of her grandmother’s potential suitors? How can she, a girl living in squalor, ever be accepted in his glamorous world?

Although their journey to each other seems to take no time at all once they are reunited, their romance flows at the perfect pace for them.  The book, itself, is so well-written and provides such an enjoyable story, that it flowed at the perfect pace for me, as well.

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Heather Head.

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  1. Interesting! I definitely know what you mean, when a character makes you like them when you're determined not to. They kind of hijack your feelings!

    1. I don't think you could have worded that any better, Monica. Yes, they hijack your feelings. Ugh! ;)