For full disclosure, I received this advance reader copy from the author, Anne Ivory for The Frenchman’s Reluctant Surrender.
Iris Falconer is the daughter of Arthur Falconer, a large business owner (Falconer Asset Management). Her overbearing father asks that she try to impress a businessman Jeanluc DeLeon in hopes of getting his business. Iris reluctantly agrees to meet the Frenchman and when she meets him, sparks fly. Now, he is chasing her to be his mistress, but all she wants is his heart.
It has been a long time since I have read a contemporary “harlequin” type of book. Reading this book brought so many fond memories of my teenage years and hiding under the covers with a flashlight to stay up late reading. I can remember the weekends where I read about the high-flying stories of rich businessmen and young socialites. This is a stand-alone book, the first novel by author Anne Ivory. Sometimes, it is nice to try a different type of book for a change of pace.
Iris Falconer has tired of living with her controlling father and moves out, starting a florist boutique with her friend Alex Daniels. She is a daughter who is always seeking her father’s approval and can rarely say no to him. After her father asks to charm Jeanluc, she responds:
“Right,” Iris replied walking over to pick up her things. “—then I’d say, you’re on your own. I do love you, Dad, but I’m not remotely interested in your little schemes. I should have known there was a selfish reason when you asked me up here.”
This illustrates her attempt at independence, but unfortunately she falls short. I think we can always identify with a character, and we can certainly always wish for a better relationship with our parents. In this story, both father and daughter struggle to reconnect after Iris’s mother’s recent death. How often do we try to emulate what we think our parents want us to be?
And this brings me to my first problem that I have with this character. She seems fairly responsible, her business is a success, she is a strong female when it comes to business, but she seems unable to hold her own in her relationships. She meets Jeanluc and the chemistry between them is electric and he woos her to have sex. And slight spoil here, she becomes pregnant. My problem? It seems to me that protecting myself during sex would be number 1 on my list of “oh shoot!” moments. I suppose this illustrates how passionate both Iris and Jeanluc , but it just demonstrated to me how irresponsible they both are. But I just could not help but feel that this book felt dated into the 1980’s romances that I read as a kid.
I have four words for you regarding this man, “he is an asshole.” Arrogance is a funny thing. You might know a man who is self-confident and knowledgeable, yet there is something about him that is endearing. Well, this is not that man. Jeanluc is really the most self-centered person that I have read in a novel. From the first meeting:
Though flamboyantly dressed in a fitted steel grey suit and a stylish grey and fuchsia tie, he still emanated an unmistakable energy, an instantly recognizable powerful image that summed him up in one glance: confident, arrogant and not to be toyed with.
Now, that being said, we do learn a lot about his childhood and much of what he has been through has influenced his attitude. I do not want to spoil the reason, so I will not go into it here. However, there was nothing charming in him at all and I found it difficult that she would have fallen in love with him. Although I will admit that his French accent was pretty damn sexy.
To me, this book is about family. In both cases of Iris and Jeanluc, their blood relatives are not the typical, lovable supportive families. Both of them are in need for someone who can love them for who they are, not what they can do for the other.
I really enjoyed the scenery description when they are in France. It made me wish to jump in a plane and visit Europe. For example:
Bubbling fountains made water music while birds chirped noisily hopping in and out of shallow water basins. There by the fountain was an old stone bench and they finally decided to take a breather.
In fact, there were often times when there were word descriptions that sounded very British, rather than American. It really helped keep me in the story when we got to the dialogue with Jeanluc and his sexy accent.
What could be better?
When I said that this reminded me of the Harlequin books I read as a teenager, it also means that it had the same depth. While the author does an excellent job of letting us know why Jeanluc is the way he is, there is not enough time for character development. He seems to be an ass all the way up to the end and then he magically changes his mind. I would have liked a bit more character development. I somehow felt that this book fell into the “tropey” realm when dealing with the plot and character development.
I struggled between a 2 and a 3 star for this book. The reason that I leaned toward the 2 was that there were some editing errors that distracted me from the story at times. So I decided that a 2.5 is more of an accurate score and just rounded up here.
I should stipulate that I do not often read this type of romance book, tending to read longer paranormal books. However, if you are looking for a quick light read, then this book is for you.