Monday 20 July 2015

Cocktails at Le Carmen by Isabelle Andover (2015)

When job cuts at Chloe Saddler’s London communications firm result in an unexpected transfer to Paris, she finds herself leaving behind her friends, family, and boyfriend Scott to start a new life in the City of Light. Getting to grips with La Vie Parisienne and keeping a long-distance relationship afloat is not made any easier by the culture shock. Committing the odd French faux pas and inadvertently indulging in a few too many flirtations with her very sexy (and very taken) boss, Jean-Luc, is just the start of it. Factor in her bridezilla of a sister’s wedding (the hottest event of the year in the Saddler family’s social calendar), an unexpected session of hot, naked yoga, a slightly psychotic stalker, and one incredible kiss at an infamous Montmartre nightspot, and Chloe can say au revoir to her old, safe London life and bonjour to the romance, splendour, and glamour of Paris.

Light hearted, fun and entertaining. This is exactly the kind of chick-lit book I read when I was in my twenties. Now at the ripe old age of 35 I find that I still enjoy a humorous romp through the romantic entanglements of free spirited, adventurous and responsibility free singletons looking for the next love interest. The humour running through the book kept me entertained. I got a real sense of who Chloe was and it was obvious from the first chapter in which direction her relationship with Scott was going to end. Although it made a very entertaining read it took half of the book to get there. I felt that I knew more about Scott than I did about Jean-Luc. 

I found that I could relate to Chloe in some ways- the nutty siblings, parent woes, alcohol infused shenanigans and the inevitable hangover, the awful first dates, the endless wedding talk that goes on for a year before the event, even the ex in the bridal party was a familiar addition. Chloe seems to get through all of these tribulations with elegance and wit along with the help of a few cocktails. 
From the romance angle everything happens very quickly. Both Chloe and Jean-Luc jump from being friends to lovers in record time. Event the reader is privy to Chloe's thoughts and we know that she fancies the pants off Jean-Luc we never really see that initial spark and mutual attraction between them grow. I would have liked to see Jean-Luc grapple with the dilemma of being attracted to Chloe and having a girlfriend at the same time. But as Chloe quite frequently points out, he is French and that's what they do so maybe it wasn't really a dilemma at all. 
Although I lament the lack of depth I find that it is quite realistic in a way. Neither confess instant love for each other and there isn't a whirlwind wedding at the end. And when I think about it I'd quite easily hop from a guy like Scott to a new relationship with a ridiculously good looking French guy (or even a moderately good looking Inishowen guy who isn't an eejit). After all what more could a girl want? 

There is plenty of scope for a sequel and I hope the author, Isabelle Andover, has plans to continue with Chloe and Jean-Luc's story. Her writing style flows seamlessly and is sharp and witty.

Cocktails at Le Carmen is available in both print and ebook formats. 

AmazonUK  and other retailers.

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