Christmas Reunion in Paris by Liz Fielding
A meeting in a Paris hotel room is a new beginning, but also a significant reminder of the past. James Harrington is a celebrity chef with a Michelin starred restaurant and a family heritage of one of the best hotels in London. Chloe is working as a housekeeper in the hotel. From the moment that their eyes meet in the reflection in a huge window, they both instantly realise that fate has brought them together once more. The question of what they will do in the future is wrapped up in what has happened in the past. This is a romance which is more than simply two people meeting in different circumstances, more a case of an ongoing story of love in trying family circumstances. Set against the background of Paris in the tourist sites, but also the less well known parts of the city, this is a book which fits in a good sense of place amidst the narrative. Chloe and James are very effective and well drawn characters who have to fight against strong opposition as well as their own emotions to reach a conclusion. This is a romance with some strong themes of family pressure and circumstance which made this a good read. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book.
The book opens with the fateful meeting in the hotel room, from which Chloe flees. James spares no effort in tracking her down, only to discover her in a terrible apartment. Their reunion is torrid, and leaves James assuming that he can take care of Chloe who has obviously turned her back on everyone she once knew. Chloe however is reluctant to become involved with a man who she once knew, but has moved on from in every way. As secrets are revealed and memories are revived, James becomes determined to sweep Chloe back to London and make her part of his life once more. She has been deeply traumatised by events which occurred when she was a teenager which were out of the control of either one of the couple, and cannot allow herself to be swept up into easy solutions. James knows about many of these traumatic events, but struggles to understand their effects on a woman he has not seen for several years.
This book on the surface is a contemporary romance set in Paris and the environs in which expensive meals and cookery are discussed. It has its moments of passion, and two main characters who are interesting and well drawn. It also makes some interesting points about the vulnerability of young women to family pressure, and the after effects of the trauma parents can inflict. Chloe emerges as a strong minded and independent young woman who is reluctant to be swept away by emotion and the offer of an easy life. James is slower on the uptake when assessing what she truly wants, partly because he too has memories of difficult times in his life. This is a well written romance with some nice touches and a good backstory, though handled with a light touch. I enjoyed the French setting and the observations on good food. I recommend it to fans of contemporary romance with different themes.
This book has “Christmas” in the title, but is not limited to the festive time of year. Some books which refer to Christmas are on sale quiet early, and cover a longer period of time. This is one of them, and is very enjoyable.