Once Upon a Rose
Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand was a mixed read for me. I’ve enjoyed many of the author’s books set in Paris; this story moves to a gorgeous part of southern France, the rose fields of a small valley. The heroine Layla is a burnt-out rising rock star. Unable to produce music for her next album, Layla takes advantage of an unusual inheritance and goes to the south of France to claim a house she mysteriously inherited. Lost trying to find the house, Layla stumbles into Matthieu Rosier’s home. Matthieu is the owner and heir to a hidden valley filled with roses. While they’re attracted to each other from the start, Matt is horrified when he discovers why Layla is there; he believes the home she’s inherited is rightfully his, and wants her to leave immediately. But he’s essentially a good guy – and very attracted to her– so Matt can’t stop himself from insinuating himself into Layla’s life.
The setting comes alive in the story as the characters visit numerous sites in the area. I felt I could smell the roses, see the sites, and definitely taste the wonderful food they eat. I enjoyed seeing this beautiful valley helping to bring Layla back to life. So why doesn’t this love story get a higher grade?
While I liked Matt and Layla, as well as many of the secondary characters, the dialog often felt repetitive. For example, Matt constantly thinks “she’s cute” and Layla constantly thinks, “He’s hot.” Over and over and over. For the most part, though, it was an enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up this next book in this series.