(Image from author's website)
As an American in Paris, Chastity Whitmore finds herself charmed on a regular basis. Just not by Viscount Charles Jean Anne Monorie de Brase. The arrogant aristocrat thinks he can walk all over people just because he's wealthy, influential, and—okay, she'll admit it—dashing. Chastity refuses to let herself fall under the viscount's spell. As his son's English teacher, she's more concerned about Louis de Brase, especially since the boy seems to be ignored by his important father. When the viscount pooh-poohs her concerns, Chastity is outraged. Just who does the man think he is?
It's not until a tragedy brings them together that Chastity gets a peek beneath the viscount's slick veneer. At the same time her impression of Charles is changing, she's becoming increasingly worried about Louis. The teenager has gotten himself mixed up in a dangerous trade with men more vicious and calculating than he can possibly imagine. Can Chastity convince the viscount to act in time to save his son?
The closer Chastity gets to Charles, the more attracted to him she becomes. She knows a romance between them could never work. With her ex-boyfriend begging her to get back together, she's confused. Chastity wants to do what's best for herself and her young son, but what is that? Her heart's already been shattered once—is she willing to give love another chance? Or will she remain forever alone in the world's most romantic city?
The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte by Jennie Goutet is a modern love story with a strong Regency influence. Although it deals with contemporary issues, at its heart the novel is a sweet, clean romance about two people with broken hearts who find healing in each other. My favorite part about the book, in fact, is its hopeful overtones. While the love story at its core doesn't offer anything unique, I do wish the plot had focused more keenly on the romance, less on drug dealing, art heists, and nefarious Parisians. Too many subplots make the tale feel chaotic and melodramatic. Still, I remained interested in the story throughout. Yes, I wanted stronger characterization. Yes, I longed for a more atmospheric setting. Yes, I would have liked a tighter plot. On the whole, though, The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte provides a pleasant, uplifting read that will be appreciated by those who enjoy clean, predictable romance in which two deserving people finally get their longed-for happily ever afters.
(Readalikes: Hm, I don't read a lot of romance. Ideas?)
If this were a movie, it would be rated:
for violence and depictions of illegal drug use/drug dealing
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of The Viscount of Maisons-Laffitte from the lovely and generous Jennie Goutet. Thank you!