#Overwhelming- The Frenchman by Leslie Young


The Blurb reads,

Fleur Smithers rarely veers off the straight and (excruciatingly) narrow. So moving to the seaport town of Toulon to live with her newfound biological mother—an inspector with the French National Police—for one year is a pretty major detour.

Son of France’s crime royalty family and international rugby star, Louis Messette, is devoted to his sport, famille and nothing else. But the carefree American he meets one night changes everything. She sparks a desire in him like no other. Possession takes root. She will do as he commands.

Bit by bit Fleur slips into the Frenchman’s realm of wanton pleasure agreeing to his one condition: that she keep their affair secret. She serves up her heart without reservation in the hub of the glittering Côte d’Azur, and the along the soulful Seine in Paris, unaware of the danger she is in. For her new lover’s family business will pit her against her mother, the police woman sworn to bring down the Messettes. And by then, far more than Fleur’s heart will be on the line.

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I’ve been very judgemental about reading romances in the past. I had a very cynical view of romances in general and how they tended to corrupt your mind. It’s got something to do with how I was raised and the sort of view I took of the world. That happy endings came only in movies and the like. I’m not a pessimist, just a tad so in terms of romance.

Things changed for me when I met my special someone and slowly, he converted me into a believer. I found myself smiling often, and as we read, I felt true hope. Somewhere. It has been a wonderful journey and I long for more.

The point I’m making is, that I realised I didn’t get anything by being judgemental or editorial about romances. They are all fundamentally the same, they touch people’s lives and make them look at life a little more brightly.

I didn’t have much of a charitable thought for this book because there were elements that I deeply resented. But then I just finished reading another romance by Barbara Freethy and it made me somehow soften my view.

My original review tended to rant at how much of an asshole Louis was. I hate men who are possessive and controlling to the T because I like to wiggle my own toes when I like. Besides, I want the relationship to be balanced. And I detested everything Louis was.

Let me explain:

Louis follows Fleur. He dominates her completely. He dictates where they go, what they eat. He calls all the shots.

I’m not entirely over Louis and what a big asshole he is. But I can stretch myself to understand his love for Fleur. It was evident he tried to control his love and failed.

Fleur IS the highlight of this book. She is light. She is innocent. She looks at the world thinking nobody can do wrong. And somehow when you read about such characters who take life in such a positive way, it reminds you that at some point of time, you looked at life with rose tinted glasses too.

Fleur is the lifeblood of this book. She runs, she laughs and she discovers France and her biological mother. Fleur and Louis share a torrid love story, one fraught with secrets and lies.

I felt for Fleur. She discovered her biological mother and took a brave step deciding to spend some time with her. I’ve always had mixed thoughts about adoption, and while I may consider it purely from the point of view of giving a child a second lease of life, I don’t know how open I’d be to have my child go and hunt for the person who gave them up. For any reason. That aspect of the book really struck me. Fleur’s mother back in Texas is an underrated character. She allowed Fleur to find her footing without once feeling an ounce of betrayal or any such megalomaniac emotion. It was a pure selfless deed on her part and I appreciate her for it.

I didn’t exactly like the picture of France that Fleur saw, but then I’ve heard a lot about France being that way, so maybe the media has romanticised France too much for international travellers. Not all is well in that society too.

I loved certain parts of this book. I maintain my stance about not liking Louis. He was manipulative. And while I can stretch my understanding to his love for Fleur, I found he had basic character defects. He was rude, manipulative and very cold. The fact that he stretched an olive branch in the end didn’t change my opinion.

All my ratings here are for Fleur. All of them. Even though the sex was hot, Fleur won my heart out and out!

My Rating: 3/5

3 star

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