As mentioned in my other reviews of her books, Laura Florand builds on fairy tales in her works and this one was no exception. Sometimes, I can’t quite tell which story she is referencing, and truth be told it doesn’t matter, but in this case it was Little Red Riding Hood. I know because it is quite explicit and Florand didn’t manage to tone it down as much as she did in other stories. At some point, I am going to have to make a list of what the allusions are, but I think I’ll need to brush up on my mythology first.
The first novella in Florand’s La Vie en Roses series, the reader is introduced to all the heroes yet to come and to the first match among them – Raoul and Allegra. He is the ex-pat son, recently returned to Provence from running the family business in Africa and she is a PhD student in immigration patterns studying the effects of local industry (perfume) on populations. She picks up vulpine Raoul in a bar and, wrapped in her red cloak, brings him to her home where she tells him that she doesn’t want to feel safe. After a toe-curling night together, the morning after falls apart and the two have to fight through their misconceptions to start a proper relationship.
You would think that the fantasy is that a one night stand will turn into a long-term relationship, but that is always possible, to me the true wish fulfillment element of the book is that taking home a stranger twice as large and stronger than you could be something safe to do. However, everyone takes stupid risks in life and they can pay off just as this one does for Raoul and Allegra.
A Rose in Winter quite simply isn’t up to the same writing standard as the other Florand books I have read, even the one I didn’t like. I read it for free and back list completion purposes, but she has other, better books that I recommend highly for satisfying escapism. A complete summary of Laura Florand’s catalogue can be found here.
Romance novelist godhead Kathleen Woodiwiss also has a book called A Rose in Winter which for many years contained my favourite hero. I suspect there are other similarly titled books between that and this one, perhaps I should make a study.