Title: The Silk Romance
Author: Helena Fairfax
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Source: France Book Tours
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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About the Book:
Jean-Luc Olivier is a courageous racing driver, a hero to millions, with the world before him. Sophie Challoner is a penniless student, whose face is unknown beyond her own rundown estate in London. The night they spend together in Paris seems to Sophie like a fairytale—a Cinderella story without the happy ending. She knows she has no part in Jean-Luc’s future. She made her dying mother a promise to take care of her father and brother in London. One night of happiness is all Sophie allows herself. She runs away from Jean-Luc and returns to England to keep her promise.
Safely back home with her father and brother, and immersed in her college work, Sophie tries her best to forget their encounter, but she reckons without Jean-Luc. He is determined to find out why she left him, and intrigued to discover the real Sophie. He engineers a student placement Sophie can’t refuse, and so, unwillingly, she finds herself back in France, working for Jean-Luc in the silk mill he now owns.
Thrown together for a few short weeks in Lyon, the romantic city of silk, their mutual love begins to grow. But it seems the fates are conspiring against Sophie’s happiness. Jean-Luc has secrets of his own. Then, when disaster strikes at home in London, Sophie is faced with a choice—stay in this glamorous world with the man she loves, or return to her family to keep the sacred promise she made her mother.
While the story is a romance on the sweeter side, the characters carry angst and secrets, disillusionment and personal prejudices to keep it out of the saccharine realms.
Sophie has just lost her Parisian grandmother, a woman addicted to that certain ‘status’ in society, and her introduction to the rich and famous in Paris. Growing up with a French mother and an English father, her life was far different to the moneyed classes her grandmother associated with: and after her mother’s death and her father’s slide into depression, a young Sophie was the sole support of the family.
Jean Luc was a world-renown racing driver, one of the rich and famous, ever in photographs with different glamorous women on his arm. Fodder for the tabloids, he disappeared from public view mysteriously a few years back. Also disillusioned with the circle he was a part of; Jean Luc appreciates the benefits, but is far more than the shallow, go fast playboy that was portrayed.
When a work placement opportunity opens up for Sophie, and only Sophie and it is necessary for her to accept the position to obtain her degree: Sophie and Jean Luc are placed in close proximity as the position is for the family silk manufacturing business that he now runs, bringing it from the edge of ruin.
This was a lovely dance of give and take, with Lyon and the old city, famed for silk manufacture become a character in the story itself: it’s beauty and the unique stories told of the days when silk ruled the city, and everyone supported the industry. Add to that the lovely descriptions of the silks, the brilliant colors and Fairfax’s ability to bring the fabrics to life and the settings are just gorgeous and full of imagery. The relationship between Sophie and Jean Luc, her finding her own feet to express herself despite her fears of being inadequate, her dogged determination to protect her family, and the loyalty to her mother’s promise all manage to create a character that is finding her own footing, and self, amidst great change and turmoil. Jean Luc, on the other hand, initially feels like a child that was told no only once in his life – and he wants that no to become a yes. While he also is aware of the emptiness of his fast and furious life, as he was living in the spotlight, he also has an attraction to all that comes with it: being a child of privileged means he isn’t always aware of Sophie’s experiences, although he is intrigued with her.
As the two come to know one another, and the guarded nature of their interactions starts to ease, the palpable attraction between the two, and their admiration of one another’s talents and personalities is apparent, and the reader starts to see that they are a formidable pairing, meant to be together.
What emerges is a realistic portrayal of the obstacles that both characters need to overcome to find their forever together. Helena Fairfax has created a beautifully engaging debut novel that shows how age and experience will change our perceptions and readjust our ties to childhood promises, allowing for fulfillment as an adult.
I received an eBook copy for purpose of honest review for France Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
The publisher has very graciously offered me the option of a giveaway – 1 ebook copy (format of choice) open internationally. Enter using this Rafflecopter
– drawing will end at 11:59PM on 4 August
About the Author:
Helena Fairfax was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now and that’s just as well, because nowadays she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, right next door to windswept Brontë country. She has an affectionate, if half-crazed, rescue dog and together they tramp the moors every day—one of them wishing she were Emily Brontë, the other vainly chasing pheasants. When she’s not out on the moors you’ll find Helena either creating romantic heroes and heroines of her own or else with her nose firmly buried in a book, enjoying someone else’s stories. Her patient husband and her brilliant children support her in her daydreams and are the loves of her life.