Thom Lane’s writing is always a breath of fresh air for me. It’s light, easy, and romantic. There’s an effortless feeling to the prose and narration, one that can either sweep you away or leave you wanting more. I tend to sit back and enjoy the journey without critiquing too much as the imagery and crisp emotions flow from the characters. In this third installment of the French Wine series, I liked the main couple and as always adored the Romaines. The trust problems presented are a bit melodramatic and overwrought, an excuse to prolong the story more than anything. However, I didn’t mind this, as I like revisiting Lane’s contemporary stories a lot. They’re a palate cleanser and the perfect thing for a nice spring night.
The story starts in England this time and we meet Greg, the first person narrator. He’s on his way to the club to pick up his one nightstand, a different one each Saturday. He’s interrupted by the irrepressible Juliette, on a mission to lovingly interfere in the lives of her friends and family. Juliette quickly adopts Greg and gets him to France, where she plays matchmaker almost instantly. Almost in defense Greg chooses to pursue the sexy vegetable stall owner, Robin. Although Greg never spends more than one night with anyone, he can’t help making an exception with Robin. Telling himself that he’ll end the relationship every day, Greg finds himself drawn deeper into the countryside, new culture, warm embrace of the Romaines, and his irresistible passion with Robin.
Although this is the third book in the series, each one is easily read as a stand-alone. The other couples make appearances but you don’t need to read the previous books at all. I vaguely remembered the other couples from past books but they’re barely present in the book so it’s not a problem. On the flip side, the interfering Juliette has a large role and I can’t help but adore her. She’s bratty and forceful and definitely sticks her nose in everywhere but as in previous books, she means no harm and the men easily side step her machinations. She’s not the obnoxious trope that is often used in this genre, but more so an extremely intelligent, quick-witted, lovely girl with too much time on her hands. I personally found her charming.
Juliette’s over the top bossiness helps overcome a few stumbles. The first of which is glossed over but I never understood why the family embraces Greg so quickly and thoroughly. It’s lovely for sure, yet doesn’t quite make sense. There’s no real explanation offered and it’s a minor point. Likewise I thought Greg’s trust issues are melodramatic and entirely overwrought. He is deliberately dense, but most of this seems an excuse to prolong the story. The happy ending and way the two worked out how to be together happens mostly off page, we’re simply told it happens, which reinforces the feel that these two didn’t really have any obstacles to overcome.
Not that every story needs deep drama and emotional problems to find a happy ending. Here Robin and Greg are not the most well developed characters but they’re fun to read and they have a lot of passionate sex we’re told. Add in the ease of the prose and vivid French background and this is a smooth and light tale that satisfies. I’d recommend it for readers wanting something effortless and simple.