Wednesday, August 28, 2013

ARC Novella Review: Snow-Kissed by Laura Florand

Title: Snow-Kissed

Author: Laura Florand

Rating: 4 Stars

Release Date: September 17th, 2013

Well, don't let it be said that Laura Florand can't slay your heart just as much as she makes it palpitate with her descriptions of chocolate! After having read - and loved - five of Florand's novels, I think I am more than qualified to admit that Snow-Kissed is perhaps her most ambitious piece. With every romance I read by Florand, I feel as if I am sucked deeper and deeper into her lush prose. And out of all the contemporary authors out there, only Florand can really bewitch me with her words; which is why, even though I was warned this novel was a heart-breaking one, I simply jumped at the chance to read it as soon as I could. Needless to say, I was far from disappointed.

Snow-Kissed is unlike anything Florand has ever tackled before. I am used to her quiet, but beautiful, romances, all set against the backdrop of Paris and each with a unique heroine. While I find that these novels have more than enough depth, they are primarily a whirlwind of melting chocolate and steamy gazes, which truly mends your heart more than it breaks it. With this novella, however, Florand manages to make the tear-ducts flow using just a few well-timed phrases - and it is slaying. (But so, so worth the read.)

After three miscarriages, Kai is depressed and utterly broken. Although her marriage to Kurt - perfect, caring, and mindful of her every need - is warm and loving, her string of failed pregnancies has driven a wedge between the pair. Unable to cope with having disappointed her husband, Kai leaves, hoping to re-build her life. When Kai and Kurt wind up snowed in, however, on a cancelled trip from work, the two are tense and confused. Can they patch up their marriage or was their perfect happily-ever-after truly too good to last? If Kurt has anything to do with it, though, he's getting Kai back. And this time, he won't let her run away. No matter what.

From the beginning itself, Snow-Kissed is permeated with a melancholy aura of nostalgia and regret. Kai regrets leaving Kurt. Kurt regrets not being enough for Kai to stay. And yet, underneath that, is also the bitterness. Kai is bitter that Kurt cannot understand her feelings, that he cares more for her than the babies they have lost. Kurt is bitter than Kai walked out on him instead of sticking around to make their marriage work. And just with those surface emotions, so much depth in built within this novel. It's gut-wrenching to see Kai and Kurt dance around each other, both so hurt and wary of what to do. And yet, what made me fall so hard for this short story is the fact that it is full of hope. Kai and Kurt, despite their broken pasts, despite the fact that they may never have children, despite the fact that their friends' lives revolve around their children now while their own lives are filled with that gaping hole, despite all that, there is still the hope that they can find a way back to one another.

Moreover, it should be noted that Snow-Kissed is far from a cold, hard novel filled with stark emotion. On the contrary, this book is steaming hot! Seriously. One of the aspects of this novella that I felt really worked was that the sex was such an integral part of the re-growth of this relationship. We are privvy to the perspectives of both Kai and Kurt, so while we feel their emotions and hear their swirling thoughts, we also witness the gradual change in the two of them. Surprisingly, their time away from each other has made both of them ready to do what they were unable to do before: heal together. And while, admittedly, the sex is fan-yourself burning, it's also a very charged, emotional experience that brings this married couple even closer.

Additionally, though, it is impossible not to connect with these characters. Both of them are so well-drawn and realistic that I felt my entire body sag in depression for Kai and similarly perk up at Kurt's burning hope. Kurt, who feels as if Kai is the ray of sunshine in his life with her spontaneity and optimism, is determined to bring back the old Kai - the one who teased him and made him fall so deeply in love with her. And yet, although so much of this novel is focused on Kai's healing, Kurt is never forgotten amid this either. I find that it is so easy to dismiss the father in a novel, merely because he is not the one who undergoes both physical and emotional pain, and while Florand made that distinction, she never disregarded Kurt's feelings either.

And yet, perhaps best - and worst - of all, Snow-Kissed ends off with Kai and Kurt in a better place in their marriage, not necessarily the best one. What Kai and Kurt learn about each other and about their relationship in this novella is incredible, but it is also not everything. We finish this novella knowing that we have only been given a small glimpse into the lives of this couple; a glimpse that does not necessarily reassure us that the future will be better, but does soothe us that the future will have these two tackling its challenges together. Nevertheless, I did feel a certain sense of loss upon completing this novella. I blame Laura Florand's writing - I'm so in love with it that I feel bereft at leaving it all, let alone slightly abruptly the way this one was. However, that small qualm aside, Snow-Kissed is not to be missed for fans of Florand. It may seem unusually heavy - and I certainly have made it seem that way - but truly, there is a pleasant dose of romance side-by-side with the emotional depth that makes this novella so wonderful. If you, like me, are anxiously awaiting your next Florand Fix (yes, her writing is like a drug!), then this will more than sustain you until her next romance novel is out. I, for one, have not regretted my time with Kai and Kurt and know that, once my heart is healed, I will return yet again.


  1. Okay if my choices were melting chocolate in Paris or heartbreak snowed in. I'd pick the former. BUT I think this book sounds so true and relevant to life, and I love that the author tackled such an intense and heart breaking subject. I think I'll start with the former subject, but I may move onto this depending on how I like those. BUT with your high praise, I'm sure I'll want more like you do.

    I am a little wary that these characters' story ends in such a melancholy place, however, Though I imagine that a brokenness like this takes a lot of effort to heal. Will she be revisiting this couple, or is this novella complete?

    This is sort of relevant, but have you read Jhumpa Lahiri's book of short stories THE INTERPRETER OF MALADIES? It is an amazing collection, but I remember she has a short story in there about a couple that falls a part after a miscarriage. I don't remember all of the stories in the book, but that one still impacts me, though I read it ages ago.

  2. Sounds beautiful, but heartbreaking. Oh I hate to cry, but you say it is worth it and I believe you. I will have to add this one, but will make sure my box of tissues is full first. :)

  3. Heartbreak and steamy sex are a faaaaabulous combination. :D I have yet to read Laura Florand, but I know you and Chachic are huge fans! I keep meaning to start them sometime, but this one sounds so awesome, I might try this first. Especially since it doesn't mean a 3 book commitment. Thanks for the nudge, Keeertana! I've been reading more adult books recently and this one sounds like a good one to try out, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  4. Writing like a drug?! Sign me up! I generally avoid novellas like the plague because I never feel satisfied when the book ends, but it sounds as though this might break those rules for me, huh? I really think I need to read something by Florand...soon! Lovely review, Keertana! :)

  5. Oh my! This sounds so good. I mean when a person can describe chocolate perfectly she can write about anything. I haven't heard of this story before nor have ever read a book about woman who had miscarriages and I know what can it do to a person (my aunt had two and I know how much she suffered). Anyhow it sounds like an amazing read. Great review Keertana :)

  6. This sounds like a novella with a lot to offer. I'm usually not keen on reading novellas (or reading about married couples, for some strange reason) but I love the sound of this despite that and hope I can give it a try one day. Great review, Keertana! :)

  7. If there is anything I like about books like this its the emotional aspect. I love my emotional reads and I just now I am going to enjoy this even if it is a novella! Kai and Kurt sound like wonderful characters and I can't wait to meet them and see how their relationship develops. And of course the hot parts will just be an added bonus! lol ;p I can't wait to read this! Plus, I LOVE that cover! Glad you enjoyed this Keertana! Great review! :D

    ~ Maida
    Literary Love Affair 

  8. This sounds heartbreaking, yet realistic. I read another novella that sort of reminds me of this. It was about a married couple going through hard times and finding their way back to each other, as well. I really enjoyed it and I wonder if I would like this one, too. I'm not sure I'd care for the open ending, but marriage is always a work in progress and I would have hope they would keep growing and healing together. Beautiful review, Keertana! :)


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