The friend I walk with every Thursday to buy lattes with for both emotional therapy and physical exercise is also the person I talk about politics with. No matter where you stand politically, I think all Americans can agree there is a lot of unease and conflict in the U.S. right now.

I, for one, am a big believer in short, mental escapes. Romance fits that bill perfectly. But Happily Ever After, non-thriller or serial-killer or major childhood trauma Romances, thank you. Since my friend is burned out on Amish romances, she reminded me I had once suggested to her she read Laura Florand’s Chocolate Romances, mostly featuring Parisian Chocolatier or Pattiserie folks falling in love with unsuitable American or half-American women.

You should go ahead and read them all from the start, starting with The Chocolate Thief. Here’s my review for the third in the series:

The Chocolate Rose (Amour et Chocolat #3)

Laura Florand writes romances for Foodies. I mean, golly, the decadent descriptions, the mouth-watering flavors, the sensual slide of….you naughty people, I was talking about the desserts in this book!

Laura’s Chocolate series features extremely handsome chefs/patissiers in Paris (one would think that all chefs in Paris are handsome, emotionally vulnerable gods if one read too many of her books in a row) who find their love match…usually an American, or half-American, or American-educated woman.

This book is a bridge between her Chocolate series and a new series featuring a dynasty of rose-growers in Southern France.

The hero is a big, growly (literally his growls make the heroine stand at attention, so to speak) intense patissier who makes magic out of chocolate, nitrogen, gold dust, and pistachios. The heroine is a food writer who happens to be the daughter of the patissier that fired the hero and stole some of his recipes.

Sparks ensue. And kissing in jasmine-laden arbors in tiny alleyways, and desserts are described, and of course the main issue of contention is a fabulous-sounding rose-chocolate dessert that the hero hasn’t made since leaving the heroine’s father.

I don’t know reading Florand is more fun because of the whole-hearted way the heroes woo the ladies, or because of the foodie descriptions and depictions of the hectic, cutthroat world of patissiers and chefs after Michelin stars.

I just know that when I open a Florand book, I’m going to be entertained, I’m going to fall in love with both the couple and their food, and I’m going to get a glimpse of other characters both featured in prior novels (really, one would think Paris is entirely populated by patissier/chocolatier/chefs and their American wives) and soon to be featured in their own novels.