My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
*The following may contain minor spoilers*
This was hard work for me to get through – not because it’s a bad story, but because it was heartbreakingly cruel.
Benoit is a talented jazz pianist, who has lost his fire and passion. He is just going through the motions in his dreary little life in a mediocre Parisian jazz club, going home alone every night to his tiny little crummy apartment. Until the day Daniel steps into the club as the new lead singer for the band. It is love at first sight for Benoit, who suddenly starts to feel again: Lust, desire, passion for life and for his music.
Daniel is a troubled man, with a dark past that still haunts his every step and with old deeds he cannot escape. He is a recovering heroin addict and the addiction plays a great big part in all of Daniels actions and impacts everything in the story, from Daniels performances to his relationship with Benoit. Daniel know he is not worthy of the love Benoit bestows on him, but he still clings desperately to him, as he is the only light in a dark and bleak life.
The story mainly revolves around Daniel and his cravings and feelings and lack of belief that he deserves anything good and true. This made it a very hard story to read, and I had to take several breaks from it along the way. The writing is lovely and the story flows nicely, it’s just so depressing, that it gets you down. I wish I knew more of Benoit’s past, this story is the second book in the Le Chat Rouge series, and I haven’t read the first one, so I do not know if that would have given me some of the information I felt I lacked. That being said the book works fine as a standalone.
The city of Paris becomes a character almost in its own right in the book and Ms Palmer does a great job of setting the mood. Right from the start you are in an ambience of dark and gritty streets, close and smoky bars and dusty and musty rooms. Most of this story takes place at night – due to the fact that these two are creatures of the night due to their occupation. It had a very strong impact on me as a reader, and was probably the main reason why I felt it was so hard to continue reading. I felt just as hopeless as the characters felt on these dark city streets.
The ending is realistic, no certainty about the future, Daniel is an addict after all, but it does leave us on a note of hope – and is the first time the lovers actually meet in the sunshine, which was a lovely little detail. But it wasn’t enough for my happy-ending craving little heart. I hope that Ms Palmer will return to this couple in a later story to ensure the readers that they will actually make it.