The Silk Romance by Helena Fairfax

The Silk Romance 333x500-001An unforgettable, powerfully intense and beautifully written contemporary romance!

I downloaded The Silk Romance after hearing how great it was from Tina. And so, as I came across it again a couple of weeks ago I just had to have a read. It is an amazing read that I am sure many will find difficult to put down. Yes, The Silk Romance will be forever in your memory as a great, sweet contemporary romance.

Blurb: Sophie Challoner is sensible and hard-working, and a devoted carer of her father.  One night her grandmother throws a ball for her in Paris…and Sophie does something reckless that she can never forget. 
Jean-Luc Olivier is not a man to treat lightly.  And so when fate takes a hand years after the ball, and reunites him with Sophie in Lyon, he is determined not to let her go a second time.
But it seems the fates are conspiring against their happiness.  Jean-Luc has secrets of his own.  And  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 a sacred promise she made her mother.

Caroline’s Review: (Please see Tina’s review, posted May 2013, and an author post and bio by Helena Fairfax, also posted May 2013)

The Silk Romance is powerfully intense throughout. Every sentence reads like it was well thought out and Helena Fairfax has a great use of language in this beautifully written novel.

Although mostly told from Sophie’s point of view, the reader also has an insight into Jean-Luc’s mind as he regularly ponders over the delicate situation of Sophie. Many of the characters’ thoughts are highly emotive and the reader finds it incredibly difficult to pull themselves away. At times when I wasn’t reading, I couldn’t help but think of these characters and the predicament they are both in.

Sophie is old before her time in many respects. After the passing of her mother and the promise she made to take care of her father and brother, she works from a young age and makes no time for social activities. Sophie and her family reside on a poor estate in London, and she spends most of her money on debts that her father had accrued. It is only through a studying course that the opportunity opens up for her to gain some work experience, ending her back in Lyon with Jean-Luc. Although it is not a choice she is entirely happy with, it is one she needs to help her through and become successful, in order for her to support her family more.

An ex-racing driver and now owner of a successful silk factory, Jean-Luc has it all. He is a wealthy, handsome man, with his fair share of women and living-it-up lifestyle. However, he is also a dark horse with secrets of his own. Jean-Luc is controlling and manipulative, and yet he enchants the reader as well as Sophie! Helena’s description of his icy cold stares, for example, captivate the reader as if his eyes were aimed directly at them. His determination to get what he wants is matched by no other. And what he wants……………is Sophie.

Sophie is strong and has a great deal of willpower but there are moments when she just can’t help herself. His very presence is one that cannot be ignored. But how is she supposed to live up to the women that Jean-Luc is used to? What will happen when she returns to her father and brother? Her situation is impossible. If only Jean-Luc would leave her be, to finish off her work experience and to return to London.

And yet, despite opposing backgrounds, they do share a subtle common ground – tragedy. Even though tragic, the loss of their mothers has a profound impact on both of them. Sophie made the promise to her mother to always look after her father and brother. This is her number one priority. She simply cannot let her family down as the promise she made is the only connection she has left to her mother. And, it was Jean-Luc’s mother that makes him the man he is.

Although linked to the likes of Cinderella (within the story and in independent reviews), I would also like to mention that, for me, there were elements of Pretty Woman, Love Actually, Fifty Shades of Grey and, one scene in particular reminded me of Dirty Dancing.

I’m not sure if I have ever read a novel as intense as The Silk Romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would love to read more of Helena Fairfax’s work. The Silk Romance surely does embed itself in the reader’s mind. Unforgettable. In summary, if you love a great romance, with great intensity and powerful emotions, you will be head over heels for The Silk Romance!

I was provided with a free copy from A Story Cartel in return for my honest and fair review.

You can also find The Silk Romance on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

You can check out Helena Fairfax’s blog here.

Reviewed by Caroline Barker

The Silk Romance, by Helena Fairfax

The Silk Romance 333x500-001Gallic Charm in the City of Silk – Sweet Contemporary Romance

The Silk Romance, author Helena Fairfax’s first novel, is a sweet and emotional contemporary romance and such a romantic read. At its heart is a complex relationship between a rich, sophisticated Frenchman and an impoverished Englishwoman. Yet this is no simple Cinderella tale as their HEA is fraught with family tragedy, deception, misunderstandings and the difficulties which can arise when two very different worlds collide.

Sophie Challoner and racing driver Jean-Luc Olivier spent a passionate night together in Paris four years ago, after which Sophie fled to the safety and responsibilities of her family awaiting her in London.  Sophie is committed to the promise that she made to her dying mother – to look after her father and brother. Four years later Sophie is shocked when Jean-Luc appears once more and uses his power and influence to arrange for her to spend two months on a student work placement at his silk mill in Lyon, France.  Jean-Luc is hell bent on solving the mystery of Sophie and why she ran away from him. Sophie, for her part, resolves to keep her distance, knowing that they can never share a future. The couple cannot deny their growing attraction, yet how can they have a relationship when their worlds are so far apart and when a family emergency compels Sophie to return home to honour her promise to her mother?

The story shows that money cannot buy love. There are many obstacles to their romance: both characters have strong misconceptions of the other, which must first be overcome; there is also the gulf that exists between them in terms of Sophie’s family responsibilities and their different worlds, one of fancy restaurants and haute couture the other of fast food and rundown housing estates.

On the surface Sophie is a strong and determined young woman, working hard to support her family financially and emotionally. However, her carefully constructed façade crumbles as soon as Jean-Luc appears, and she begins to unravel, revealing her vulnerabilities and exposure to Jean-Luc’s world opens old wounds. She has not had a relationship since the night she spent with Jean-Luc in Paris, a night she often dreams of. Her resolve to keep her distance from Jean-Luc is put to the test by events which show him to be far from the shallow celebrity she believed him to be and Jean-Luc’s strong determination to breach her fragile defences and find out the truth.

Jean-Luc is an alpha hero with a strong sense of honour and is full of Gallic charm, making me go weak at the knees just thinking about him!  He is a man who likes to exert control in his life and has his own secrets. However, with Sophie he is flummoxed as he cannot understand her motivations, let alone control her. He does know that he wants to protect Sophie and knows that he must be patient if he is to prevent her running away again. He is wonderful hero, who has learned a lot in the years since he first encountered Sophie in Paris.

I also enjoyed the main setting for the novel, the romantic city of Lyon and lost myself in the evocative descriptions of the architecture, the silk mill and ‘la vie en France.’ There are also scenes which take place in Paris and London. I was pulled into the story immediately with the opening scene, where Sophie meets Jean-Luc for the first time since that fateful night four years ago. The tension and the emotional link between the main couple jump off the pages and was maintained throughout the novel. The publisher, MuseItUp Publishing (click on the link) has a lovely excerpt of this scene on their website if you want to find out more.

I found The Silk Romance to be an extremely romantic and engaging novel, in which I was aching for the couple to overcome the  obstacles to their happiness and embrace their future together. It is a very impressive first novel, exploring both romantic love and family ties and I am looking forward to the next novel by the author, The Antique Love, which is in the pipeline.

A copy of this book was given to me by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

To read about what inspired Helena to write this novel and the characters within it and to read her author bio please scroll up or click here.

Author Helena Fairfax’s Website

Publisher MuseItUp Publishing – click for details of the book and for excerpt

Cover art for The Silk Romance by Charlotte Volnek