Book Review: The Chateau by the River by Chloé Duval

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Magical is the perfect word to describe the writing done by Chloé Duval! Her books are translated from the original French, so I imagine that it would be even better were I able to read French. Sometimes things are lost in translation, and this is one of those times I wish I was bilingual. Thankfully, the wonderful people at Lyrical Press understand that even those of us who are not lingually inclined want to read foreign language books. Thus The Chateau by the River is reborn in English! Chloé Duval has such a gift with writing that it's difficult for me to rate this book, because while I loved her storytelling in this book, I found myself frustrated with major parts of the romance component. As in her last book, I enjoyed the jumping between past and present, because it's like getting two love stories in one. The trouble was, I wanted to stay in the past, because the present was the part that was difficult to read. Sent to France by her employer to do business there, Alexandra Dawson takes the opportunity to extend her stay for vacation, so that she can do some digging into her French heritage. Her first order of business is to go to a castle where her great-great-great-grandmother was photographed, to understand what her connection was to the surrounding area. What she finds, however, is a crumbled structure destroyed by a fire many years ago, and its caretaker has no interest in helping her explore. Eric Lagnel wants to keep Alex out of his castle and out of his heart, but as she worms her way into his life, he finds her unrelenting positive attitude hard to resist. As they work together to uncover more of Alex's ancestor's history, a story begins to unfold from the past, and Alex will find that history often repeats itself, in the most unexpected ways. The "past" story was my favorite part of this book! I loved Gabrielle and Thomas so much, particularly as they became closer and showed greater depth in their personalities. Gabrielle was a very strong woman who was also compassionate and smart. She was the perfect fit for Thomas, who needed someone strong to break through his shell and help him see what a wonderful person he was. Their romance made my heart flutter, especially when they showed each other how they felt and had so much joy. It wasn't perfect and there was some drama, but ultimately they realized that love was stronger than any obstacle they faced. I also really enjoyed the secondary characters who brought so much color to the story and made me wish I could jump into the pages to meet them. As far as Alex and Eric are concerned, I was very, very, VERY conflicted. Alex, dear girl, was engaged, and she neglected to tell Eric this for the majority of the book. So for most of the "present day" story, I was waiting for her to put on her big girl panties and tell him, so that we could avoid a big dramatic scene later when he finds out. Sadly, Alex didn't do that, so we were forced as readers to watch as Eric fell in love with her, and Alex didn't tell him about her fiance back in the States. Eric deserved better, in my opinion, and while he had a lot of faults, I really liked him. I also liked her fiance. When everything exploded and her engagement was revealed, I was cheering Eric and Spencer on, because Alex made it seem like there was an adequate explanation for her lies. Which there wasn't, let's be honest. You messed up, and there was no good reason not to tell them. So 5 Stars for Gabrielle and Thomas and 3 Stars for Alex and Eric, which is why you will see my final review is 4 Stars. I really enjoyed reading this book overall, and I can't say enough good things about the author. She really has a talent for putting beauty into words, and I can't wait to see what she writes next! **I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**

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