delivered decades late, inspiring a young woman to try to reunite two
star-crossed lovers . . .
writer by night, and group knitter on Tuesday evenings, Flavie
Richalet leads a fairly uneventful life—until she receives a long
delayed letter meant for a total stranger. Postmarked 1971, the
yellowed envelope, addressed to an Amélie Lacombe, holds a fervent
message of love and a marriage proposal, signed only with the initial
E. Given her own fractured family history, Flavie is dreamily
determined to learn what became of the couple . . .
French seaside inn—and to E. himself, a true romantic who never
forgot the girl who got away so many years ago. But his protective
nephew, B&B owner Romaric, isn’t sure that trying to find
Amélie after all these years is good for his uncle. At odds with the
tall, dark, and impossibly passionate Romaric, Flavie must show him,
and perhaps herself, that true love is timeless—and always worth
waiting for . . .
Author Blog Post by Chloé Duval:
The “Butterflies”, Or Why I Love Feel-Good Romances.
It all began in Scotland, really. Or at least, that’s where I discovered their true power.
All through my teens, I had been an avid reader of crime fiction, making my way through all of Mary Higgins Clark’s and Agatha Christie’s bibliography, feeding off those few action-packed pages when all the pieces of the puzzle suddenly fall into place and the heroes rush to stop the murderer and save everyone. And when I wasn’t buried into fictional murders, rereading books over and over again looking for the clues I had missed, I was devouring classic novels with troubled souls and intense relationships and love as passionate as it was destructive: JAME EYRE (which, as of today, remains one of my favorite books ever), WUTHERING HEIGHTS, ANNA KARENINA, ROMEO AND JULIET, to name but a few.
And then, one summer, as a sophomore, I went to Scotland to work as an au pair. And one fine day, as the children I was taking care of were otherwise occupied with their parents, I watched a film. A romantic comedy. It was "While You Were Sleeping". That’s when I felt… them. The butterflies. They started quivering their wings in my stomach as soon as Jack appeared on the screen, and never stopped until the last image faded away with a radiant Sandra Bullock marrying the man of her dreams and riding away to her happy ending. By the time the credits were done, I had a goofy smile on my face, and I was feeling cozy, warm and really really happy. As if I was the one getting a beautiful HEA.
That day, my life changed, totally. I started reading romances, feel-good romances, watching every romcom that I could get my hands on, all for the sole purpose of feeling those butterflies again. And then, many years later, it hit me. I needed to write feel-good romances, and I needed to write them now. Reading wasn’t enough anymore. I too wanted to make people feel good. I too wanted to make people all gooey on the inside, and put a goofy smile on their lips. I too wanted to bring a little more light, a little more joy, and a little more happiness to the world. So I started writing. My first attempts were not that good, but nevertheless, I persisted, with the encouragement of my best friend.
One day, as I was stuck on a novel that didn’t want to be written, two things happened. I saw "Letters to Juliet", and heard about a postcard that made its way to its addressee quite a few decades after being mailed. Those two otherwise unrelated events made me start thinking… what if it was a love letter that got lost in the mail? What if in that love letter, a man asked a woman to elope with him, but she never received it? What if life kept them apart after that? What if… what if… Cheeks burning hot with excitement, my heart beating hard against my ribcage, I sat down with a pen and a notebook and started jotting down ideas, plots, character profiles, and that love letter that would be at the center of my story.
A few months later, STOLEN TIME was born. And it was everything that I had ever wanted to write. It was a story that put its arms around me, right from the beginning, filling me with warmth and kindness and telling me, on days when everything seemed dark, “It’s gonna be alright. You are not alone. Everything’s going to work out in the end.”
And that’s why I love feel-good romances, to read and to write. Because it’s a little spot of light in the dark, and it’s a bottomless pit of emotions in the tiny organ that is our heart.
STOLEN TIME Excerpt:
September 4, 1975
It was the most important day of her life.
She’d been waiting and preparing for this day for weeks, and she should have been deliriously happy. She should have been lighthearted and smiling.
But instead, she felt strange and uncomfortable. As though she was forgetting something important. As though she was about to make a mistake.
It’s just apprehension, she told herself. The usual jitters all women feel before they commit for life.
But did all women think of their first love on their wedding day? Amélie closed her eyes, and Erwan’s beautiful face appeared in her mind. She pictured his irresistible smile, his gray-blue gaze, his unruly hair, always too wild to lie flat. She felt his rough hands on her skin, his lips on hers, as though it were only yesterday that they had lain together on the beach.
She shook her head, willing herself to dismiss the memory. It was foolish to think of him, especially right before her wedding. It had been so long ago . . . four years, almost to the day. He’d obviously forgotten her, moved on with his life. He’d never written to her, never phoned her, never gotten in touch with her. She’d waited weeks, months even, for him to reach out to her, before she’d accepted the truth. It had only been a summer fling. So she’d grieved, but then looked to the future. She’d thrown herself into her studies in fashion-design school to forget. Forget all about him.
And now she was finally happy. She’d finished school and gotten the job of her dreams with a small fashion company that appreciated her style and her slightly extravagant ideas. It was almost more than she’d ever expected. Moreover, she was about to marry a wonderful man, one who loved her more than anyone and whom she loved very much. She knew they’d have a great life together.
So why? Why was she thinking of the past, of a painful, bestforgotten period of her life, on the day she was going to marry Paul, for better or for worse?
She took a deep breath, trying to calm her heart, her nerves, her mind. She patted her veil, smoothed a few nonexistent creases in her satin and lace wedding dress. She’d designed it herself, and it was stunning, even if she said so herself. It was the dress of her dreams.Again, Erwan appeared in her mind’s eye.
“For God’s sake!” she swore, cutting herself off immediately.
Someone knocked on the door and her mother peered in. “Are you ready, sweetheart?” Viviane Lacombe asked, beaming. Amélie cast a last glance into the mirror, took a deep breath, and nodded. “I am.”
It was no longer time to wonder about the past.
So, she left her home, the home where she grew up, and, lifting the hem of her dress in one hand, her father at her side, her mother in front of her, beaming much more than her daughter was, Amélie slowly walked the short distance to the beautiful church of Karouac, where her parents had been married. Paul was waiting for her there.
Her family was waiting for her. The minister, and all their friends, were gathered here today to celebrate her wedding to the love of her life. She couldn’t wait to go in and marry Paul, the man who had always been there for her. Who loved her more than anything else. She couldn’t wait to start her life. The life she had chosen for herself.
Yet before she walked into the church, she couldn’t help stopping to gaze around, searching for a face, a smile. She shook her head and cursed the damn memories trying to spoil the happiest day of her life. She turned back and smiled at her father, took hold of his proffered arm, and waited for her cue.
Hidden in the shade of a porch, unseen, Erwan watched as the love of his life walked into the church on her father’s arm to marry another man. He’d been too late, and he’d lost her once again—forever.
He tamped down the urge to enter the church and beg Amélie, on his knees if need be, to come with him, repeating what he’d written in that unanswered letter four years ago, and walked away, his heart breaking, leaving Karouac behind him. Once again, and forever.
of knights slaying terrifying dragons and damsels in distress. Today,
she’s still seeking, in her stories, to find again the sweetness
and the enchantment of the fairy tales she absorbed as a child. A
Frenchwoman by birth, Canadian by adoption, and Québecoise in her
heart, Chloé lives in Montreal with her prince charming and dozens
of characters jostling around inside her head.
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