Published by HighBridge Audio on December 19, 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Romance
Source: Personal Copy
Acacia Santos excels at her job as concierge at the prestigious Hotel Victoire in Paris. When her superior, Marcel, is attacked in a supposed random mugging, she is tasked with serving one of the hotel’s most mysterious and attractive guests.
Nicholas Cassirer checks into the hotel under an assumed name every three months. Usually, he stays in the penthouse suite with a beautiful female companion but on this occasion, he arrives alone and is displeased in having to deal with someone new. A match of wits ensues as he tests Acacia’s expertise with a series of almost impossible demands. Her intelligence and creativity rise to the challenge, earning his respect.
They strike a tenuous accord until Acacia discovers a famous stolen painting in his suite, she contacts a former boyfriend who works for the elite BRB, a unit of French law enforcement that deals with art thefts.
Nicholas is questioned by police and released when it is revealed the painting is a reproduction. Irked with her behavior, Acacia’s supervisor demotes her threatening dismissal and the cancellation of her work permit.
But Acacia has already attracted Nicholas’s attention. Remorseful that she may lose her job on his account, he offers her a choice – she can wait until her supervisor dismisses her, or she can leave the city of lights behind and become his personal assistant.
Acacia initially refuses his offer, but Nicholas is persistent. He reveals himself as a man who quietly acquires stolen art in order to restore it to its rightful owners. Faced with mounting familial debts and the possibility of dismissal and deportation, she agrees to work for him.
Nicholas opens up a whole new world of beauty and intrigue to Acacia as they travel the globe. Soon the line between employer and assistant is blurred, and the two lonely people embark on a passionate relationship.
I need to drop everything and read all of Sylvain Renard’s books pronto because The Man in the Black Suit was easily one of my favorite books of 2017. The Man in the Black Suit had a little bit of everything: an authentic romance mixed with a little danger and suspense. And dare I mention the breathtaking setting – spanning multiple-continents – conveniently mixed in with a decent dose of art history? Really, it’s been days and I can’t think of anything I wanted more of in this read.
Acacia Santos lives life flying under the radar as a concierge in one of Paris’ finest hotels. Against her wishes, shes tasked with serving Pierre – one of the hotel’s most elite guests – after her manager is mysteriously attacked after his shift. Acacia discovers what she believes to be a stolen painting in Pierre’s rooms and calls the police. The painting turns out to be a reproduction and her job is now at risk. Pierre feels partially responsible and offers Acacia a position as his executive assistant – except his name is actually Nicholas Cassier. His real job is recovering famous stolen artwork off the black market. Obviously, danger, suspense, and romance ensue…
Here’s what I loved:
- The main characters are wrapped in their own mysteries that deliciously unfolded throughout the book. I had so many questions about Acacia and Nicholas. Acacia is a Brazilian immigrant, works as a concierge in Paris, speaks six languages and is highly skilled in martial arts. Then there’s Nicholas – the Man in the Black Suit himself. The hotel tells Acacia that he ranks somewhere between celebrity and royalty, surrounding himself with six bodyguards at all times.
- I was hooked on both the characters and how the author slowly revealed their backstories. Renard took his sweet time unveiling who each of these enigmatic characters was – nothing felt rushed and everything seemed well thought out. The book’s pace moved wonderfully. I appreciated the character development taking its time, knowing the story was leading to something far more complex and exciting.
- Acacia and Nicholas acted like real people in real relationships. I found this refreshing, as the book focuses on two people involved in the black market art trade. There wasn’t any over-the-top alpha male stuff going around*. The romance simply focused on two people building an actual relationship that could survive in the real world. Renard created two noble characters who were trying their best to do good and I couldn’t help but feel emotionally invested in their happiness. (*Note: I love a good alpha male romance as much as the next Romance Fan but it would have felt a little over-the-top given the larger-than-life plot)
I highly recommend The Man in the Black Suit for fans of Romantic Suspense. However, some romance lovers may find the story to be a little light on the steam. There were also some slow-burn romance qualities, with the real action picking-up about halfway through. Anyone disliking the slow burn trope might be a little irritated, but I thought the pacing was wonderfully done. Also, there is no cliffhanger (I believe the book is actually a standalone)