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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
Rue Toulouse by Debby Grahl is a wonderful mix of contemporary romance and sleuth, featuring very complex characters. Caterine Doucette is a fashion designer who meets ex-cop Remi Michaud at a masquerade ball. They come together for one night of passion that changes everything. Caterine inherits the exclusive family boutique, Ma Chérie, but someone in the Doucette household is determined to take her out and she doesn’t know who. Remi works for a private security company, and he comes in to help unmask the person who wants Caterine dead. The attraction between Caterine and Remi grows stronger, but each is held back by a painful past and betrayal. Can they learn to trust each other in a world filled with betrayal, family secrets, and painful revenge?
The characters are very remarkable and the author does a wonderful job of putting obstacles in the way of their romance in the form of past experiences. From the very beginning, the reader gets a glimpse of Caterine’s loss and the sense of rejection when she overheard a conversation that was unsettling and filled with hate. For a six-year-old little girl who’d just lost her parents, it was a devastating blow. The author makes sure that incidents from the characters' pasts, woven into the backstory, enrich their personalities and help in building the conflict that sets the emotional and psychological tone of the narrative. Debby Grahl’s prose is atmospheric and filled with wonderful and insightful descriptions, dialogues that help to move the story forward, and strong plot points. Rue Toulouse is hugely entertaining and filled with memorable characters.