RELEASE DAY REVIEW – The Man in the Black Suit by Sylvain Reynard

Title – The Man in the Black Suit
Author – Sylvain Reynard
Publication Date – December 19, 2017

Brazilian Acacia Santos excels at her job as concierge at the prestigious Hotel Victoire in Paris. When her senior colleague is attacked and sent to the hospital, 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. Compelled to report her discovery, she contacts a former boyfriend who works for the elite BRB, a unit of French law enforcement that deals with stolen art.

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.

Secrets and danger abound as Nicholas and Acacia try to solve the mystery of a piece of stolen art. But Acacia may prove to be the most dangerous mystery of all.

I feel like I’ve waited forever for a new Sylvain Reynard novel and I can’t even describe to what degree it was it worth the wait! The Man in the Black Suit was classic, quintessential Reynard but with a fresh twist as well. The standalone novel was intriguing and addictive, leaving me unable to put the book down. I tremendously enjoyed the ride that the author took us on, both with the characters and the very apt real-life issues it shone a light on.

“I’m sorry the world is so dark that embracing one’s humanity causes shock and surprise.”

Acacia and Nicholas’ tale is not your conventional romance. However, that special quality also made it impossible not to fall in love with. The Man in the Black Suit was not just about the slow burn of falling for another person, or the instant attraction that leads to ignited passions. While both of these elements were present, the story felt much more about learning someone’s shortcomings and faults, then learning to love and accept them despite those things. Furthermore, it felt like learning how to accept our own flaws can lead you to discover love. Both Acacia and Nicholas were hiding things at that initial meeting, but Reynard did such a beautiful job untangling both of their sordid histories. It kept me turning the pages waiting for the next mystery to unravel and surprise to blow my mind. Simply put, it was a love story between two very different people, but also learning to love ourselves.

“Look at those eyes. A man could get lose in eyes like those.”

The Man in the Black Suit was an unexpected surprise from the very first page to the last word of the epilogue. It was everything I’ve come to know and love about Sylvain Reynard’s writing, yet elevated in a way as well. Perhaps what I loved most though was how relevant to the times the novel felt. With so much backlash on certain cultures and people, it felt refreshing to read this story and feel the emotions that I did. It is certainly thought-provoking and eye-opening, without crossing a political boundary. There is a reason that I keep coming back to words from this author, and there is no doubt that I will continue to do so in the future!

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