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.
Every time I sit down to read one of Sylvain Reynard’s books, I’m transported to the realistically fictitious settings created, and I’m overwhelmed by the majestic beauty that is constructed through the detailed diction. The locations of each story play a pivotal role in the main characters’ lives and through them, readers gather an array of insights that allow us to ascertain who the hero and heroine are and how their choices in locales and the atmospheres created in them present both obstacles and advantages for them.
Nicholas Cassirer is so much more than the man in the black suit, but the old adage that the clothes make the man definitely holds true; almost every time Acacia Santos describes Nicholas’ attire, there’s a regalness to it that helps to illustrate and define exactly the kind of man he is and the perception that is presented through his choice in clothing.
Mr. Cassirer is a man of many talents and trades; he dabbles in quite a few areas of the world, in both legal and illegal markets, and while there’s no one close enough to him to truly understand all of his complexities, it’s clear that Nicholas’ agenda is one of
The world that Nicholas exists in is one of corruption and betrayal; it’s a domain where truth and honor are rarely practiced, but while Nicholas does follow his own set of values/beliefs, there’s always a reason for his actions and he most definitely understands what’s at stake as he gathers the necessary intel to avenge his family and right the egregious wrongs that were done to his sister.
Even though Nicholas seems to be quite the man of mystery, it’s clear that Acacia Santos is keeping secrets of her own; she outwardly appears to be calm and collected, but the way some things are expressed from her perspective and her reasons behind some of her actions tell a much different story. She admits that she’s been in self-protective mode for quite some time, and she has no intention of stopping anytime soon because she learned a long time ago that the only person who can save her is herself. Now, why that is and what she faced is not truly explained until way further into the story line, but not knowing exactly why
The Man in the Black Suit is an international story of intrigue, and Reynard slowly introduces its many layers, adding suspense, romance, and varying defining moments of justice. Nicholas and Acacia play their cards fairly close to the chest for a good portion of the story, but that only adds to the appeal of the text because as their truths are revealed, the plot line evolves and then transitions in order to deal with this new information and its significance when it comes to who Nicholas and Acacia are beginning to mean to each other as well as how their individual pasts have shaped them into the people they are today…the ones who are definitely scarred by their hidden darkness but also believe in honor and justice.
Sylvain Reynard’s newest release is an epic affair – one that takes Nicholas and Acacia as well as readers on a passionate, dramatic, and dangerous journey, and as the truth of the hero and heroine’s respective pasts are exposed, Nicholas’ initial mistreatment of Acacia is forgotten and as amends are made and hearts are opened up, what develops between them is a sustainable bond despite the danger lurking in the shadows and Nicholas’ ultimate end game for justice.
4.5 Poison Apples