This book is the literary equivalent of a cup of tea – reassuring, heart warming, and highly nourishing.
Published by Allen & Unwin
Paperback, 384 pages
What the back cover says:
From Tasmania to Paris and beyond, an enchanting story of the proprietor of a specialist chocolate shop who must learn that some rules are meant to be broken – this real-life fairy godmother must learn to find her own magic. The new novel for readers who love Cathy Kelly and Monica McInerney from the bestselling author of The Tea Chest.
What I say:
On a stinking hot day, what’s the first drink you reach for to quench your thirst? A sensible glass of water? A cleansing ale? A sugary hit of soft drink? Or a lovely cup of tea?
Nine times out of ten, I’ll go for the good-for-me water. But sometimes, just sometimes, there’s nothing better than a cup of tea to satisfy a deep thirst.
I think of reading in the same way.
Most of the time, to satisfy my reading thirst, I read books that are good for me – challenging, thought provoking. Books that teach me about worlds I don’t know.
But sometimes, I don’t want to be challenged. Sometimes, I just want to be soothed and delighted and indulged.
That’s where a book like The Chocolate Promise comes into play.
This book won’t win literary awards but it will win-over a stack of readers who love the joyous escapism that reading provides.
Christmas Livingstone is the best friend that every woman would love to have. She’s funny and kind, and most importantly, she owns ‘The Chocolate Apothecary’, an artisan chocolate shop in regional Tasmania.
The shop itself sounds like heaven. Here’s how Moon introduces it..
‘Cheyenne and Abigail were working the floor, selling and waitressing like their lives depended on it, carrying silver trays weight down with mugs of hots chocolate, mochas and pots of tea, apple pie and cream, chocolate fondants, chocolate-coated raspberries, chocolate brownies and pralines. Biscotti. Macarons. Meringues. The aromas of them all swirled together around the shop in a magical, intoxicating perfume and rolled out onto the street, stopping people in their tracks so they followed the scent inside, as if hypnotised.’
But life isn’t a complete box of chocolates for Christmas. She’s been burnt by love in the most awful way, and has resigned herself to a romance-free life. That’s until the gorgeous botanist, Lincoln van Luc, comes knocking on the door of her chocolate shop.
Moon handles this romance like tempered chocolate – heating and cooling it in all the right places to keep the reader engrossed, and literally salivating for more.
But make no mistake, this is not a sacharine-sweet romance. Like the highest quality dark chocolate, there’s a wonderful hint of bitterness that manages to ground this story in a type of heightened reality.
While the romance is undoubtedly the creamy centre of this tale, it is wrapped up in a type of rocky-road shell, with supporting characters and secondary plot lines that provide a satisfying chewiness and crunch over the book’s 384 pages.
Overall, The Chocolate Promise is a feast for the senses and a salve for the heart. Devour it as you would a whole bar of chocolate. This book is a guilty pleasure.