Monday, April 19, 2010

Dipped in theobroma: A Chocolate Wishes Review

Title: Chocolate Wishes
Author: Trisha Ashley

Life is sweet for chocolate maker Chloe Lyon! Business is booming at her artisan chocolate-makers 'Chocolate Wishes' in the picture-perfect Lancashire village of Sticklepond - not least because all of Chloe's sweet treats contain an inspirational prediction for each customer. If only her own life was as easy to read in the cards, perhaps Chloe could have foreseen being jilted at the altar! But Chloe has long put thoughts of love behind her - after all, life is busy enough, especially as she tries to sort out her friends' tangled love lives and the village welcomes its new vicar, Raffy Sinclair. However, the village rumour mill goes into overdrive when it is revealed that Raffy is the distinctly unorthodox ex-front man of rock band 'Mortal Ruin' - and also happens to be Chloe's first love, who left her broken-hearted! Whilst Chloe tries to ignore this blast from her past, will she discover that wishes can come true when you least expect it!?

Trisha Ashley's latest offering Chocolate Wishes can be summed up as Chocolat meets Jane Austen, with dollops of magic and a dash of some oddly endearing characters. Chloe Lyon is a succesful chocolate maker who seems to have quite a few things going on in her life - a mother who's done a disappearing act, eccentric housemates in the form of a goth brother, a warlock for a grandfather and a gypsy aunt, and two particular 'blasts from the past', that if not upset, definitely sends tremors through her otherwise delightfully crazy existence. So, along with the introduction of a sexy, ex-rockstar of a vicar, we have an almost-satanic cult bobbing it's head in the village of Sticklepond (which also appeared in Trisha Ashley's 'A Winter's Tale') and together with mistaken paternal identities we have sprinklings of love portions and guardian angels!

Chocolate Wishes might have suffered from too-many-subplots syndrom if Trisha Ashley had not deftly blended in the magical and the mundane. Dialogue is certainly her strong point, for it is through the interactions of the characters that we get to know not just what they are thinking but also how the latest proceedings are affecting the Sticklepond locality, which is (inspite of being a first person narrative with focus on one particular character) an important aspect of the story. Having said that, characters are definitely where Trisha Ashley nails it, for her cast and supporting cast never fail to delight the reader and hold their interest. Some might say that the plot loosens at certain places but considering how I lurrve character-driven books more, that never was a problem with me.

I enjoyed Chocolate Wishes immensely and even if you are the rare anti-chocolate person, I recommend this to you and You and YOU.
Really, go read this. You might be tempted to take a dip in chocolate and live on chocolate for the rest of your life, but honestly, what's the harm in that? Who cares about getting fat when you can have all the chocolate you want?
(Warning: Delicious recipes inside)


katie Fforde said...

Trisha is one of the best writers around. I said it first! Katie Fforde

Bee said...

People, do you see something? Katie Fforde commented on my review! Yes, THE Katie Fforde *dies and goes to heaven*

Anonymous said...

...& you were the subject of a twitter conversation between Katie & Trisha! It is well deserved. Loved reading your review & I'm sure you will tempt others to go & read Chocolate Wishes!


Lydia Kang said...

I love a good review. Thanks! Why aren't there more chocolate novels out there? I can think of only two other, but there should be a zillion.

Tea said...

I would love to read this book. I love chocolate. Nothing like "dollops" of magic and "dollops" of recipes and love.


Tahereh said...

you are such an awesome book-reviewer. i thought i was reading some kind of promo jacket-flap thing before i realized it was your writing!!

you never cease to amaze me.

i think i have to go buy this book now.

<3 you!!

Bee said...

JFB57~ Really? And thank you! *goes to eavesread*

Lydia~ I second you! Book + Chocolate = Awesomeness. The scarcity hurts :(

Tea~ Yes, you should read this. Everyone should :))

Tahereh~ YOU never cease to amaze me
<3 you too!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great review, except now I'm craving chocolate. For breakfast.

Guess I'd better sneak some before my kids notice. :D

MBW aka Olleymae said...

Yeah, I second Stina...I think it was too early to read this. I try to avoid chocolate before lunch for the sake of my hips.

However, stellar book review. I love getting a glimpse at books that I might not pick up off the shelf myself. Usually (like now) they end up sounding pretty interesting.

Bee said...

Stina~ Chocoholics UNITE!

MBW~ Thanks! Who cares about an increasing waist size when you've got theobroma to cheer you up?!!


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