Promises so much, and yet…

chocolatepromiseBook Review:  The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon

The one promise this book delivers is that of chocolate. There are lots of beautiful descriptions of making, eating, and drinking chocolate in this novel. The book should actually come with a warning for those of us trying to lose weight.

The promise of anything else, however…

Christmas (I probably wouldn’t have minded this name until I got the explanation of it near the end of the book which was quite pathetic given her mother’s behaviour throughout) wrote herself a list of rules to live by after breaking up with her boyfriend. Rule number ten is ‘absolutely no romantic relationships’.

Don’t get fooled by the publicity or blurb of the book. The rules, after they’re printed on the first page of the book, are rarely referred to again. And even when number ten is, it’s Christmas telling herself that she will obviously have to break it. So, all in all, the rules are not an important part of the plot.

Christmas is working in her shop (I must admit, I seriously want to go to this shop) when in walks Lincoln, a bearded biologist who’s just returned from South America. Their romance works for the first half of the book, but somewhere along the line the weakness of the obligatory conflict affected my overall enjoyment of the book. Their chemistry is questionable, and at times I assumed they were falling in love simply because there were no other possible candidates in their vicinity.

The author also introduces several characters but then dumps them without offering any resolution. Christmas’s father is probably the biggest one who I was left confused about after turning the final page. Yes, there is a lovely moment between Christmas and her ex-stepfather, but it doesn’t make up for the whole build up of the novel which indicated Christmas would get some closure with the French perhaps-goat farmer. Why include the trip to France for nothing?

Also in France we met the South African hottie, Jackson. I really didn’t understand the point to his character at all. Christmas is obviously attracted to him, she gets butterflies in the tummy etc when he’s around, but oh wait, she’s in love with Lincoln… She even invites Jackson into stay with her in her motel and I’m not naive enough to believe she really meant on that foldout bed, but oh wait, she’s in love with Lincoln…

Lincoln meanwhile has more chemistry with Christmas’s friend, Emily, and their ‘meet cute’ situations were much more fun than any he had with Christmas.

Christmas’s sideline occupation of being a fairy godmother is also brought into the book only to be tossed aside. I assume it’s a way to show us how wonderful a person Christmas is, but like a lot of other stuff, it doesn’t work. The chocolate making course Christmas attends too, is just filler and really adds nothing to the actual plot.

Maybe everything would have worked better if the book was cut up and used for another time. I think there’s too much going on. Perhaps Moon would have been better off focusing on just Christmas’s family and leaving Lincoln’s plethora of relatives and their many issues for another time or vice versa.

I did like the Tasmanian and French settings. I love it when books make you itch to jump on a plane and visit their settings, and this was definitely the feeling I got as I read.

And as I’ve said, the descriptions of the chocolate were also very lovely, even if the technical aspects did get a little preachy at times (yes, I’m one of those horrid people who just buys chocolate at the grocery store, sue me).

I received this via the Reading Room and there were no obvious errors in my advanced copy (as I’ve seen other people mention in reviews).

I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy weekend read that’s a little more meaty than a Mills & Boon but still ultimately forgettable.

3.5 stars out of 5.

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