I've read a few of Caroline Roberts' books now and have really enjoyed each of them for what they are: light-hearted, fun, sweet, cosy reads with charming characters and yummy food. If there is one thing that the author excels at is how she describes the food in her novels, and this one is no exception. I was hungry from start to finish reading about all the different types of chocolates that Emma made in her shop; they sounded absolutely gorgeous and I wanted to try every single one of them.
The chocolates were one of the main focal points of the Christmas element of the book. I know it may sound odd that I decided to pick a Christmas book in March, but it wasn't really that prominent in the plot. The book started and ended at Christmas but there was a whole journey through the busy times in a chocolatier's calendar (Valentine's Day, Easter, etc) in the middle. The festive flavoured treats and the build up to Christmas through the decoration of the shop was the height of the festive feel for me, so I never felt overwhelmed by reading about Christmas at the wrong time of the year.
Emma was a very endearing female lead for the story. She was kind, hard-working and just the right amount of vulnerable to make you root for her instead of feel sorry for her. Watching her go on a journey of rediscovery, gaining strength and confidence throughout was inspiring. As charming as the romance plot was, it was lovely that it felt secondary to Emma's story as an individual.
The sense of community that threads through the book is lovely - it made me want to move to the village. Emma had wonderful friends and the unity that everyone shows in helping Emma make a success of her business in the face of challenge was very engaging. My favourite village inhabitant was Holly. She was vibrant, gentle and generous teenager who volunteered time and help freely without expectations, as well as offering smart, thoughtful ideas for Emma's shop; it was refreshing.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and look forward to picking up with Emma and her delicious chocolates in the sequel.
The snow is falling, the hot chocolate’s warming, and hearts are melting . . .
Emma is the proud owner of The Chocolate Shop by the Sea, nestled in the heart of the cosy seaside village that’s become her home. With Christmas right around the corner, she and her assistant Holly are busy cooking up the locals’ festive favourites.
From cinnamon hot chocolates to reindeer lollipops, Christmas wouldn’t taste the same without a little cocoa magic. And for Emma it’s the perfect distraction from her romantic pains of the past. So when the shop’s miserly landlord threatens to hike up the rent, Emma’s Christmas and New Year suddenly look a lot less cheerful.
With the whole village rallying behind her – and loyal spaniel Alfie by her side – Emma’s determined to hold onto her chocolate-box dream.
The chocolate calendar countdown is on. Can Emma rescue her business and her broken heart?
You can buy the book here now. It was published by One More Chapter.