I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
by Susan Bishop Crispell
Released: February 6th 2018
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
“In general I though the characters were shallow and the magical realism aspect was very clumsy.”
~ Under the Covers
I’ve not read much women’s fiction, I don’t tend to gravitate towards it; however, after being captured by the beautiful cover, the mention of chocolate and the hint of magical realism I decided to branch out and give it a try. Unfortunately it didn’t work out as well as I was hoping.
My expectations going in, is that it may be a bit of a tear jerker, after all there was a terminally ill child involved, but that wasn’t the case. It was actually quite…uplifting and it was hard not to charmed by the Ella, the child in question. My issue was, was that she was the only character I liked in this book. In general I though the characters were shallow and the magical realism aspect was very clumsy.
The magic came in the form of the chocolate that Penelope, Ella’s mother, made, which, is a lovely (if not very original) idea. But the way it worked was heavy handed when compared with other books I have read such as Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Then there was the characters of Penelope and Noah.
Noah is the unknowing father of Ella who left town before knowing that Penelope was pregnant. And Penelope never decided to enlighten him. Which, for me is unforgivable, as the reason she didn’t tell him seemed to stem from a teenage fit of hurt feelings. The book told us that Penelope and Noah had this helpless attraction towards one another, however, I failed to see it and the author failed to show it.
This book wasn’t for me, many of the story lines, such as the romance and the magical chocolate fell flat for me. If you want magical realism with some real emotional punch behind it please check out Sarah Addison Allen, her books never fail to amaze me.
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Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?