Sunday, 28 April 2019

Book Club Book Review: The Chocolate Maker's Wife (Historical Fiction)

The Chocolate Maker's Wife
Karen Brooks

Publisher: Harper Collins 
Imprint: HQ Fiction
Publication Date: 18th February 2019
Pages: 608
Format Read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Beauty & Lace book club 

Growing up in an impoverished household with a brutal family, Rosamund Tomkins is both relieved and terrified when her parents all but sell her in a marriage of convenience to a wealthy nobleman, Sir Everard Blithman. Though Rosamund will finally be free of the torment she’d become accustomed to in her childhood home, she doesn’t know if she’s traded one evil for another. But much to her surprise, Rosamund soon discovers that her arranged marriage is more of a blessing than curse. For her new husband recognizes not only Rosamund’s unusual beauty, but also her charm and vibrancy, which seem to enchant almost everyone who crosses her path.

Sir Everard presides over a luxurious London chocolate house where wealthy and well-connected men go to be seen, exchange news, and indulge in the sweet and heady drink to which they have become addicted. It is a life of luxury and power that Rosamund had never imagined for herself, and she thrives in it, quickly becoming the most talked-about woman in society, desired and respected in equal measure. But when disaster strikes, Rosamund stands on the brink of losing all she possesses. Determined not to return to poverty, Rosamund makes a deal with the devil that could preserve her place in society—or bring her the greatest downfall.

The story follows 17 year old Rosamund Ballister in a Cinderella style tale when she is married to Sir Everard Blithman and taken away from her home where she is treated like a servant and abused by her step-father and step-brothers. However Sir Everard has plans for Rosamund and those plans are mainly as a source of revenge. 

Sir Everard is kind and courteous. He encourages Rosamund to take an interest in his new chocolate house. Drinking chocolate was new to England and was professed to cure ailments. Rosamond had a flair for chocolate making and her beauty and easy manner drew many customers.

As time went on cracks began to show and doubts set in as to Sir Everard’s benevolence.
Set in 1660’s London The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a fascinating portrayal of that era. Brooks’ descriptions of the chocolate making and the different additives used to enhance it were enthralling. With this period in time going through some shocking upheavals such as political and religious unrest, suppression of the press, the great plague and the fires of London it makes for a compelling tale.

The Chocolate Maker’s Wife is a story filled with treason, deceit and lies all centred around a delicious chocolaty heart.

This review is part of the Beauty & Lace book club.

My rating  8/10

*this review is part of the Book Lover Book Review Aussie author challenge
and book #13 in the Australian Women Writers challenge

Photo credit: Goodreads
Karen Brooks is the author of twelve books, an academic of more than twenty years experience a newspaper columnist and a social commentator, and has appeared regularly on national TV and radio. Before turning to academia, she was an army officer for five yaers, and prior to that dabbled in acting.                                                         

She lives in Hobart, Tasmania, in a beautiful stone house with its own marvellous history. When she's not writing, she's helping her husband Stephen in his brewery. Captain Bligh's Ale and Cider, or cooking for family and friends, travelling, cuddling and walking her dogs, stroking her cats, or curled up with a great book and dreaming of stories.

1 comment:

  1. A lovely review, I only rarely eat chocolate, I prefer savoury rather than sweet.