The second novel from “foodie” fiction writer, Josephine Moon lives up to its title as it contains a lot of chocolate and promise. This light and romantic comedy is an easy read that will make you think about chocolate as many times as the film, Julie & Julia made you want to eat French cuisine. It’s a good one but it’s by no means perfect. The Chocolate Promise looks set to be like that big box of family assortment, where some elements and flavours will be enjoyed by some people and others will prefer different types.
The story is set in Tasmania and France’s Provence and Paris. The book stars the ridiculously-named, Christmas Livingstone (and it is revealed rather late in the book as to why she’s called this). Early on as you read the story, it can be hard to get your brain to switch off from thinking about the holiday, rather than the character at every mention of her.
Livingstone has had her heart broken previously so she now lives by a set of ten strict rules in order to ensure her happiness. These range from pleasurable ones like nurturing your senses, doing what you love and having massages through to the rather curious one that forbids romantic relationships. Livingstone is ultimately faced with a few dilemmas once she is offered the chance to go to a chocolate course headed up by a master in Paris and when a sexy, handsome and well-travelled botanist arrives in her tiny, Tasmanian hometown.
This novel is rather predictable and at times it reads like Tasmania’s answer to Chocolat. Some of the minor characters could have done with some additional characterisation but overall, these are minor quibbles in a story that is as uplifting and fun as keeping company with old friends can be. In short, this is an afternoon delight and quaint, little love story for fans of Marian Keyes and Monica McInerney.
***Please note: a free copy of this book was given to the writer through a The Reading Room giveaway. To read the original review on that website please visit: https://www.thereadingroom.com/book/chocolate-promise/9222192