Genre: Romance/Women’s Lit
“When Sarah Westwood’s deadbeat husband deserts her and their young son, she takes a job at her family’s restaurant, The Three Chocolatiers, working with her famous chef grandfather and her pastry chef cousin, Paisley. Determined to never fall for the wrong guy again, Sarah vows to stick to chocolate and steer clear of men, especially her delicious ice-cream supplier, Blake Harrison. But when Paisley signs her up for a dating site, Sarah is soon engaging in a sexy online flirtation with a stranger.
Blake Harrison wants nothing more than for Sarah to give him a chance, but all she’ll give him is the cold shoulder. Never one to run from a challenge, he works on becoming the kind of man Sarah can’t refuse. And since he just happens to be on the same dating site, he’s not above using a little cyber-intel to worm his way into her heart.
When Sarah’s grandfather collapses just weeks before an upscale chocolate-themed wedding that could make or break the business, the staff of The Three Chocolatiers is sent into a tailspin. With the pressure rising on personal and professional fronts, Sarah might just have to let someone sweet melt her defenses.”
“USA Today Bestselling author Gail Cleare used to write for newspapers, magazines, ad agencies, Fortune 50 companies and AOL. Now she writes fiction, and lives on an 18th century farm in Massachusetts with her family and dogs, cats, chickens, black bears, blue herons, rushing streams and wide, windy skies. When not on the computer, Gail is usually working in her organic vegetable garden or absorbed in nature photography. She can often be found stalking wild creatures with a 300 mm lens.”
To learn more please visit her website.
Sarah Westwood has her professional persona under control. She is confident, well spoken, and a quick learner. Her personal life is quite the opposite. Her ex-husband pulled the rug out from under her and she crashed. Her family is well aware how emotionally fragile she is. They never miss a chance to try to bolster her with a bit too much praise, which she readily accepts. Her cousin Paisley, who is the pastry chef at their grandfather’s restaurant, set Sarah up a profile on a local dating site after a few too many bottles of wine between them. You know, just for some anonymous sexy fun, never intending to actually meet any men in person.
I thought the story started off strong with a lot of promise. Sarah could easily speak and flirt with Blake Harrison, who was part owner of an ice cream business with his brother, which supplied the restaurant with their signature ice cream. As manager of The Three Chocolatiers she dealt with him often. Then her personal relationship insecurities reared their ugly head when she started feeling an attraction to him, and now she bolts every time he comes near. Blake is ready for a serious relationship and not easily ignored. He recognizes what she is doing but doesn’t understand why.
Sarah develops a relationship with a man online who is sympathetic and easy to talk to as long as the situation is anonymous. Blake is a great guy and I got tired of her inner dialogue with her insecurities. Time and time again I wanted to slap some sense into her. I have little tolerance for that kind of crap from weak characters. It becomes an endless circle and I find that tiring.
There are some interesting plot twists that will keep the reader involved. I found the characters well developed and the scenes put the reader right in the middle of the action. There were just a couple of plot points I didn’t buy. If you don’t mind reading stories about women needing rescuing, even if it is from themselves, you will enjoy this book.
At the end of Love & Chocolate there are four recipes from The Three Chocolatiers Cookbook to be enjoyed.
I didn’t run across any significant issues.
Rating: *** Three Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words