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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Book Review - The Chocolatier's Secret by Helen J Rolfe

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Review by Suze
Andrew and Gemma are happy together. They live in Magnolia Creek where Andrew runs his own business. He's a successful chocolatier and he loves working in his new hometown. His father Louis is ill and he lives close to Andrew and Gemma so they can take care of them. He needs a kidney transplant and is on dialysis several times a week. Gemma and Andrew share his care while they are also planning their own future. Andrew's biggest wish is to become a father, but so far he and Gemma haven't had any luck. Andrew and Gemma can deal with a lot, but when Andrew receives a shocking message from his high school sweetheart their lives are suddenly being turned upside down.
Molly wants to have answers about the past. To get them she has to fly from England to Australia though. She is afraid of flying, but wants to overcome her fear. Her brothers wedding will be in America and she can't let him get married without her, so she has a clear goal she wants to achieve. She's joined an online support group and that's where she meets Ben. He offers to accompany her on the first part of her journey and they instantly click. Will this be their only chance to spend time together or will fate help them a little?
I love Magnolia Creek. It's a wonderful and welcoming place and I really enjoyed Helen J Rolfe's vivid descriptions of the town and its inhabitants. She makes her setting and characters come to life very well. I instantly loved being taken back there. The Chocolatier's Secret is the second part of a series that can easily be read as a standalone. Andrew's shop is quite new, but he and his family are already part of the community. The warmth of the Magnolia Creek residents is amazing to read about. I hope I'll be able to read many more stories about them.
Helen Rolfe's writing has an easy flow. Her atmosphere is laidback, while there's still a lot of depth in the story. She writes about difficult topics, problems with having children and adoption, in a sensitive and touching realistic way. There are plenty of different emotional layers. I loved the contrasts, there's sadness and joy, anger and unconditional acceptance, fear and bravery and there are secrets and truths. The ending is unexpected and sweet, which is something I also liked a lot.
Andrew is a chocolatier and therefore chocolate plays an important part in The Chocolatier's Secret. I loved reading Helen Rolfe's mouthwatering descriptions of his creations. He has a fantastic business where everyone feels at home. Reading about places like that puts a big smile on my face. I liked that Helen Rolfe has done her research about the chocolate making process. Her writing about Andrew's profession gives a lot of information combined with tempting descriptions. All of this makes The Chocolatier's Secret a delicious, heartwarming story.
Review by Tanya

  Andrew Bennett owns a chocolate shop in Magnolia Creek. He lives with his wife Gemma, who has unfortunately recently had her fourth miscarriage. Andrew’s father Louis lives in an annex of their house. He is having dialysis numerous times a week and is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. At the start of the book Andrew has some surprise news from a former girlfriend, which he is worried will put a lot more pressure on the relationship with his wife.
 Molly is a midwife in England and has always known that she was adopted. Something important happens that makes her want to find her father. She travels from England to Australia with her good looking friend Ben. They got to know each other via an online support group and he's offered to help her overcome her fears. With his help she's trying to find out the truth. She will uncover some important secrets of the past and possibly she will also find a future for herself.

The Chocolatier's Secret is written from the point of view of various main characters, Molly, Andrew, Louis, Gemma and Ben each have their own chapters. It's interesting to read about so many different people and the writing flows really well. It is great to see the opinions and thinking of the different personalities and it meant I was eager to read the next chapter.

Molly is a strong, caring and thoughtful woman, which is shown in many ways throughout the story. She is determined to fight her fear of flying, so that she can find her father. That she's willing to do that shows how strong she is. Her vulnerability is touched upon a few times and I really felt for her, I wanted to see her be happy and not hurt. I enjoyed how Helen Rolfe brought Ben into the mix when Molly is petrified of flying and that they meet on an online Facebook forum. The relationship between them and the banter is so lovely to read about and I absolutely wanted them to get together. I found it pleasing how he supports and pushes her to approach her father.

Gemma is another incredibly strong character. Her attitude and behaviour when she miscarriages shocked me and I have big respect for her as I know I did not behave that way when it happened to me. I found myself really warming to her, because she seems to be the centre of the family and is thinking of others the majority of the time.

I liked how some of the characters and situations from the first book of the Magnolia Creek series were in this book and it was nice to meet them again. I also appreciated reading about Ben's family. Helen Rolfe cleverly writes about his history and I easily remembered while I didn’t initially recognise who he was. However, this book can easily be read as a standalone, as the explanations are clear and there isn't too much overlap.

The situation of adoption was very well approached in the story and the experience that Helen has shows in the writing. It made me think and appreciate the various ways people can be affected. The Chocolatier's Secret is the second book set in Magnolia Creek and I hope there will be many more. This is a great read and I highly recommend it.


  1. Loved the characters as described in the review, must be an awesome read!

  2. Is the book out already? I was hoping this would be a sequel to the first story, but id doesn't seems so. Ahh... I want this book.

    1. Yes it is and I'm very sure you will enjoy it.

  3. Thank you. I hope you get the book.

  4. Thank you for the review . Sounds great.

  5. Thank you for such indepth and honest reviews. This sounds really well written dealing with tough subjects but having fun too.

  6. It's not the sort of thing I'd generally read although I do like books written from the perspectives of the various protagonists.

  7. I think I might I read it. We can read the different perspectives of the characters. Interesting.

  8. It sounds like Andrew really has his hands full. Having a chocolate shop in the family might be the death of me!