Love & Chocolate by Gail Cleare

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.

Includes four recipes from The Three Chocolatiers Cookbook.

Title: Love & Chocolate
Author: Gail Cleare
Series: /
Pages: 217
Genre(s): Contemporary, US
Hot Buttons: /


I’m a huge fan of chocolate and a huge fan of romance - it would be like Sophie’s choice if I had to pick between the two! - so I was a little surprised when I just didn’t take to this book. I tried really hard to get into it but it was obviously just not meant for me.

We start off well enough with Sarah and Blake and their obvious attraction for each other. The author does a very good job of setting the scene and painting a picture for the reader. But…that’s also the first negative that I found. We are given so much detail - down to the very minutiae of what’s going on at any one time (the crinkle of the packet for the dog’s biscuits, the smell of them, the slobber on the dogs chops etc) - that it lost some of the sparkle and I felt went off every which way just to build a complete picture.

Then came the online chats between CocoLvr and HotNCold. And I could not cringe any harder. I actually could barely read them it was so embarrassing. It was like reading your mum and dad attempting to sext each other. *Shudders* And having dated online myself, I can tell you right now that if anyone writes ‘how r u’ or ‘c u l8r’ etc etc - you shouldn’t have sex with them. And, for that matter, if someone messages you and the very first thing they say to you is ‘want to cyber(sex)?’ the answer should also be a resounding no. Have some standards, people. Good grief.

And after all that we don’t even get any good stuff when they get down to the (real-life) dirty deed. The door is closed. And locked. The front door is guarded by a snarling dog and the moat is filled. We got nothing. It might have saved the book for me - it might not. I guess we’ll never know.

Finally in my list of grievances, we have the story itself. Sarah and Blake like each other at the beginning of the book. So there’s very little story to tell. Oh sure, we’ve got Sarah’s grandfather’s heart attack (which happens so early in the book that I wasn’t emotionally connected enough to care about) and the running of the chocolate restaurant (which I don’t believe could have lasted 1 month the way it was described as being run) but this is supposed to be a romance and there just wasn’t enough there, in my opinion, to make this a decent story. And if the roles were reversed, and it was Blake who slept with Sarah then ignored her for 2 weeks, and then jumped to conclusions when he saw her with another man and called her choice names - I don’t think that would have gone down so well. And I’m not game for that kind of double standard.

There were also some confusing parts where I’m not sure if Blake (and his brother at times) were being misogynistic, if they were being funny or I was just overly sensitive. Just things like ‘she should have fallen for me by now - I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do’, ‘go to the bathroom and do the things you females do’, ‘Most women seemed interested in him - Sarah’s reaction was illogical’ — just language and actions that made me uncomfortable for some reason - especially in  a book (presumably) written recently.

Despite not really enjoying the story, I had to give the book 2 stars rather than 1, because I did get to the end - even if I was skimming through chunks here and there.

This book just didn’t hit the right mark with me, I’m afraid. Having looked at other reviews, it would seem that I’m very much in the minority - so if the you love chocolate, and the premise of the story hits the spot - then I would still recommend you give this a go. But still only 2 stars from me.


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* I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *


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