Review: The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop – Caroline Roberts

Review: The Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop – Caroline RobertsThe Cosy Christmas Chocolate Shop
by Caroline Roberts
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: November 2, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 330
Source: NetGalley

I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating: One StarOne StarOne Star

Emma is the proud owner of The Chocolate Shop by the Sea, nestled in the heart of the cosy seaside village that’s become her home. With Christmas right around the corner, she and her assistant Holly are busy cooking up the locals’ festive favorites.

From cinnamon hot chocolates to reindeer lollipops, Christmas wouldn’t taste the same without a little cocoa magic. And for Emma it’s the perfect distraction from her romantic pains of the past. So when the shop’s miserly landlord threatens to hike up the rent, Emma’s Christmas and New Year suddenly look a lot less cheerful.

With the whole village rallying behind her – and loyal spaniel Alfie by her side – Emma’s determined to hold onto her chocolate-box dream.
The chocolate calendar countdown is on. Can Emma rescue her business and her broken heart?

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After a personal tragedy seven years ago, Emma has thrown herself running a chocolate shop in the harbor village of Warkton-by-the-Sea.  She has a successful shop, a sweet dog, and the support of her friends and family – what else could she possibly need?  A chance meeting (and a passionate kiss!) during a walk on the beach make Emma slowly realize that maybe the last ingredient she’s missing is…. love.

OK, ok, that was a bit cheesy, but honestly, this book is just so sweet, cozy and feel-good that I feel myself turning into one of those movie trailer narrators.  The story takes place over a year at the chocolate shop, from one Christmas season to the next.  The pacing starts out slowly as the inhabitants of Warkton are introduced, but then picks up steam towards the end of the book.  Through it all, the descriptions of chocolates were mouth-wateringly delicious.  I liked the characters, but I did find most of them, besides Emma, to be a bit flat.  Emma’s hesitations about getting into a new relationship are detailed and believable, and her growth in the latter half of the book is shown well.
As for cons, it took a long time (nearly half the book) for the romance to really take off.  While I enjoyed reading the non-romance bits, and I found the description of Emma’s life helpful to contrast to what she had while in a relationship, I had expected the romance to play a larger part.  I was also weirded out a bit by a side relationship.  Emma’s part-time helper, Holly, is 16, and she begins dating a guy who’s 20, and nobody bats an eye about the age difference.  Maybe I’m just an old fogey, or maybe things are different in England, but that would’ve been a big deal when I was a teenager, and I can’t imagine my family or friends being OK with it.
Overall, an enjoyable, if unspectacular, read.  Perfect for curling up on a cold day with a cuppa and a box of chocolate truffles!
Three chocolate-dipped stars.


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