*I was sent a copy of Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Boldwood Books and Jessica Redland*
CW: substance abuse, self-harm, cheating, gaslighting
Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…
When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.
Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!
With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.
But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…
This was book was good but it definitely does not sit anywhere near the top of my favourite festive reads. This mostly being because for over half of the book it isn’t even Christmas or even December. Everything took too long to get started and I found myself losing interest quite early on. I did stick with it, as I’m not really a quitter and it was an ok read.
When the book finally did get to the Christmas period it was over before it felt like it has really begun and then suddenly there’s a time jump of a year. This made the first part of the book feel a little pointless, other than setting up character relationships, but a lot of content could have been cut without changing the main parts of the story.
Speaking of relationships, the dynamics between some characters was just horrific to witness. There was a lot of gaslighting and toxicity within these relationships and a lot of heavy topics were covered. Obviously, this isn’t a totally bad thing as it does give the story more realness and depth, but it’s not something I personally want to read about in a festive romance.
For the majority of the book, I was wondering where the title of the book was going to come into play. It felt to me that the ‘wish’ part of the book was a definite afterthought that was added so the book could have a cute title. The main character Charlee didn’t wish for anything until near the very end and even then these wishes were mentioned in passing.
I’ve made it sound like I really hated this book, but I didn’t I promise. As I said in the first part of this review it was ok – not the worst but definitely not the best.
I liked the relationship between Charlee and Jodie and thought that the found family trope was used quite well. Jodie was actually my favourite character with her funny one-liners and good advice.
The romantic relationship that comes into play felt very natural and wasn’t entirely rushed. With the way the book ended it should have seemed like it was, but they had known each other for over a year so I let it slide.
Charlee was a decent main character who had a great deal of development in such a short time. When she was with her useless boyfriend she was a complete pushover and I really hated that she wouldn’t stand up for herself. However in the end she really grew as a person and I like her more for it.
The chocolate shop seemed like a really nice setting and I would have loved to have more of the story set inside it during the Christmas period. Although saying that, the Christmassy parts of the book were really nice, I will not be reading this book again anytime soon.
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