16 January 2010

Review: The Chocolatier's Wife

by Cindy Lynn Speer

A beautifully sweet story (pun unashamedly intended).

OK, leaving aside the fact that anything having to do with chocolate is almost automatically certain to be a hit with me, this really was a great story. Set in a world far, far away where marriages are 'arranged' by magic and one's mate is usually determined when one is very young, the story consists partly of letters written back and forth between William and his 'intended', Tasmin, over the course of the time before they meet and partly of the 'present day', in which William has been framed for murder and Tamsin comes to free him, since she knows from his letters that he's no murderer.

Their letters to each other alone are a good enough reason to read the book. They are charming and cleverly written, not only because they subtly reveal the nature of each of the main characters, but also because they evolve through the story, moving along from the first letter William writes as a 7 year old to Tamsin as an infant to them writing back and forth as adults. This imparts a depth to the characters and the sense that you have known them their whole lives yourself.

Meanwhile, in the main storyline, touches of magic, mystery, and romance are deftly woven together into a memorable tale that I really didn't want to end, since it meant leaving William and Tamsin's world. Throughout, author Cindy Lynn Speer's eloquent writing repeatedly put a smile on my face just from appreciation of the sheer skill it takes to write sentences that are cleverly put together, but still easy to follow.

So, in short, if you like a well-constructed, sweet (but not sappy) story spiked with a bit of whodunnit, The Chocolatier's Wife is Very Highly Recommended!