In brief: It’s nearly Easter and the Gingerbread Café is in the midst of all things chocolate. But will the return of Lil’s ex-husband sour everything?
The good: The novella has the same heart-warming feeling as Christmas at the Gingerbread Café, plus there’s CHOCOLATE!
The not-so-good: Comfortably read in a night (but I believe there are more books in the series coming…)
Why I chose it: I love chocolate and I love Rebecca Raisin’s writing. Thank you Carina UK for the eARC.
Publisher: Carina UK
Setting: Connecticut, USA
My rating: 9 out of 10
I have been eating quite a bit of chocolate lately. Yesterday I attended a chocolate masterclass at a 5-star hotel. This afternoon I’m planning to make custard filled Easter eggs and candied orange chocolate rounds. For all of this, I blame Lil and CeeCee. I suppose it’s a bit odd to blame book characters for chocolate cravings, but once you start reading Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café, you’ll see where I’m coming from. These ladies are wildly inventive in making delicious chocolate treats in preparation for Easter at the Gingerbread Café. A café that I would seek out if it was not a) on the other side of the world and b) fictional.
Last year, I adored the first book in the series, Christmas at the Gingerbread Café. The story was warm, cosy and truly filled with a holiday cheer. I could resist the gingerbread treats made by CeeCee and Lil because I’m not really a ginger fan.
But this year? I cannot resist chocolate, which makes Chocolate Dreams at the Gingerbread Café so delicious. Resistance is futile.
The story is set just before Easter as Lil and CeeCee are going into chocolate overload in preparation for a chocolate festival in Ashford. Life is sweet for Lil – she and Damon are happy together and Charlie, Damon’s daughter is a cute addition to the story. But the arrival of Joel, Lil’s ex-husband has ramifications for Lil and her business. Damon wants money back from Lil used in establishing the Gingerbread Café. Money that Lil doesn’t have and doesn’t want to accept from Damon. How can she solve this? Is this the end of the Gingerbread Café?
Joel is a truly horrible character – almost like the Grinch, as you can feel the lovely small town, festive feel of Ashford drain away whenever he appears. He’s slimy and greasy with a selfish attitude – Lil, what were you thinking when you married him? He’s a blot on the landscape with only one person who can drive him away – CeeCee. I adore CeeCee – she has the best sayings, awesome recipes and she’s a kind person (which is revealed more in this book). I would say that Lil is lucky to have a friend like her, but Lil is just as good a person as CeeCee. Despite her troubles in this book, Lil is wise and sensible.
Once again, Rebecca’s writing is evocative – whether it be describing chocolate treats or the evil Damon. Her stories always transport me into the world of the Gingerbread Café, making me feel snug and safe in the world she’s created. I can’t wait to read more about Lil and Damon (I believe there is another book at Christmas). I’m also looking forward to getting to know Sarah, the bookshop owner near the Gingerbread Café in more detail. Her story, The Bookshop on the Corner, is due for release in June 2014 and involves her love for romance books.