The Chocolate Promise…
Christmas Livingstone has 10 rules for happiness.
Nurturing the senses every day, doing what you love, and sharing joy with others are some of the rules but the most important for her is number 10 – ‘Absolutely no romantic relationships’.
Her life is good. In her enchantingly seductive shop, The Chocolate Apothecary, she tempers chocolate and creates handmade pieces; her friends and family surround her; and her secret life of wish granting brings joy to herself and others. She doesn’t need a handsome botanist ace who knows everything about cacao to walk into her life. One who has the nicest grandmother intent on interfering, who’s adopted a gorgeous rescue dog, and who needs her help to write a book on her passion, chocolate. She really doesn’t need any of that at all.
Or does she?
Set across Tasmania, Paris and Provence, this is a glorious novel of a creative woman about to find out how far in life a list of rules will take her, with an enticing tangle of freshly picked herbs, pots of flowers, and delicious chocolate scenting the background.
I decided on Good Friday that I was going to read a book about chocolate, seeing as it was the start of the Easter long weekend and I was already thinking about chocolate, even if it was in the form of eggs rather than something more gourmet. I have a few chocolate books waiting on my shelf to be read but I didn’t really need to deliberate for long, the gorgeous cover of The Chocolate Promise by Josephine Moon, making my decision a relatively easy one.
From the first page to the last, I have been spellbound by a sumptuous feast of chocolate laced love and laughter, with a little bit of heartache and a wonderful dollop of humour added in for good measure. I was already a fan of Josephine Moon, but The Chocolate Promise is now a firm favourite, a novel I can see myself returning to time and again, a cosy read that is best served with a hot beverage and a helping of something choc coated and in large supply.
For Christmas Livingstone, much of her journey within this novel was guided by her Top 10 Rules for Happiness, so in keeping with the spirit of this, I present to you, my Top 10 Reasons Why The Chocolate Promise is an Unforgettable Novel:
1. It’s all about chocolate. Making it, eating it, drinking it, selling it, where it comes from, how it gets from its original state to the piece you’re about to eat. And all of this is detailed in the most interesting and delectable manner.
2. It’s a wonderful love story without being a romance. Not that I have anything at all against romances, but sometimes it’s nice to not have the love story be the only point of the whole novel.
3. The Hairy McClary-isms that Christmas applies to the various townspeople. Very funny without ever being mean.
4. A main character named Christmas. How lovely and unique, a tiny little story in itself.
5. Lincoln van Luc. Absolutely endearing and gorgeous, with a heart of gold. A man who adores his grandmother and feels an instant affection for an abandoned dog.
6. Lincoln van Luc bathing his newly acquired dog, a scene so hilarious and well done that you can not only envisage it, but you’ll have to read it twice because of laughing so hard the first time around.
7. That french dog scene. No spoilers, but if you’ve read The Chocolate Promise, you know exactly what I’m talking about and if you haven’t you soon will about two-thirds of the way through.
8. The self-awareness Christmas shows, not only through her 10 Rules for Happiness, but in the entire way she has her life set up. She knows who she is and what she can cope with, and as the story progresses, she is comfortable enough with herself to embrace change, even if does break her own rules.
9. Earl Grey chocolate. I never knew this existed!
10. The excellent ending. No one ever wants a wonderful novel to end, its always a wrench, but this one finished on a great note, your imagination left to wander into the future, all sorts of scenarios unfolding for Christmas and Lincoln as well as their family and friends.
The Chocolate Promise is book 20 of my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.