I have the privilege of kicking off the blog tour for one of my favourite authors today, as Isabella May returns with The Chocolate Box. Many thanks to Isabella for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the tour.
Ellie Sanchez wants revenge. Spurned during her school days at prestigious Monty’s academy when she was plain Eleanor Finch, and played second fiddle to her idol, Barnaby Westwood, and his show-off sister, Clementine, Ellie will stop at nothing to turn the tables now she’s all grown up. The siblings and their snubbing have been the catalyst for everything that’s gone wrong in her life, from parental neglect to her divorce.
When the Westwood travel merchandise company advertises for a new HR manager, Ellie decides her unique combo of karma and Law of Attraction has finally come good. And she’ll be bagging herself a cherry-on-the-cake, second, and richer, husband in the process – once Barnaby sees how much she’s changed, anyway.
Fast forward two years and he STILL doesn’t recognise her!
Fast forward two years and the company is in a financial mess.
Last Chance Saloon-style, Ellie coerces the siblings and their older sister, Brooke (the perpetual spanner in her works) to a rustic gîte in Normandy for a spot of team-building… over a very ‘special’ box of artisan chocolates.
Cue ALL the fireworks in the cocoa bean version of Jumanji…
As ever, it is impossible to review a book by Isabella May without first taking a moment to admire the delectable cover. Isabella’s covers always make my mouth water and send me scurrying to the fridge or snack cupboard before I settle down to read – and believe me, with this book, perhaps even more so than her previous books, you are going to want a decent supply of chocolate on hand for this one. In fact, I finished reading the book over a week ago and I still can’t stopping eating chocolate!
Setting aside talk of chocolate, for now at least, there is so much to love about this book that I am not too sure where to start. Of all the colourful characters in The Chocolate Box, Brooke was my favourite, somehow remaining sweet natured, despite being constantly being beaten down by her spoiled siblings Barnaby and Clementine. I found Ellie a slightly harder character to warm to at first. Her obsession with Barnaby makes her seem more than a little crazy and uncaring of who she tramples on to get to him. However, it didn’t take long for her to find her own place in my heart as the secrets of her past came to light.
Throughout the book, there are interesting interview snippets with Jock and Julie which hint at the drama to come as the full story unfolds. Jock and Julie are a fantastic double act deserving of their own book, which I am sure they could fill with wonderful stories.
Now, back to chocolate, or specifically, the eponymous Chocolate Box. Simply reading the delicious descriptions of the decadent chocolates in the fabulous box from Chez Chocolat made my mouth water, although I think I might be less keen on some of the side effects that came with them. Never in the history of chocolates has one innocent looking box been the cause of so much mayhem!
Once again Isabella May has crafted a colourful cast of characters in a magical book that looks at how the way we treat people can have far reaching consequences. Filled with emotion, humour and a sprinkling of the mystical, The Chocolate Box is a wonderful, if potentially fattening, read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.
After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!
All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.
You can follow her Foodie Romance Journey series on social media.
Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more about The Chocolate Box.