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The Chocolatier’s Wife- A Review

March 16, 2009

Cindy Lynn Speer’s enchanting voice drew me in from the very first page of this charming, beautifully written tale.

The title of which, had my Muse throwing wonderfully counter-productive hints to go into the kitchen and make myself some hot cocoa. To which I, of course, caved. But that is another story for another time.

From the Drollerie Press website, here is the Blurb for The Chocolatier’s Wife:

Tasmin, William’s wife to be, was chosen by a spell, as all wives and husbands are chosen. It’s a nice, tidy way to find a reasonable mate for almost everyone.  Unfortunately, Tasmin is from the North, a place of magic and strange ritual, and William is from the South, where people pride themselves on being above the kind of insanity practiced by the Northerners, which has nothing to do with the fact that most people in the South have lost their ability to practice magic.

William doesn’t seem in a hurry to send for Tasmin, for which none of his family blame him. After all, she’s a barbarian.  She, on the other hand, would like to know what’s keeping him.  When he’s framed for murdering his patron, Tasmin takes matters into her own hands, harnessing the wind to bring her to William’s side. She’s gotten to know Wiliam from his letters. He’s not a murderer and she’s going to help him prove it.

William, incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit is shunned by his family for the embarrassment, and for giving up the family shipping business for foolishness, and for saddling them with a Hag for a wife, which means he can’t protect Tasmin from his family’s cold dislike of his barbiaran wife-to-be–but that’s not the worst of it.

Someone out there doesn’t like him and is begining to dislike Tasmin almost as much, and that someone isn’t at all averse to making sure William and Tasmin aren’t around long enough to celebrate their wedding.
Tasmin, of course, has other plans.
And yet, it’s so much more. A Fantasy, Mystery and Romance all thrown into one. (Lets not forget the chocolate!) I’m a very avid Fantasy reader and simply adore the genre, while I seem to only take to Romance in the fantasy genre, but Mystery is something I’ve been quite fascinated with for awhile and the implementation of it into a fantasy setting greatly appealed to me.
The book was slow-paced, but I do not use it as a criticism. I felt it worked well for both the romance and mystery aspects of the book. I got to enjoy the subtle romance building between William and Tasmin, got to fully appreciate as they come to accept and love one another.  Given their arranged marriage, I would have thought ‘learned to accept and love one another’ might be a more fitting statement but that’s is not the case here, and for that I must applaud Ms. Speer’s approach. She wove the romantic thread well, not going for the road more usually traveled by having the two dislike one another or unnecessarily antagonistic.
The worldbuilding was also quite fascinating. The conflict between the South and the North, the mages, the sprites (oh, I adored the wind sprites!) was again, subtly working into the plot. Un-intrusive, gracefully added and you get just enough to leave you wondering a little more about it. Well, at least in my case, since I seem to be developing a fascination for cultures and worldbuilding.
In any regard, I really liked this book and I will definitely be checking out more of Ms. Speer’s work. In fact I am now mourning the fact that I chose another book of her other title Every Word I Speak. Which I will be adding to my cart the next time I am fortunate enough to get some Drollerie Books. *g*
For an excerpt, you can go here. Or better yet, to purchase The Chocolatier’s Wife and see how wnderful it is for yourself, allow me to be so bold as to inquire that you go here. (In fact I dare you to go there, look at the cover and tell me you’re not tempted by that alone. *Le Sigh* Drollerie does such beautiful covers.)
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