Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Desire for Chocolate by Care Santos

I’ll start by admitting that I’m not really a chocoholic (I like chocolate but I don’t go crazy over it like my mother and sister do!) although whilst reading this tasty delight, I ended up with some serious cravings! 

The stories within this novel centre around a precious chocolate pot that has been in the possession of some interesting women throughout its colourful history. 

Working from the most recent period in time and backwards through history, we meet Sara in Act I, a present day modern day yet traditional chocolatier who is torn between her steady, reliable husband and a vivacious fellow chocolatier who is also her husband’s best friend; a love triangle interwoven with secrets and chocolate. 

Act II is narrated by an unseen character and tells the story of Aurora, a nineteenth-century maidservant whose guilty pleasure is the rich chocolate she serves her betters, whose life and status changes forever following a scandal. 

The last act is written partly in the form of letters and a little in the form of a play in which Mariana, wife of a seventeenth-century chocolate maker faces adversary on account of her talent with chocolate and her gender. Also, the origins of the by now legendary chocolate pot are set forth as the ending. 

The way the stories were so different, yet so wonderfully linked was really unique and fun to read. I really enjoy books featuring food and historical fiction, and this book is a beautiful blend of both. The descriptions of the chocolate and other delectable confections are mouth-watering, and I found that this book is best enjoyed with a mug of hot chocolate! 

All the characters were well written and their stories well voiced. I was particularly drawn to Aurora in the second act as I kind of likened her personality to myself, so I liked learning her story and her relationship to the chocolate pot. It’s always nice when you connect with a lead (or any character really) in a novel and this made me enjoy the story even more. 

The novel contains many mature themes including sex, gender roles and adultery, and with the use of arts and opera intertwined in the characters’ pursuits, it adds more of a grown up air to proceedings. 

There is a lovely flow and elegance to the prose which in addition to the chocolate marvels within makes Desire for Chocolate an absorbing and pleasant treat for the literary senses! 

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