28 Jul 2015

DESIRE FOR CHOCOLATE.


Desire for ChocolateDESIRE FOR CHOCOLATE by CARE SANTOS.

PRESS RELEASE BLURB: Winner of the Ramon Llull Prize 2014.

Absolutely addictive ... three women united across the centuries by the same passion for chocolate.

Three women, three centuries and the same porcelain chocolate pot: Sara, the scion of a dynasty of chocolatiers from Barcelona, who prides herself on maintaining the family tradition; Aurora, the daughter of a nineteenth-century maidservant, for whom chocolate is a forbidden luxury; Mariana, the wife of a famous seventeenth-century chocolate manufacturer, an official purveyor to the French court and the inventor of a revolutionary chocolate mill.

In Desire For Chocolate, Care Santos takes us on a spellbinding journey, masterfully juxtaposing the destinies of her protagonists, chronicling the history of our favourite confection and exploring Europe's changing social norms. Luscious and addictive, this novel will delight the reader's senses from start to finish.

FIRST SENTENCE {Prelude: Resurrection}: Sixteen white porcelain fragments of different shapes and sizes and a tube of superglue.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 200}: As was to be expected, you were assigned a small windowless room below stairs, with four grubby walls, a door on broken hinges, a bed, a wardrobe and a chamber pot. A menial's room, not that you expected anything more.

SOURCE: My thanks to Alma Books who kindly sent me a copy which can be purchased by clicking here.

MY THOUGHTS: Three different stories, three different women, three different writing styles, at the heart of which is the same chocolate pot. 

In part one, written in the second person, we get to meet the thoroughly modern Sara, a chocolatier torn between her husband and a fellow chocolatier who just so happens to be her husbands best friend.

Whilst in part two (by far my favourite part of the book) we get to meet nineteenth-century maidservant, Aurora, whose story, largely informed by a scandal, is narrated by an unseen party. 

And finally, part three (written in what I felt was a unique if somewhat odd blend that was somehow part letter part play) in which we follow the journey of seventeenth-century chocolate maker, Mariana, who faces adversary due to her being female.

I don't know whether it was what I call the 'curse of the award winning novel' which often sees me, perhaps expecting too much, disappointed by award nominated/winning books or one of several other factors but to me whilst Desire For Chocolate was an enjoyable enough read it wasn't exceptional.

Beautifully written, lyrical and yet not too flowery. Perfectly translated. A good choice for chocolate connoisseurs and those into the whole 'foodie' genre so popular at the moment. Its just a shame that jumping around from the present day to the nineteenth century then back to the seventeenth century as it did I felt the story didn't flow as well as it might otherwise have done.

Then there was the different writing styles. Something that either appeals to readers or doesn't, I'm afraid I fall into the latter category and felt it another thing that impaired the flow of the narrative.

As for characters. Definitely interesting, well voiced and wonderful in their portrayal of the change in gender roles but it was only really Aurora that I found myself totally engaging with.


12 comments:

Heather said...

you had me a chocolate, and calorie free chocolate. I can`t recall having read a book about chocolate. it does sound interesting. Thanks.

Brandi Kosiner said...

The writing sounds good, and glad to hear it maintained a balance and wasn't too flowery

Literary Feline said...

I like chocolate a little too much. This sounds like such an interesting book. The writing style variations throughout the book could either make the book or break it for me. It would really have to be done well for me to buy into it.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

Sounds like a unique book and storyline. My mom LOVES chocolate- so I think this is a book I will tell her about. I enjoyed hearing the things you liked and didn't like as much. I think the three writing styles could be tough, but might have helped to distinguish the characters. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly said...

Despite not being a chocoholic, I do like the stuff and think this sounds like a good book. I like the premise. It reminds me of another book (in that sense) that I think I learned of from and have waiting in my Kindle...about a watch that makes the circuit.

Suko said...

Tracy, I stopped by earlier today but the Verification gave me a hard time (grr...). Anyway, I came back to thank you for an honest and terrific review.

Brian Joseph said...

Great review Tracy.

I think that my wife would love this book and I will recommend it to her. She tends to like these food themed works and I think that she would also like the stories and characters as you describe them.

Of course any story that centers around chocolate is by its nature appealing :)

I agree that a shift in writing styles might me a little jarring within a single book.

I am going to eat some chocolate now :)

Claudine G. said...

A book about chocolates. An attractive cover and storyline. I might just give this a go! (Didn't know it's won an award though. Not that awards matter that much.} I agree with Stephanie: three distinct writing styles might help readers differentiate the narrators better.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'm actually more curious about the different writing styles. Oh I might have to check it out. :)

The Bookworm said...

This definitely sounds worth reading and I do love chocolate. Nice post!

Betty Manousos said...

hey tracy, this definitely sounds like an interesting read. thank you for a fabulous review my friend.

big hugs!
xx

Gina R said...

Wait a second...it's a book? I thought you were just sharing your craving! ^-^ Just kidding. Sounds like a sweet read, pun intended. Thanks for the share!