Saturday, 24 March 2007

Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini

4 Stars

"Seriously, then. How did you know Douglas was the one?"........"He was everything I thought I didn't need.".........."That is the weirdest thing I think you've ever said."

Brianna Stone enjoyed a whirlwind romance Douglas, now her husband of fourteen years, she loves her teenage son and his surfie ways, enjoys a relaxed lifestyle on the California Coast living in a small bungalow by her beloved beach and entertains her passengers as a tour bus host. Bri has no regrets............or does she?

When Bri's best friends and employer start questioning her relationship with her husband and her disapproving mother-in-law sends an email to Douglas, which Bri intercepts "accidentally" which hints Douglas is wanting to sell their cherished home, she begins to wonder if all is not right in her world. When Douglas is spotted driving his snazzy sportscar in places unexpected and is spending more and more time at the office, Bri's insecurities kick in and she knows changes must be made. In better keeping with her husband's image as a succesful lawyer, Bri calls in a professional decorator to undo the shabby chic beach look of her home and create a more sophisticated "living space", she exchanges flipflops for Mary Jane's and enrols in a Chocolate Cooking Class in an effort to enhance her limited culinary skills. But will it be enough to get her husband's attention or has he had enough of her free and easy ways?

Julie Carobini's first novel, Chocolate Beach is a delight! It is chock full of eclectic and entertaining characters, laugh out loud humour and a message not to be missed. Written in the firt person, Bri has an appealing voice that is both comical and heartwarming. Her struggles with an overbearing mother-in-law, interfering and envious friends, an employer willing to compromise and an absent husband will have many readers laughing and empathising at the same time. Her teenage son Nathan has his own issues and those are fleshed out well as Bri strives for that balance of encouraging her boy without controlling his decisions. Bri's best friend Gaby is eccentric and fun, single status and dating disasters providing a good contrast with Bri's solid marriage (until her doubts emerge!). Their relationship is a beautful part of the book and a gentle reminder to cultivate those special friendships in our lives.

Bri's journey is humorous, challenging and endearing and one I would highly recommend! Julie Carobini is currently working on A Curious Thing about Seashells (working title) which tells Gaby's story, releasing in 2008 by Bethany.


Deborah said...

I loved this book. and that cover makes me hungry. i can't wait for the next one

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