Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review of Better Than Chocolate by Sheila Roberts

The bit on the back…

The best treat of all...

Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company has been in the Sterling family for generations. But now it looks as if they’re about to lose their beloved shop to the bank. How can the town of Icicle Falls possibly cope without the famous Sterling treats? It won’t be easy for Samantha Sterling to save her company, though…

Its fate is in the hands of her arch-enemy, Blake Preston, the bank manager with devastating good looks. Which is enough to make her want to eat the entire shop’s contents in one sitting. Yet maybe Blake’s about to convince her that (believe it or not) there’s something even better than chocolate.

Firstly thank you to Cara at MIRA for sending me a signed copy of this book for review. I also gave a few signed copies of this in part of my 1 year blog anniversary so another thank you to Cara for providing them too! This is the first book by Sheila Robert’s that I’ve read and the title definitely intrigued me as a massive chocoholic!

The story is all about Samantha Sterling and her family’s chocolate company – Sweet Dreams Chocolate Company. The death of her step father unveils some rather hard to ignore financial issues and the bank is about to call in the note on her previous family business. The story follows Sam and her family as they try to save the company.

Samantha is very easy to get to know and like and there is an instant sympathy for her as she seems to have been landed with a lot of responsibility, as both the oldest daughter and with the business. Although she seemed to be anxious and quite stressed most of the time I enjoyed seeing her character loosen up a bit, fight for her business and eventually see some of her plans come together.

The story’s villain is local bank manager Blake Preston. Blake used to go to school with Samantha and on first impression she is incredibly sceptical of his ability at the bank. Samantha’s initial impression of grown up Blake rubs off on the reader creating the same level of wariness especially when he doesn’t appear to care about helping Samantha. Blake is every bit the gorgeous guy who has been tagged the bad guy in the story but as the story unfolds it turns out he has a bit of a heroic streak in him.

I loved the development of the story and relationship between Samantha and Blake and how that changed throughout the story. I was 100% on Samantha’s side and was glad to see she didn’t take advantage of the relationship they could have had to save her business.

The story is set in the mountains of Washington State is all about the strength of family and community as the people of Icicle Falls pull together to save their town. I loved the feeling of togetherness throughout the story, and I loved how almost all of the town were on side with Samantha and her ideas to save her company and boost business for all of town’s businesses. The narrative mainly comes from Samantha but throughout we also hear from her mother and sisters, and some other Icicle Falls residents which serves to create the community atmosphere. It was interesting getting everyone’s take on the festival and it helped to build up the festival atmosphere.

The second book in the series is The Cottage on Juniper Ridge and I will definitely be reading this in the near future.

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