OH MY GOSH, this book makes me want chocolate! (And baked goods. But mostly chocolate…and an extremely hot ex-biker chocolatier to make them for me.)
Bliss and the Art of Forever
by Alison Kent
Two years after her husband’s death, kindergarten teacher Brooklyn Harvey is leaving Hope Springs for her in-laws’ vineyard in Italy—with no plans of coming back. That is, until she meets a disarmingly sexy biker-turned-chocolatier. He might be the man of her dreams, but he’s also the father of one of her students; as such, he’s strictly off-limits.
Callum Drake knows a good thing when he sees one, and he doesn’t want to let Brooklyn get away, even if his rival for her affection is the ghost of her dead husband. He’ll do whatever it takes to win her over, including making chocolates concocted just for her—chocolates that evoke memories of their time together. But can he create a second love bright enough to pull her, and her heart, out of living in the past?
Such a sweet (pun not quite intended) read!
The romance here is deliciously done (I’ve been spending too much time with Mini Moe #2 apparently; the puns just won’t stop). Though Brooklyn and Callum do feel an attraction from the start, they both let their relationship develop slowly, which was refreshing. Addy was adorable, but definitely not a perfect child, and Callum, though an awesome dad, definitely made some errors in judgement along the way. He owns up to them, and resolves to do better going forward. His dad was a great character we didn’t see enough of; his mom not so much…<shudder>
Brooklyn’s widowhood was exceptionally well done. Two years isn’t really all that long after a loss, no matter what people who haven’t been through it will tell you, and her mixed feelings over wanting Cal and her guilt over the possibility of moving on was spot on. It’s wonderful to see a widowed character who is able to enter into a new relationship without the dreaded “it was never like this [with the first spouse]” comments or, heaven forbid, vilifying them after death. That practice has always driven me crazy, especially since it seems so against the concept of romance. For that alone, Alison Kent has a new fan 🙂
Don’t even get me started on the recipes. Why, oh why did I decide to read this during Lent? 😉 Come mid-April I’m going to be working my way through them, one by one. Or maybe bribing Mini Moe #2 to do it for me. She owes me, because of the puns.
And I gotta get me some artisan chocolates too. Could the Easter Bunny step up his game this year, perhaps? And a chocolatier who would custom make them for me wouldn’t be bad either…though he wouldn’t fit in my basket, sadly.
Though this is the 4th book in the series, it’s the first I’ve read and it worked just fine as a standalone. I really enjoyed the world Ms. Kent has created, as well as her writing style–I’ll definitely be picking up the earlier series books when I get a chance.
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author: Alison Kent
Alison Kent has received numerous distinctions for her more than fifty published works, including a national Quill Awards nomination for her 2005 Kensington Brava release, The Beach Alibi, and an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award nomination for Striptease, part of her popular gIRL-gEAR series. Her 2009 novel, No Limits, was named a Cosmopolitan Red Hot Read. In addition, she sold one of her works live on the “Isn’t It Romantic?” episode of CBS’s 48 Hours; the resulting novel, Call Me, was a Romantic Times finalist for Best First Series Book.