Stourbridge Book Group Review of Desire for Chocolate by Care Santos
Overall we thought that the book was an imaginative good read which we would recommend to others. The novel follows the structure of a comic opera and we felt that understanding this was vital and enables the reader to suspend disbelief e.g. when Sara overhears the conversation between Max and Oriol in its entirety from behind a hedge on another balcony and Guillot overhears a conversation in the docks from on top of the city walls.
The three human stories are linked by the story of a Sevres chocolate pot which is either owned, or passes through the hands of significant characters. The author has cleverly matched the writing style of each story with its historical context and has woven real characters and events into the narrative.
The stories also have linking themes: the tensions between tradition and innovation; the social and political context of the chocolatiers; the social importance of the opera house and music; the changing roles of women in society and their right to choose their own destiny.
Some members found the style in which first story was written a little too casual and therefore harder to get into. The characters were also generally found to be less sympathetic in the story but we were captivated by the following stories of Aurora and Mariana.
An intriguing, stimulating read… what a talented writer!
Stourbridge Book Club
Care Santos studied Law before devoting herself to writing full-time. She is the multi-award-winning author of many children’s books and several novels, the last one of which is Desire for Chocolate, winner of the prestigious Ramón Llull Prize in 2014. Her work has been translated into over fifteen languages.
Winner of the Ramón Llull Prize 2014
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.