Monday, December 23, 2013

Chocolate For Breakfast & Chocolate Fondue - Review

Reviewed by Darcie Czajkowski

Young, naïve, and inexperienced, Bernadette “Bernie” Maguire has a mission when she and her best friend Lisa travel to Fribourg, Switzerland for their junior year of college.  Bernie’s goal of losing her virginity proves easy, too easy in fact, when she sets her sights on Karl Berset, an attractive Swiss banker.  She willingly becomes intimate with him, but after a single passionate weekend together, he disappears from her life and from Fribourg entirely. 

Almost immediately, Bernie knows she is pregnant.  She quietly keeps her secret, initially sharing only with Lisa and Lisa’s landlady, Erika Stangl.  She goes about her normal life, attending classes, spending time with Lisa, and even drinking the occasional beer with her classmates at Café des Espouses in town.

But events start to spiral further out of control when Bernie becomes intimate with a classmate who is unaware of her pregnancy, experiences the loss of someone close to her, and stumbles upon the shocking reason why Karl vanished from her life, as if she had imagined their affair altogether. 

Twenty-three years later, Bernie is still dealing with the consequences of those transient moments with Karl.  Her life is an emotional mess and, after her mother’s passing, she decides that she no longer wants to live her life in a self-destructive way.  With her aunt in tow, Bernie returns to Fribourg and, upon arriving at Hotel de la Rose, she finds her past literally staring back at her. 

Will Bernie have the courage to face the decisions she made all those years ago?  Will she be able to reconcile the girl who first landed in Switzerland with the woman she is now, someone who has made many mistakes but wants to change her life for the better?
Chocolate for Breakfast starts as a simple adventure abroad and unfurls into a dramatic, heartwarming story which continues in the sequel, Chocolate Fondue.  These books must be read together in order to experience and appreciate Bernie’s drastic character development.  Chocolate for Breakfast is the place to start to fully understand how the choices Bernie made in Fribourg sent her spiraling down the wrong path, but Chocolate Fondue is where the complexity and depth of Bernie’s character truly come alive and the full breadth of Martha Reynolds’ skill as a writer is on display.  In the sequel, Martha does a remarkable job of weaving together two storylines and making the reader want to keep reading to find out how the stories will be resolved.  A captivating story has a twist around every corner and keeps the reader wondering what will happen next, both of which Martha accomplishes with aplomb.  I was hooked from beginning until the end and, who wouldn’t be, when chocolate is involved.

Martha Reynolds is the author of three novels: the award-winning CHOCOLATE FOR BREAKFAST; its sequel, CHOCOLATE FONDUE; and the newly-published BITS OF BROKEN GLASS. All books are available through Amazon in digital and print versions.
Coming soon: the third and final book in the 'chocolate' series, BITTERSWEET CHOCOLATE.
She and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.

Read and follow the writings of Martha at