REVIEW: The Chocolate Comeback by Roxanne Snopek
Fame, fortune and fashion: that’s aspiring model Deirdre Cash’s ideal life. But when her splashy New York career dries up, she swallows her pride and returns to Marietta, Montana, desperate for any work she can find.
Isaac Litton doesn’t want the intrusion of a home care aide for his brother, Mark. But when the young man takes a shine to DeeDee, Isaac decides to give her a chance. He can’t help but be impressed when DeeDee changes his brother’s life around, by rewarding his healthy habits and exercising with treats from the Copper Mountain Chocolate Shop. Gorgeous and opinionated, DeeDee stirs everything up in the Litton household, including an attraction that Isaac can’t deny.
As DeeDee and Isaac start to fall for each other, an unexpected opportunity arises that could launch DeeDee back into the modeling scene. It’s her chance to achieve everything she’s ever wanted. But taking it would mean letting down her friends at the chocolate shop, her family who believes in her, a boy who adores her, and a man who thinks she’s already perfect, just the way she is.
Dear Ms. Snopek,
Once I’d read about Deedee Cash, sister of the heroine of “The Chocolate Cure,” I was fairly sure she’d be featured in an upcoming book. I also knew I’d want to read her story – NYC fashion model who obviously has Something Going Wrong in her life – and hopefully catch up on how Maddie, Mick and hairy sock-puppet Clementine were doing.
Fraternal twins Maddie and Deedee Cash are now making up for past bad behavior. While Maddie is pretty, Deedee has always been gorgeous. She lived for the moment and the pleasure of right now instead of planning for any future or caring much about the love struck boys in town. Then she decided to blow the small town of Marietta, Montana for the bright lights of New York City, positive that she’d a fashion modeling sensation. The reality, loneliness and lack of success have now knocked her back on her ass and sent her reeling home. She hopes it’s just a breather until her agent can get her back in the game because frankly she doesn’t know how to do anything else and dreads any pity from family or smirks from the Marietta folks she left in her dust.
Isaac Litton passed through Marietta then decided this might be a nice place to settle down with his younger brother, Mark. While he works, Isaac has to have a way to keep Mark from wandering off or getting hurt. Isaac knows his special needs brother needs stability as well as stimulation but Isaac is discovering that the day group home in town which Mark attends for a few hours a day isn’t matching up to first impressions.
It’s Deedee’s sister Maddie, who sold Isaac his and Mark’s new house, who shoves her sister towards a care aid job helping take care of Mark. Though she’s not wild about the whole idea, it’s Isaac’s obvious – though polite, reluctance to hire her that drives Deedee to prove she’s not just a pretty face. Calling him on his judging her by first appearances, she gets her high-heel booted foot in the door and surprises even herself when she and Mark start to click as friends. Her methods may be unorthodox but Isaac has to admit that Deedee gets Mark to eat better, exercise and get out to meet new people in town.
But Deedee still has to make peace with the people she left behind, especially her family. She’s never been one to get entangled with messy feelings and back peddles away. Will she be able to help the Litton brothers integrate in town and decide what she wants for her own future?
I like that Deedee isn’t at all sure about this new gig her sister gets for her. She’s never worked with the disabled – Mark has Down Syndrome – and knows she is out of her comfort zone but she discovers in herself hidden depths and abilities while she soul searches. Isaac learns a few things about himself and trusting in others to love his brother as much as he does. Deedee opens his eyes and gets him to realize that he has to let go, not be so hovering and overprotective and let Mark take a few risks. Earning and being a provider – Isaac can do that. Interacting and engaging with his brother – Isaac still needs to work on that.
This is what can be termed a “clean” romance with no sex. And while the romance moves fairly quickly, Deedee and Isaac talk a lot, spend time together and get to see each other in good and bad. They connect outside of the physical and Deedee is a little stunned that Isaac sees beneath the pretty exterior few have tried to get past. Since Mark is and always will be such an key part of Isaac’s life, even though Mark’s POV isn’t seen, his interactions with Deedee are important.
One thing I’ve liked about the “Love at the Chocolate Shop” books is that the focus of each story is on the main characters with other Marietta townspeople just supporting rather than taking over. There are a lot of them by the end though. Because of its category length, this story is compact – maybe a little much. Since it’s part of a series, I’m sure Deedee, Isaac and Mark will appear again as do characters from past books who show up here. For now, I’m happy with the HFN ending. B