Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop Crispell

Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop CrispellDreaming in Chocolate
by Susan Bishop Crispell
February 6, 2018
288 pages

Goodreads Summary:
A story of love, hot chocolate, and one little girl's wish for her mother that will make your heart swell.

At twenty-seven, Penelope Dalton is quickly ticking off items on a bucket list. Only the list isn’t hers. After her eight year-old daughter Ella is given just six months to live thanks to an inoperable brain tumor, Penelope is determined to fill Ella’s remaining days with as many new experiences as she can.

With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope runs alongside her mother in a small town nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest addition to her list: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father and the only person Penelope knows to have proved her true love hot chocolate wrong.

Now Noah’s back in town for a few months—and as charming as ever—and the part of her that dreamed he was her fate in the first place wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to keep him from breaking Ella’s heart too.

But as Ella’s health declines, Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.


I had really enjoyed Ms. Crispell's debut, The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, last year so naturally when I heard about her sophomore book I knew I had to read it. Dreaming in Chocolate is a heartbreakingly honest read.

I'm not a fan of magical realism but Dreaming in Chocolate presented the magical aspect in a simple way. The thought of magic working in real life took some getting used to but I loved how the magic of the chocolates were portrayed as a possibility only. One had to want it for it come true.

Penelope's faith in her chocolates' magic was near nonexistent knowing her daughter was dying despite everyone's wishes for Ella to get better. Given her previous heartache (Noah) it was easy to understand why Penelope was so guarded. However she does not let her crushing reality defeat her as she puts all of herself into making her daughter happy.

"Sometimes reality is too much to bear."

"...happiness was a choice..."
(eARC, Loc 2760-2764).

I'm a big fan of second chance romances and this one was full of purpose. The story doesn't go too much into Penelope and Noah's past choosing to focus on the present happenings. When Noah, the guy who broke her heart who also happens to be the father of her child, returned to town, Penelope was determined to keep him at a distance. Resistance proved to be futile as he was as charming as ever. In addition, Noah made a most admirable effort to show Penelope he wanted a place by her and Ella's side.

All across the story there was that anticipation of Noah finding out his relations to Ella. I waited with bated breath. When the reveal finally came, it fell flat. Maybe it's my fault for letting my drama meter go wild but I was hoping for more reaction from all the characters. In the grand scheme of things, the reveal let down was small compared to Noah's heartfelt willingness to accept the truth.

I was a tinsy bit stunned by the ending but it was by no means a bad one. Dreaming in Chocolate is a hopeful tale of love and family and most importantly in the power of believing. A magical read indeed.
4 Cats
*I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


  1. Awkward when I read this and I have my hand in a bag of chocolate chips right now. Clearly I need to check this out!
    Jen Ryland Reviews

    1. Hahahaha it's a sign ;) I look forward to your thoughts if you do pick it up!


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