Dreaming in Chocolate
by Crispell, Susan Bishop

When Noah Gregory returns to town, his former flame Penelope Dalton must decide if she should continue to keep from him the fact that her eight-year-old daughter, Ella, is his.

SUSAN BISHOP CRISPELL earned a BFA in creative writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Susan lives and writes near Wilmington, NC with her husband and their two literary-named cats. She is the author of The Secret Ingredient of Wishes.

Penelope and her mother run the Chocolate Cottage in the small of town Malarkey, creating chocolates with a touch of magic that residents swear can reveal true love and heal broken hearts. What the candy can't do is cure Penelope's eight-year-old daughter, Ella, of cancer. Convinced that treatment is no longer an option, Penelope agrees to let her daughter live out her days without medical interference, concealing the child's fate. Ella secretly composes a list of all the things she wants to do before she dies, including "adopting a kitten," "going a whole month to school without missing a day," and "finding a father." Ella's birth father, Noah, left town without ever knowing that Penelope was expecting a child. When he returns to Malarkey, Ella, unaware of their connection, decides to bring her mother and Noah together. Crispell's (The Secret Ingredients of Wishes, 2016) sweet tale offers a nice mix of magic and romance. There aren't many surprises, but the characters are likable, and the family's attempts to make Ella's last days happy are touching and uplifting. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

A woman runs a magical chocolate shop in this heartwarming story from Crispell (The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, 2016).Penelope Dalton and her mother, Sabina, run the Chocolate Cottage. They sell plenty of "regular" chocolate, but their most popular offerings include a little something extra: magic. Their special wares can make people dream about their futures and become temporarily happy or lucky. The magic comes from a mysterious cabinet that provides them with recipes for what they really need, like truffles that can mend a broken heart. But even though Penelope makes these chocolates, she doesn't trust them. For all the magic her chocolate can produce, it can't cure her daughter, Ella, who has an inoperable brain tumor. Ella doesn't have long to live, so Penelope spends most of her time helping her check items off her bucket list—things like eating cake for breakfast and dyeing her hair purple. But a big distraction comes to town in the form of Noah Gregory, Penelop e's high school sweetheart—and, unbeknownst to him and everyone else, Ella's dad. Under the hot chocolate's spell, Penelope once dreamed that Noah was her true love—but when she told him so and he left town, she assumed the magic was wrong. Now that he's back, Penelope has to juggle her feelings for him, her cynicism about the magic, and the desire to tell him the truth about Ella. All of this takes place in the charmingly named town of Malarkey, home to many quirky residents who love festivals and hold town meetings to mediate disputes—sort of like a fantastical version of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls. How the cabinet came to produce magical recipes is never really explained in detail, and most townspeople seem to accept the magic a little too readily. That's forgivable, though, since the focus here is more on the fraught relationships between characters instead of the mechanics behind the magic. Readers looking for a feel-good story with a little bit of e nchantment sprinkled in will eat this one up. A pleasantly sweet tale about true love, fate, and family. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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