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Secrets of the Chocolate House – a book review

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If you like historical fiction and time-slip books, Paula Brackston’s Secrets of the Chocolate House is right up your alley!

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced digital copy of the book. This review contains affiliate links, which if you click may generate a commission for me.

Secrets of the Chocolate House – a book reviewSecrets of the Chocolate House by Paula Brackston
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on October 22, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Historical, General, Fantasy
Pages: 320
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The second novel in a bewitching series "brimming with charm and charisma" that will make "fans of Outlander rejoice!" (Woman's World Magazine)New York Times bestselling author Paula Brackston’s The Little Shop of Found Things was called “a page-turner that will no doubt leave readers eager for future series installments” (Publishers Weekly). Now, Brackston returns to the Found Things series with its sequel, Secrets of the Chocolate House.

After her adventures in the seventeenth century, Xanthe does her best to settle back into the rhythm of life in Marlborough. She tells herself she must forget about Samuel and leave him in the past where he belongs. With the help of her new friends, she does her best to move on, focusing instead on the success of her and Flora’s antique shop.

But there are still things waiting to be found, still injustices needing to be put right, still voices whispering to Xanthe from long ago about secrets wanting to be shared.

While looking for new stock for the shop, Xanthe hears the song of a copper chocolate pot. Soon after, she has an upsetting vision of Samuel in great danger, compelling her to make another journey to the past.

This time she'll meet her most dangerous adversary. This time her ability to travel to the past will be tested. This time she will discover her true destiny. Will that destiny allow her to return home? And will she be able to save Samuel when his own fate seems to be sealed?


I had recently discovered The Little Shop of Found Things (the first book in the series) in the “New books” section of my library when Secrets of the Chocolate House, the second installment in the series, became available to read on NetGalley. I was thrilled to read this so soon after! To that end, while not needed, I think Secrets would be better appreciated by having read The Little Shop first.

In Secrets of the Chocolate House, it is a copper chocolate pot that sings to Xanthe, our time traveler, and quite noisily. In this book, Brackston develops the time traveler element. We learn more about the so-called spinners, and Xanthe gets a bit of needed guidance. (Which, while filling in some blanks, still leaves us readers with a lot of other questions.)

This book has more tension – from Xanthe’s guilt about leaving her ailing mother on her own, and the lies she needs to tell to jump back in time, to her ex-boyfriend showing up, to a threatening presence that more than hints that there is even more to come.

I will say that this book felt a little more “tell” and not as much “show”. This book did a lot of explaining as well as set up for future stories, and while helpful, it added to the confusion of ALL that was going on. The history of chocolate houses, saving Samuel, threats/demands from all directions (the ex, the greedy Spinner), the lies, the guilt – Brackston juggles it well, but parts did feel like it was housekeeping to sort out the foundation for future stories at the expense of Samuel.

Was there enough to bring me back for the third book? Yes, indeed! Time travel, magical realism, a strong female character – all my favorite elements. Now that I know WHAT Xanthe is, I’m looking forward to seeing where her character goes next as she grows into her Spinner abilities. I am hopeful that the next story will provide Xanthe with more adventure, see her finally booting the ex out of the story completely (be gone), and perhaps see more relationships develop now that she and her mum are more established in the village.

I’ve long been a fan of Paula Brackston, so I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next for this series.

Interested? Grab a copy of Secrets of the Chocolate House on Amazon by clicking here or find your nearest indie bookshop by clicking here.

Secrets of the Chocolate House

Curious about author Paula Brackston’s first book in the series? Check out the synopsis and review here:

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