Saturday, January 29, 2011

Review: Dying for Chocolate, by Diane Mott Davidson (1993)

Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson:

Schulz shook his head. 'No second golf course, but a dry sailing club. Houses here look like boats. Great big yachts tied up on the grass.'

I looked out at the pale gray and tan mini-mansions sailing past. While the other houses in Aspen Meadow were generally stained dark tones of rustic green and rustic brown, here the palette was light. The magnificent dwellings here were indeed like ships made of pale wood and glass; they perched on waves of mountain grass rolling down from the tops of the surrounding hills.

Synopsis: Caterer Goldy Bear flees her abusive ex-husband's stalking behaviors by taking a summer job as a rich retired couple's live-in cook. With her free hand, she raises money for her son's new school's pool and copes with a dead (new) boyfriend.

Per a discussion in comments from a review of another, later book in this series, Killer Pancake.

This is the book where we pick up Julian, the 18-year-old catering assistant, and in contrast to Killer Pancake, this is a pretty good book. It's a pretty darn good book. And about halfway through, I spotted the reason for this: the earlier books, in contrast to the later ones, feature a lot more placeporn, and I am a sucker for placeporn. In the first three books, Goldy is much more in love with the landscape of Colorado, and describeds it more fully and richly at nearly every turn. In Killer Pancake, a lot of the action takes place in a mall in Denver, which I think really hurt the cause.

Also, there's a lot of genuinely tenseful menace courtesy of The Jerk, Goldy's ex-husband. That man is out of control. And Goldy's responses are so in-character for the situation. She's powerless against his menace because he's got all cards and she's left protecting their son from him.

Overall, I really liked this book. It may be my favorite of the series so far. It's definitely convinced me to read just one more...

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