Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop – Jessica Redland

Jessica Redland never fails to deliver comfort reading at its finest. For those who don’t know what my personally made up concept is, comfort reading is a bit like comfort eating; all the endorphins, but without the calories😀 It is the art of being able to pick up a new book, knowing that you are going to love it, without even reading the back cover. As you delve into the book, the anticipated endorphins are released, showering you with pleasure and a general sense of well being and feel-good. You 100% know it’s coming, but it still never fails to hit the spot. The creme de la creme of Choc-lit. My only disappointment is the lack of a new festive instalment in the ’Hedgehog Hollow’ series – but maybe next year?

I have read all of Jessica Redland’s novels and they never fail to bring me unbridled pleasure; they convey sheer joy. Jessica is a gifted author and she brings fun and romance to her books in a thoroughly uplifting way. Somehow each new book is better than the last.The incredible thing and what makes Jessica’s writing so clever, is the fact that each book is unique; individual in its own way, yet sharing that commonality of being a great read.

It is with great anticipation therefore that I am embarking on this new festive instalment, based in the ever fabulous Whitsborough Bay. I am a totally ‘Southern Softie’ myself, with scant appreciation of the UK’s geography north of Watford, so I must confess to googling Whitsborough Bay, as having read the author’s books based there, I really fancied a trip. What a blow to discover that Whitsborough Bay is an entirely fictional seaside resort, albeit an amalgamation of experiences from a collection of places. I was however, delighted to find an article by Jessica, detailing the advent of this resort; unusually for me, I have listed the link below, in the hope that you will find it equally interesting.

Back to the story, I immediately empathised with Charlee on two fronts: the first, in that she clearly loved her Grandparents dearly, and the second that she loved the beach – wanting to spread her Grandmother’s ashes there. You can’t go far wrong with a character who loves both their Grandparents, and the seaside. I was devastated at the thought of Charlee’s Grandmother hanging on in there, essentially waiting until after Charlee’s 30th birthday to die. I found myself crying ugly, genuine tears at this – and I was still only on the first page off the book!

I loved the narrative throughout this book. The sights and the smells were all-pervading and the characters so realistic. Indeed, at one point, upon closing my eyes, I swear that I could smell chocolate so strongly, to the extent that I could practically taste it. As for Charlees’s Christmas chocolate window display – I could visualise it with very little effort or imagination, such were the book’s descriptions; this may as well have been a picture book! What could possibly be more uplifting than a great book, accompanied by the smell and taste of my favourite confection, together with a mind full of glorious pictures! I revelled in the sense of community among the Castle Street shopkeepers, to the extent that I genuinely felt part of it, living as part of the community, vicariously through Charlee.

I was thrilled at the thought of revisiting Whitsborough Bay and I could really see Charlee living there. I loved the joy that she got from her skill as a chocolatier and looked forward to sharing in her setting up of a new shop of her own. What I wasn’t sure about however, was her boyfriend Ricky and where his loyalties lay – I just hoped with all my might, that he wasn’t using Charlee. The more I read about Charlee, the more she endeared herself to me and I found myself completely invested in her and her having a successful future, both in a business sense and from a personal view – building for herself that sense of family that she so yearned, no doubt a throw back desire from having been abandoned by her Mother as a baby. However, I found it difficult to dispel the sneaking suspicion from the back of my mind, that Ricky was taking advantage of Charlee. I am not going to spoil the ending of this book for you though, by dwelling on this any further, apart from stating the obvious – that as far as I’m concerned, she couldn’t be rid of him soon enough!

I was concerned at Charlee’s lack of friends in her new town, but it felt to me as though this situation was changing rapidly, after meeting both Sarah from the florists and Matt the plumber. He had a certain promise on the romantic front, apart from no being single!

Will Charlee make her own happy ever after? You will have to read this great book for yourself, to find out.

To purchase for yourself:


3 thoughts on “Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop – Jessica Redland

  1. Aw, what a gorgeous review! Thank you so much for your gorgeous comments about my books, Mandy. I’m so delighted that you’ve read and loved all of them and, like you, I wish Whitsborough Bay was a real place. Loving your description of comfort reading and so honoured to fall into that. I have good news for you. There was no Hedgehog Hollow Christmas books this year because we will be doing Hedgehog Hollow at Christmas next year and I’m very excited about writing that one. Thank you again for such a kind review and all your amazing support x

    Liked by 1 person

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