- Paperback: 608 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
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Karen Brooks has encapsulated all of those things in The Chocolate Maker’s Wife. She writes with an intimacy that draws you right into the novel itself, and with such atmosphere! This is a novel firmly anchored by its history, with an eclectic mix of fictional and non-fictional characters. The year 1666 features heavily, and for good reason. It was the year that opened with the Great Plague of London, which was followed closely by the Great Fire of London, all occurring against the backdrop of the second Anglo-Dutch civil war. In the Winter of 1665, Halley’s Comet appeared brightly in the sky, and it was viewed as some as a harbinger of doom, particularly given that the following year contained the foreboding triple six ‘1666′, which seemed to herald the Apocalypse. Given the whole plague, fire and war events that unfolded, you’d probably have been forgiven for jumping on the bandwagon of hysteria that was travelling around back then. It’s really such a remarkable period of history though. The Great Fire was a catastrophe of Biblical proportions that came on the heels of significant loss from plague.
This novel is nothing short of delicious. It’s infused with chocolate, the descriptions so vivid you can taste them. With all of that history that I mentioned above, the excellent characterisation, the chocolate making, some pertinent social issues under the microscope, as well as a family mystery and some pretty dark skeletons rattling around in the manor closets, I am truly in awe at the scope and cohesion of this novel. It’s remarkable, rather political in a very clever way, a brilliant historical fiction that has jumped right to the top of my favourite books ever list. Needless to say, I recommend it highly!
Photo by Stephen Brooks
About Karen Brooks
Karen Brooks is the author of twelve books, an academic of more than twenty years’ experience, a newspaper columnist and social commentator, and has appeared regularly on national TV and radio. Before turning to academia, she was an army officer for five years, and prior to that dabbled in acting.
She lives in Hobart, Tasmania, in a beautiful stone house with its own marvellous history. When she’s not writing, she’s helping her husband Stephen in his brewery, Captain Bligh’s Ale and Cider, or cooking for family and friends, travelling, cuddling and walking her dogs, stroking her cats, or curled up with a great book and dreaming of more stories.