This is the third book in the newer series, Southern Chocolate Shop by Dorothy St. James. Real life is happening in the form of craft shows for me, but I had a little break in the action to read all three in this series. I had requested this as an ARC from NetGalley and wanted to be sure I got my review done for it.
It’s not totally necessary to read this series in order, but I’m glad that I did. It helped me to understand the character relationships and see them develop. The author does a great job of catching up without being too repetitive. I can’t wait for book 4!
My Goodreads review:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This installment definitely didn’t disappoint! It was a real page turner at times and even though Penn got some weird news at one point, the book still had a good ending.
Penn’s new relatives have been making it really hard for her by continuing to contest the will and spreading rumors that she’ll lose the shop. As if she didn’t have enough on her plate, the most disliked woman in town, Jody (Harley’s ex) was found standing over her dead lover on the beach. Harley’s son begged Penn to find the killer so his mom could come home. Not wanting to disappoint a little boy, Penn ignored the danger that could be and was involved in investigating. The real perp was flushed out, a little boy was happy again…and so was Penn.
I really love the character of Frank Gibbons, the detective that has been on all three of the books’ cases. He’s so much more understanding than Chief Byrd. While Byrd thinks Penn is just a menace who brought mainland killers to the island with her, Gibbons honestly cares about her well-being. She has a feeling that if her own dad had been a normal father, this is what it would be like to have someone care what happens to you. I was happy that she and Harley came to a good understanding, making a little more progress in their relationship. Penn and Althea had a falling-out, but I’m sure by the next book, Penn will be ready to forgive her and move on.
I also thought it was cool that even though Penn has issues following Mabel’s recipes, she’s becoming really creative in the candy kitchen and developing some flavors and products herself. I think she’ll always be grateful for Bertie since Penn’s attempts at Mabel’s recipes usually result in the waste of good chocolate lol. Little Stella the Papillon got some more story this time since a local woman named Lidia is helping Penn to train the little ankle biter. She told Penn that Stella is picking up on her fear of love. As Penn progresses with her own life, hopefully Stella will too! The cover pics of Stella are so stinking cute that I really hope she turns into a nice, behaved dog.
I did guess the killer correctly and eventually figured out the why before it was revealed. But it was still fun watching Penn and her friends track them down. The showdown was really good!
I’m so anxious now for the next book but I’m sure it might be awhile. That’s the only drawback when you binge-read everything so far in a series. 😉 There are more recipes in the back of this book. I like how there’s a little comment before each one–it’s supposed to look like they’ve been published in the local newspaper.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley.